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A Tree with Two Lives

After Being Felled, Becomes Play Structure


An Osage orange tree in Louisville, Ky., that had to be removed was repurposed by the city's parks and recreation department.

In a delightful display of sustainability, the Louisville (Ky.) Metro Parks and Recreation transformed a removed tree into what they call a natural playground.

Seve Ghose, the department's director, told Landscape Online that he got the idea after noticing the shape of an Osage orange tree that had to be cut down. Years before as regional director with the City of Portland Parks and Recreation, he and his crews had transformed larger sycamore trees into play structures and the orange tree looked like a good candidate for doing the same.

So the forestry crew that removed the tree in Shawnee Park, which is situated along the Ohio River between West Broadway and West Market Street, brought it to Creason Park in front of the department headquarters, turned it upside down and installed it, shorn of its small limbs, safely in concrete about three feet into the ground.

"People use it as a climbing structure, and hammocks have been tied between two sides of it," states Ghose.

He adds that besides the interest it creates, this project serves as a marketing piece that demonstrates his department's focus on innovative, sustainable practices.

"We have in essence built a playground structure that will outlive a manufactured structure as the Osage orange wood is very hard and will last up to fifty years in the current set up, with no sealant for the wood," Ghose concludes.

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November 14, 2018, 2:49 pm PST

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