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DED taking some of city’s oldest trees

Posted: Tuesday, Aug 6th, 2013

The “Allyn Frerichs” tree, on Front Street, survived Dutch elm disease for years, under Frerichs’ watchful eye. This year, it has the red “X” that marks a tree to be cut down. This year has been particularly bad for Dutch elm disease in Brookings, with city crews planning to take down many more trees than last year. | Brookings forestry workers take down a diseased tree in front of the S.D. Art Museum on Wednesday morning. Just steps away, a South Dakota State University crew was cutting down another diseased tree. Both trees had Dutch elm disease, which has hit more city trees this year than last. Photos: Charis Prunty/Register

BROOKINGS – A big red “X” on trunks around Brookings might not mean much to you, until the big tree that’s shaded a favorite yard, sidewalk, picnic table or parking spot is suddenly gone.

This summer, as in the past, elm trees around the state and country continue to fall to the dreaded “DED” – Dutch elm disease.

That’s the case for Allyn Frerichs’ favorite tree, the big elm sprawling high above the old Parks and Rec building, near the train depot on Front Street. The former director of the Brookings Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department could see the tree clearly from his office window and took “heroic efforts” for years to save it, said current director Pete Colson, but this year it succumbed to the disease.

“To be honest with you, it’s everyone in the department’s favorite tree,” Colson said.

When Front Street was recently reworked, the design was tweaked to accommodate this tree, he added. But last fall they noticed the telltale wilting and browning leaves; it wasn’t looking good. Now the tree has that “X” and it will be cut down before summer ends.

For the complete article see the 08-06-2013 issue.

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