The majestic, giant cottonwood trees that provide ample summer shade for homes and outdoor activities can harbor a hidden risk.
The familiar trees, particularly the big, mature ones, are known for developing large voids and cavities in their heartwood that weaken the trees’ structure.
That can lead to large limbs that come crashing down without warning when stressed by high winds.
Cedaredge town officials report that the cottonwoods that overlook the children’s play area at Town Park are in need of some expensive remedial work to make the area safe.
In a memo distributed last week, town Administrator Katie Sickles explained the situation the town is facing there.
“During an inventory of trees in the Town Park, State Forester Kamie Long indicated a hazardous branch near the tot park.
“Town staff closed the tot park and we investigated the trees and determined how to remove the branch. We got a bid for $4,100 to completely remove one tree including grinding the stump.
“After discussion about trees and future plans to remove the oldest cottonwood trees we felt it was necessary to remove both cottonwoods near the tot park.
“I contacted Kamie Long and tree board chairperson Jim Leser and discussed the removal of both cottonwood trees near the tot park. They both agreed at this point we did not have many options and could not close the tot park indefinitely. The cost is $6,000 to remove two trees down to the first major fork which will leave about 12 feet standing.
“The tot park will be closed and the entire playground will be closed the week of August 4 to remove the cottonwoods down to the major forks.
“As soon as the tree removal operation is complete we will reopen the tot park and playground.” For additional information, Sickles may be contacted at town hall, 970-856-3123.