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The original item was published from 4/15/2022 5:58:26 PM to 5/16/2022 12:00:04 AM.

News Flash

Johnston City Newsfeed

Posted on: April 15, 2022


Beech Tree original and seedlings

You may have noticed Johnston Drive looks a little different without the beech tree that once stood near the intersection at Merle Hay Rd. Due to infrastructure improvements (reconstruction of the intersection), the beech tree located in the right of way had to be removed. The intersection reconstruction will help provide better traffic flow as the area's recreation and businesses expand. There are many beech trees located in the area that will remain maintained on the site.

The tree held a rich history in its roots. It was originally planted over 70 years ago by Bill Heard, the owner of Heard Gardens. Heard Gardens was a family business started in 1928 by Clyde and Eunice Heard. Bill started working for his father in 1939, after finishing school at the University of Nebraska. He later took over the business in 1956 and opened his shop on Merle Hay Rd. at 5355 Merle Hay Rd. Bill and his wife Kay and their daughter Carol lived in a house on the property. It was thought that the beech tree was a part of the secret garden Bill planted to add privacy around their family home.

Soon this beech tree will have a larger legacy than ever before. This past fall, city arborists took seeds from the beech tree and began the germination process. They were able to germinate about a dozen seedlings that will be planted once they can survive the outdoor elements. 

We understand how valuable trees are to our land and residents. Whenever development takes place, city leadership looks to our team of arborists to save as many trees as possible. We have full-time staff who specialize in tree removal, replanting, maintenance and general care.

We look forward to integrating more beech trees into our community to continue the rich, diverse tree cover that sets our city apart. 

A special thank you to Mary Jane Paez for providing the beech tree and Heard Gardens history.

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