DES MOINES, Iowa — The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s clear dome is an eye-catching landmark that helps its plants grow. However, a palm tree inside has grown a bit too tall, so the garden needed to take it down before it caused any damage.
Visitors said their final goodbye to the Cuban palm tree on Sunday before the Botanical Garden removes the tree on Monday.
“It’s so sad that it’s being cut down. I understand, but it’s still kind of sad,” said garden visitor Sheryl Young. “It’s beautiful. It’s the tallest one, but you just take it for granted because it’s there.”
Aaron Harpold, the Botanical Garden’s director of horticulture, said they have no choice but to cut the palm tree down. He said the tree’s leaves, also known as fronds, are scraping the glass from the inside.
“They release one frond at a time, and those fronds are 15 to 20 feet long,” Harpold said. “They’ve been tickling the roof for about a year now. Just for the safety of the structure, the plants, and the collections we have in this dome, we just want to make sure that we’re making the right decisions.”
The palm tree was planted at the botanical garden in 2010. The garden has already selected a new palm tree as its replacement: a foxtail palm tree native to Australia which will not grow as tall as its predecessor.