Old and diseased, at least 20 trees have been condemned in Pratt city limits with removal taking place this week.
The lifespan of more than 15 cottonwood and elm trees growing in Pratt has come to an end. Last week Fairchild Tree Service of Kingman was busy cutting down and cleaning up debris from the remains of diseased trees that were planted in Pratt 60 to 70 years ago.
“Just like people they finally get to a place where it’s time to get them off the street,” said Pratt Public Works Director Russ Rambat. “These cottonwoods and elms have lived past their life expectancy and every time we had a wind, there were more and more branches coming down that had to be cleaned up. It was to the point where it was becoming a safety issue so we made a management decision to have them removed.”
Rambat said the city budgets each year for tree removal and most of the trees removed were on what is considered city right-of-way, the area between sidewalks and city streets, and in alleys where the city has access.
“These varieties just got too big and the root systems were messing up the sidewalks and curbs, cracking them out,” Rambat said. “Most of them were hollow or dead up in the center as well.”
Todd Fairchild of Fairchild Tree Service said it took him and his crew, wife Stephanie and helper Devin Braden, about three hours per tree to cut it down and clean up the pile of trunk wood and branches. They took care of all of the upper part of the trees leaving the stumps for the city to remove at a later time.
“After the stumps dry up a bit we will come back and beat them out with a backhoe,” Rambat said. “At some point down the road we might talk about replanting replacements.”