Elderly catalpa tree receives special treatment

With 7,000 trees in Tower Grove Park, there’s one special tree that continues to be a visitor favorite over the years. Our elderly catalpa, full of twisted limbs and a hollowed out center, resembles a fairy-tale home for elves or fairies. Unfortunately, the beautiful tree recently started showing signs of age; we estimate the tree to be between 125-150 years old.

The tree had a large limb partially break and hang to the ground. Our Forestry Team determined that the branch is not completely broken, and it can still function. If our team were to remove the entire branch, the tree would rapidly decline and die from losing too much material that is producing energy.

Our Forestry Supervisor, Andy Berg, explained, “If the tree lost all of those solar panels (leaves), the tree would no longer produce enough energy to persist, and it would die.”

Our team removed hundreds of pounds from the branch by selectively pruning sections that it could afford to lose. They also installed three props to support the branch against gravity. Without the props, it’s likely the branch would droop back to the ground and eventually break all the way.

We hope this support allows the tree to persist, and we are confident the branch will continue to produce energy for the tree. Please, do not touch the props, climb the branch, or climb the tree in general. Our gnarly catalpa is one of our oldest trees! As it continues to age, we will be there to support it.

Consider a gift to the Park to help us maintain trees like our favorite catalpa at towergrovepark.org/donate.

Our Forestry Team installed three props to support the branch against gravity.

Our Forestry Team installed three props to support the branch against gravity.

Our team removed hundreds of pounds from the branch by selectively pruning sections that it could afford to lose.

Our team removed hundreds of pounds from the branch by selectively pruning sections that it could afford to lose.

Michelle Lawrence