Cheney community chips in to replant a Salnave tree


John McCallum

Faculty and staff at Salnave Elementary School team up to gently raise a Schefflera tree in its new, larger growing tank.

Thanks to the support of community businesses, students at Cheney’s Salnave Elementary School will continue to enjoy a little natural shade in their commons area.

Last Thursday several faculty and staff members came together to transplant what Salnave kindergarten teacher Becky Hansen termed in a news release “an iconic Salnave feature: a full-sized, indoor Schefflera tree.”

“Commonly called an umbrella tree,” Hansen said.

The tree has been in the open, sunlight-drenched commons area for years. Hansen said nobody really remembers where it came from, but it was brought to the school by para-educator Sherry Helsing, who originally took the tree home and nursed it until it got too big for her house.

The tree now stands between 12-15 feet tall, and had become root bound in the small, wooden barrel serving as a pot. Hansen said they decided to transplant the tree to a larger pot while also doing some “root pruning” to stimulate growth.

The school-wide service project benefited from the help of several Cheney businesses, Hansen said. Del’s Farm Supply donated a poly-stock tank to use as the new, larger container while Jarms Hardware and Cheney Feed and Tack both donated soil. Finally, Copy Junction donated bags of shipping peanuts to be used in the bottom of the new tank to ensure good drainage.

John McCallum can be reached at


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