AUSTIN (KXAN) — After delaying the removal of a beloved Barton Springs pecan tree, known as “Flo,” the City of Austin has rescheduled its celebration of life and removal for this week.
The tree will be removed on Thursday, Oct. 5 when the pool is closed, and a celebration of life will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., according to the city.
Third-party certified arborists assessed the tree last month after it was discovered to have an infection known as Kretzschmaria deusta, a wood decay fungus in August.
The city said all four Arborists recommended the removal of “Flo” due to safety concerns and the lack of treatment options, so the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) said it would remove the tree.
Flo was originally scheduled to be removed Sept. 14, but the removal was delayed as the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, or PARD, reviewed additional considerations, according to the city.
In a city memo dated Sept. 29, PARD said Flo should’ve already been removed by this point.
“At this time, Flo has been reviewed by four consulting arborists. Two arborists placed the tree in the imminent risk hazard and two identified it in the high-risk category. Following PARD’s defined safety risk priorities, Flo’s removal should have already occurred,” the memo read.
PARD said in a release Monday it “took many factors into consideration when reaching this decision, most importantly, public safety.”
The department will collaborate with community stakeholders to honor and memorialize Flo, and an outline and schedule of public meetings will be available online, the release said.
PARD invited the public to honor Flo at a Celebration of Life on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Barton Springs Pool. The celebration will include a water blessing, speakers about Flo’s history and music.
PARD said those attending should plan to park on the south side of the pool and walk around due to limited space in the main lot.
“Structural defects in the tree have existed for decades, and PARD has worked hard to support and maintain the tree,” PARD said in a release. “These defects combined with the confirmed diagnosis of brittle cinder fungus, which has no cure, will cause this tree to fail. A tree of this size in an area of high use, even with barricades blocking access, is a life safety hazard.”
All arborist reports and a timeline of Flo’s life in photos are available online.