For decades, the central courtyard at Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH) has been a place of serenity, and a sanctuary for patients, families, WCH employees, and wildlife of all kinds. It is unknown exactly when the courtyard was incorporated into the facility design, but the koi pond and African sumac shade trees have been popular with patients, visitors, and staff for many years. The courtyard is a quiet, shady place to sit and reflect while listening to the trickling water in the pond and the chirping of the birds in the trees. The courtyard setting is loved by all.
Unfortunately, it was recently discovered that a disease called shelf fungus (also known as bracket fungus) invaded the two large sumac trees. This fungus develops inside the tree – causing the trunk and branches to become weak. On a blustery morning in May, a large branch snapped and fell into the courtyard striking and damaging a table and crushing the umbrella at that table.
There is no remedy for this tree disease. Two certified arborists inspected the trees and concluded they should be removed. After considering the risk of falling branches and the potential for l injury to patients and staff and property damage, WCH decided to move forward with the removal of the two large trees, while keeping the smaller tree next to the koi pond, as there is no visible evidence of shelf fungus in that tree.
WCH is sad to see these two beautiful trees go away.
Plant Services is considering options for an alternate source of shade in the courtyard. For now, we say, “goodbye,” to our wonderful trees which have provided shade for those enjoying the courtyard and homes for birds who have taken refuge there.
Alan Gustin, WCH plant services manager