UNM Student: Smelly trees are a distraction

University of New Mexico
University of New Mexico (Carey Olson KRQE)

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A University of New Mexico student claims a cluster of trees on campus are stinking up the place and he wants them gone. The University said the trees aren’t going anywhere.

“It is very, very strong,” said UNM student Lorenzo Anzalone.

“It’s hard to describe,” said UNM student Katy Lee.

But once someone smells it, they likely won’t forget it.

“It just comes inside your nose like that’s all you can breathe and you are surrounded by this smell,” Anzalone said.

The strong stench comes from a group of trees known as Bradford Pears. A group of about 10 of the trees have lined the north entrance of Zimmerman Library at UNM for about a decade.

“Sometimes it’s like I don’t really want to be walking through this,” Lee said.

“It’s basically a sweet smell, a little bit bitter I would say. It smells a little bit rotten,” Anzalone said.

One student said the trees smell so bad they are a distraction. The student outlined his concerns about the stinky problem in an editorial in Thursday’s Daily Lobo. In the editorial, he tells UNM to replace the trees.

KRQE News 13 asked UNM what the school’s plans are for the trees. UNM Grounds and Landscaping Manager Willie West said the school has no plans to get rid of them.

West said the university is a nationally recognized arboretum with more than 5,000 trees on campus. He admitted the trees tend to have a funky smell, but he said the odor doesn’t last for more than several weeks.

Some students told KRQE News 13 they don’t mind the scent.

“I feel like the smell is very good. It’s like a pleasant smell. It refreshes me,” said UNM student Mohammed.

“I think they are part of the campus, personally,” Lee said.

“We should just appreciate it, just accept it for what it is,” Anzalone said.

West said the tree’s odor is more powerful this year compared to years in the past. He said it is likely because of the wet winter and early spring.

There are about 75 of the Bradford Pear trees on UNM’s campus.

The University said it appreciates the comment about the trees and it will take it into consideration when selecting new plants in the future.

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