Beloved old cottonwood tree on Victory Dr cut down amid safety concerns

A long-standing landmark tree on Victory Dr near Madison Ave has been cut down due to safety concerns.

The monster cottonwood tree was well over 100 years old and had a five-and-a-half-foot diameter, according to Mankato Public Works Director Jeff Johnson. A massive limb broke off the tree on Friday.  Johnson directed staff to disconnect the limb from the trunk before the weekend and sent the city forester to the location to determine the health of the tree.

Johnson said most of the main branches on the tree were dead.  “It’s one thing when these limbs fall off, but then when they fall, the pieces that are dead and dry, they just go everywhere,” he said.  “You have quite a busy drive-thru over there with McDonald’s and you start to recognize what the hazards might be.”

Photo Credit: Ann Enge This massive landmark cottonwood tree was cut down Tuesday after it dropped a huge branch.

There haven’t been any incidents or accidents related to the tree, but a nearby overflow parking lot was a concern for city officials, especially given the way dead wood shatters when it hits a hard surface.

Tree removal began on Tuesday and took two days. “It was quite a job,” said Johnson.

“We had someone come up and talk to the staff,” Johnson said.  “They said they went to college at MSU in the 60’s, and they ate lunch under that tree.”

Photo Credit: Rick Pepper. Crews work on cutting up a massive old Cottonwood tree deemed unsafe

“We’re sad, too,” Johnson said. ” We’ve talked quite a bit over the years about what to do with that tree,” he said.

Johnson said Mankato is lucky to have city staff with tree removal experience.  Their knowledge helped save the city and taxpayers thousands of dollars that a professional tree service would have charged for removal.

The tree will go on to serve another purpose.  The wood was hauled off to make woodchips for use in gardens and landscaping.


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