JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Parks and Recreation Department crews continued picking up fallen branches at the city’s parks June 1.
Workers began the effort hours after 60-mph winds blew through Marble Falls early on the morning of May 29. Employees used chain saws to cut big pieces into smaller ones so they could haul off the wood. Volunteer residents took their rakes to the parks to put twigs, leaves and other debris into piles to make it easier for city workers to pick up.
That allowed the parks to remain open throughout the weekend, though attendees might have had to step over piles. Still, that didn’t deter folks from spending time in Johnson Park, especially May 31, as children frolicked on swings and slides.
In addition, Hill Country Fellowship showed a free movie in Johnson Park and served popcorn and water May 29.
“(My staff members) worked very hard (May 29),” Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said. “They took care of all the obvious safety issues.”
Since the strong winds pulled down several limbs, it also meant some of the natural shading at Johnson Park and Westside Park was affected. While there wasn’t damage that forced the city to spend money, Moss said the natural loss can’t be measured either.
“I don’t know if you can put a value on the damage,” he said. “It’s not an added expense because the guys are working every day anyway. There are 100-year-old pecan trees where tops are completely ripped out. So I don’t know if you can put a value on them.”
Some of the limbs were so wide, Moss said he couldn’t put both arms around them, adding he believes it will take several days for workers to completely clear out the branches.
While the loss of the limbs is immediate, the director said Mother Nature won’t let it stay that way.
“With pecan trees, you can break off a trunk, and they’ll grow back,” he said. “Unless those trees are a hazard, we’ll leave them there. We’ll take a pecan tree completely out if it’s a hazard.”
In addition, the city’s equipment also didn’t have damage, Moss said.
Moss is still assessing the parks to determine if there are trees that need to be removed.
Workers will prune the trees to ensure safety and will later add a pesticide to protect them from insects, he said.
He estimated at least three trees were uprooted, including one at Kemper’s Corner located near the pavilion in Lakeside Park. Most of those trees, such as chinaberry and fruitless mulberry, are not native to the area.
Since pecans and oaks are native, Moss said, they can endure storms of this kind.