Aristocrat pear becomes 2014 mayor's tree

Arbor Day was celebrated Friday with the planting of the mayor's tree at Jones Aquatic Center.


Mayor Jon Geitz was pleased to be part of the annual tradition -- even throwing some dirt on the aristocrat pear.

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City horticulturist Dave McCullough says the pear was planted for a reason: the Aquatic Center drive has lost several pear trees because of the drought.

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McCullough and his staff have planted several different varieties of trees across town for Arbor Day, and that's by design. McCullough says he wants tree diversity, a need driven home years ago by a devastating round of Dutch elm disease which killed many elms around town. That diversity is evident at the Aquatic Center, which has the pears, London plain, Chinese elm, sawtooth oak, different maples and several evergreens.

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