Three tall cottonwood trees had to be removed last week from the 500 block of Main Street in Cedaredge. TLC Tree Services was contracted to remove the trees, which owner/operator Jeffrey Haswell described as "in advanced decline" with a "die-back projecting high into the crowns."
The trees on a private town lot had been steadily declining with fragile branches occasionally falling in high winds or under the weight of snow. The declining cottonwoods -- which Haswell estimated to be between 50 and 60 years old -- once towered over the century-old two-story house on the property. But the trees had not leafed out in several years and they were beginning to threaten the structure they once shaded. According to Haswell, the failing trees are typical of large cottonwoods which are unable to adapt to an urban environment. Cottonwoods have shallow root structures and when the trees are surrounded by sidewalks and pavement they don't fare well. Concrete and asphalt compact the soil and block ground water until the moisture-hungry trees cannot survive.
Haswell has operated TLC in Delta County for 25 years and one of his saddest duties is to remove a venerable tree but he prides himself on doing it efficiently and safely.