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School removes 60-year-old evergreens

Lead Summary
Mavis Fodness

The familiar evergreen trees on the lawn of the Luverne Middle-High School found a new purpose after the 60-year-old trees were recently taken down.
Tree removal specialist Mike Davis of Luverne took down the 11 evergreen trees, finishing the project on Nov. 17.
“They’ve seen better days,” he said.
The trees were estimated to have been planted by students in 1960, and now 61 years later the majority of the pines had broken limbs, regrown tops and/or dead branches.
School district grounds superintendent Cory Schmuck told board members at the Nov. 23 meeting that removing the trees is part of a long-range plan.
“My vision was to open it up to see the building,” he said.
Both Davis and Schmuck said they received calls and questions from the public about the trees coming down.
Davis said he also removed some bushes and a crab apple tree at the same time as the evergreen trees, but “no one noticed.”
Most callers questioned why the trees were removed, and many didn’t understand the trees had aged and were in poor condition.
While some were disappointed to see the trees gone, the newly cut pine boughs were welcome additions to holiday decorations in the community.
Former greenhouse owner George Bonnema, used the boughs in a Make and Take fundraiser for Generations in which 20 people learned how to make outdoor winter arrangements.
“We made $800 for Generations,” he said.
Pieces of the school pine trees that weren’t picked up by the public from the city of Luverne tree dump were further ground for mulch to be used around the city.
At the school, Schmuck said more trees will be planted — this time to enhance the look of the school buildings and not cover them up.
He will also look to remove a line of more than 50 evergreen trees bordering the football field and the neighborhood to the north. Most of the pine branches of those trees have died and have become unsightly. No timeline has been established for this project
Davis said proper tree management takes time to establish.
“If you do it right, you need to rotate trees out and get into a better habit (of replacing),” he said.