Bicentennial Tree Update

I have some updated information on the removal of the large Cottonwood Tree at Bicentennial Park –

We were able to count 120 growth rings to estimate the age of the tree. The large trunk of the Cottonwood Tree revealed even more extensive damage than we realized. The base of the tree contained almost no healthy wood and the rot extended into the roots.


In the photos below you’ll see that there was very little support wood at the base of the tree. The tree was very unstable and was definitely going to fail.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 3.43.29 PMMost of the wood on one of the large lateral limbs was rotted to the point that it had very little strength to keep the limb (which weighed several thousand pounds) from failing. The photo below show the rot extends throughout the limb. Healthy wood from a Cottonwood Tree is very light in color.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 3.43.43 PM

Cottonwood is not a high quality lumber species but part of the tree has been collected for woodturners that make intricate wooden bowls, basins, urns, etc.

On a positive and bright note, we are working on a plan with Provo Power to preserve 4 large bald cypress trees and transplant them to bank of the pond at bicentennial park as part of a pond enhancement project. These trees will grow the distinctive “knees” into the pond as they do naturally in the US southeast. We will also line the bank edges in certain areas with boulders to control erosion into the pond. These improvements will make a significant difference in the appearance of the area and will add to the aesthetic beauty of the area for future generations.


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  1. Maria

    While I am sad to see such a magnificent tree be cut down I am more relieved that no one was ever hurt by one of the branches falling on them or the tree itself. But more exciting is to hear of improvements to the pond!! I was down there last year with the grandkids and was saddened to see how neglected and ill kempt it was. I thought to myself that area could be a real hidden gem in our city if we’d do more to keep it up. Thanks for recognizing that also and taking steps to make it better.

  2. M Steel

    Who do we contact to purchase items made from this tree?

  3. Jo

    Thank you for the detail and care in which you care for Provo and all things living in the area. We appreciate it.

  4. Gloria Andersen

    Thank you for the update. I was over there this morning. Thanks for caring about our parks

  5. Wow, that’s a big hole! Some great pictures thanks for the post. Keep up the good work and I think the pond is going to really shine when the improvements are done.

  6. Don

    This is a great article. I am an arborist and a lot of the times I am trying to save trees rathe than just taking them down. I often tell people that my job is more about tree care instead of tree service. Great information! I enjoyed the read.

  7. Would love to know what is going to be done with the tree after it was removed?

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