The South entrance to Morden Park will have a new look after an aging tree, which stood at the Thornhill entrance, was cut down last week.  

Director of Parks and Urban Forestry for the City of Morden Shawn Dias said the tree was 95-100 years old.  

"We've been keeping an eye on that tree for quite some time now and watching it slowly decline over the years. We have tried to save the tree as best we can by even going as far as drilling some holes in the asphalt and trying some fertilizer applications and aeration to help the below ground root system, but that tree being surrounded by asphalt has a lower life expectancy than a tree that would be grown in an open, normal condition, say like a park setting."  

Elm tree before it was cut down.Elm tree before it was cut down.

Dias explained, it went through a process before the decision was made. 

"As we watched the tree decline over the years, we continued to monitor for safety and do some tree risk assessments on the tree. We determined that due to the number of dead and dying branches on the tree we needed to address those. And so, once we had done our full tree risk assessment on it, the majority of the tree actually was deemed unsafe. You can see from the images that I sent, a lot of the main branches and trunk of the tree were hollow in the middle." 

Although the tree had to come down, Dias noted, a portion of the trunk will still stand there. 

"The remaining portion of the tree is solid and definitely not at risk of falling over, and so we had some creative solutions come forward to do a carving there. So, that's what we're doing. We took it down to 16-foot height and now we have a local chainsaw carver Berry Dueck doing some work on the tree."  

Tree trunk with logs piled at the bottom of it.

He described the work Dueck is doing this week. 

"He is doing an Elm leaf on either side of the trunk, and then the words 'Morden Park' going vertically on the tree as well, both at the entrance and at the exit side of the trunk there." 

First stages of the elm leaves carved into the trunk.First stages of the elm leaves carved into the trunk.

He understands the public's interest in this action.  

"I think whenever there's removal of trees, especially in the public eye, then we want to be able to provide some rationalization and justification for removing the tree. Most of it becomes for surrounding liability and risk for the public. That we take very seriously. And so, once the tree reaches that point, we have to make a decision to do that. Fortunately for us, in this case, we're able to save the remaining portion and the stump part of the tree can be carved into something and stay there for quite a while longer." 

Dias is looking forward to the outcome of Dueck's work, adding the design can change slightly depending as you get into it. 

Dueck is no stranger to Morden as a participant in past Morden Arbor Days, running workshops on chainsaw carving. Arbor Day in Morden is scheduled for June 9th in Morden Park.