It’s time for Jim Henriksen’s cottonwoods to come down.

He has two in his south Fort Collins backyard. One is dead or dying; the other’s still kicking. Both are upward of 70 feet tall.

Henriksen is tired of sweeping his yard for branches after storms, and he doesn’t want to worry about damaging his neighbor’s property or his own anymore. So this month, a certified arborist will come cut the trees down for $4,000.

Henriksen’s story is probably familiar to many residents of Fort Collins, where thousands of towering trees turn city streets into a vast mosaic of green every spring. Collected over decades of rigorous planting and pruning, the city's 443,000 trees offer shade, suppress energy bills and bind up air pollution and storm water. Oh, and they look pretty.

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