PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) – Governors Grove gets a new tree Thursday. This one is for Kristi Noem.
Professor John Ball said the bur oak will be lifted from the ground at the SDSU Highmore Research Station at about dawn Thursday.
From there it will be driven to Pierre and planted again. The hole will be dug ahead on Wednesday.
The woods, in Hilgers Gulch Park north of the Capitol, has a tree designated with a plaque for each of South Dakota’s governors.
Noem took office January 5. Her predecessor, Dennis Daugaard, planted a redbud in the grove in 2014.
Though early snow was still on the ground Friday, the event will go on.
“And the cold snap is fine,” Ball said. “It’s a bur oak and they are used to weather changes, as they have been on the plains for 8,000 years! The soils are still warm and that is the critical factor.”
Press secretary Kristin Wileman wasn’t able to confirm yet whether Governor Noem could be on hand.
Back in April, the governor explained in a social-media post for Arbor Day why she wanted a bur oak.
“This is one of the toughest trees we have in our state, and it’s native to every county. In tribal culture, oak trees symbolize strength and longevity,” Noem said. “What a good reminder of South Dakota’s resilience for all who walk through the grove.”
The tree is 10 to 12 feet tall and has a nine-inch diameter trunk.