July 17, 2013 - Historic elm tree taken down

A boom truck lifts Josh Scott, with G-H Tree Service of Wagner, above the home of Hazel Bertsch in Menno so he can carefully cut limbs away from the main trunk of the tree last week Wednesday, July 10. The tree, which was recognized as the largest recorded American Elm tree in South Dakota by the state department of agriculture, was taken down for safety concerns.

Josh Scott eyes the next cut he will make on the American Elm tree in the Hazel Bertsch yard at the corner of Heil and High streets in Menno last week. Josh and his father, Glen, worked together to cut and then lower large limbs from the tree to keep them from falling on the Bertsch home or surrounding property and structures.

Glen Scott, also with G-H Tree Service, provides tension to a rope tied to a limb being cut by his son, Josh, last week Wednesday, July 10. It took the pair, with some additional help from Bertsch family members and other community residents, three days to completely bring the tree down.

The American Elm, which at one time measured 82 feet tall with a 93-foot canopy spread, was already part of the Bertsch home landscape when they moved into the house in 1946. In a 2005 interview with the Hutchinson Herald, Hazel Bertsch said the tree was already fully grown by that time.

A limb on the large American Elm tree in the backyard of the Hazel Bertsch home in Menno swings free after being cut away by Josh Scott last week.

Nathan Bertsch, a grandson of Hazel Bertsch, helps the G-H Tree Service crew with a limb that had been lowered to the ground. Some of the sections cut from the tree were estimated to weigh around 1,000 pounds each.