Several Gothenburg property owners gathered at Lake Helen on Saturday morning, Oct. 16 to pick out their free tree and to see a demonstration on proper planting and caretaking techniques.

The program serves two purposes: to maintain the beauty of our community that has made it a Tree City USA for 33 years, and to replace trees that will inevitably be lost in the city due to the Emerald Ash Borer.

The Arbor Day Foundation provided grant funding for selected communities as part of the Emerald Ash Borer Community Tree Recovery program, and the City of Gothenburg received word in September that they had been selected as a recipient.

The grant provided 110 trees to be given out to residents for planting on city right-of-ways. The trees can be planted in front and side yards of private property to help shade public streets and sidewalks.

Residents signed up for the free trees which were handed out Saturday at the park, and local arborist Jeff Kennedy conducted a mandatory demonstration on tree planting for all who were given a tree. “It’s not a matter of if Emerald Ash Borer gets here, it’s when. The good news is only about 10% of Gothenburg’s tree population are Ash trees, so we are trying to get ahead of that by having replacement trees already planted when it comes,” Kennedy explained.

For those who were unable to attend the Oct. 16 pickup another distribution and planting demonstration will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21 from 5-6 p.m. at Lake Helen. Contact the City office for more information.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@syndicatepub.com or call 308.537.9498