AUSTIN, Texas – In a significant development, the iconic leaning pecan tree known as “Flo” at Barton Springs Pool is scheduled to be removed this week. The Austin Parks & Recreation Department (PARD) has deemed it necessary to take this action due to safety concerns. Flo’s removal is slated for October 5, coinciding with the closure of Barton Springs Pool.
The unfortunate fate of Flo was sealed when it was diagnosed with Kretzchmaria deusta, an insidious and brittle cinder fungus, on August 15, 2023. PARD has determined that there is no effective treatment for this fungus, as it thrives on live tissue and can lead to the collapse of seemingly healthy trees under their own weight.
It is worth noting that structural defects in Flo have been present for several decades, prompting PARD to invest significant efforts into supporting and maintaining the tree. However, the combination of these pre-existing defects and the confirmed diagnosis of the incurable brittle cinder fungus will inevitably result in the failure of this magnificent specimen.
PARD emphasizes that the presence of a tree as large as Flo in a heavily frequented area poses a significant risk to public safety, even with barricades in place. To shed light on the situation, all relevant arborist reports and a comprehensive timeline showcasing Flo’s life through photographs are available for public perusal online.
For generations, Flo has stood tall beside Barton Springs Pool, with the earliest known photographs of the tree dating back to 1925-1926. Originally slated for removal in early September, PARD decided to postpone the process to allow for community input and engagement.
In a bid to pay tribute to Flo, the public is cordially invited to a Celebration of Life ceremony on Wednesday, October 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Barton Springs Pool. The event will encompass a water blessing, captivating speeches recounting Flo’s nearly centennial history, and soul-stirring musical performances. Attendees are advised to park on the south side of the pool and traverse on foot due to limited space in the main parking lot.
Residents are encouraged to share their personal stories, cherished memories, and treasured photographs of Flo by emailing [email protected]. These anecdotes will be shared and preserved online, providing a lasting tribute to the beloved tree.
In the wake of Flo’s imminent departure, PARD is committed to collaborating with various community stakeholders to create a fitting and enduring memorial for this extraordinary tree. The department will soon release an outline and schedule of public meetings, ensuring that the community’s voice is heard and considered throughout the process.