LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - You might have read the famed novel, 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' by Betty Smith.
How about, 'A Palm Tree Grows in Aggie Memorial Stadium?'
We can't take credit for that comical comparison. It was actually made by New Mexico State University Athletic Director Mario Moccia when he saw an image of the seed that sprouted in the stadium.
"It might be funny," admitted Braun Cartwright, the deputy athletic director. "At the same time, it’s a little frustrating for the fans that are sitting in that area that are having to deal with the palm tree.”
ABC-7 saw at least two palm trees growing in the west stands of the facility. The vegetation raises questions about the maintenance and conditions of the 43-year-old Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Cartwright said university staffers do their best to preserve the quality of the venue, painting it when necessary and removing weeds.
“Over the past few years, we’ve kind of taken it one challenge at a time," he said.
"Our groundskeeping team has a variety of ways to control unwanted plants," wrote Orlando Flores, Manager of Grounds Services in NMSU’s Facilities and Services. "They’ve even seen palm trees actually growing inside other trees on campus."
Flores said that workers use manual labor and mechanical equipment like weed whackers and tractors to control weeds and unwanted plants. He also said they use pre-emergents that do not harm the landscaping.
With fans back in the stands, Cartwright told ABC-7 that the quality of the stadium must be maintained for visitors and opponents.
“We’ve really got to put our best foot forward, whether it’s our game operations, our facility, our locker room," Cartwright said. "Everything that they encounter, that way they’ll want to come back and schedule us for another opportunity.”
Um, Grut is an Aggie? Who knew? pic.twitter.com/0bXjz5DkUj— Bobby Garcia (@mustangbravo) September 20, 2021