Many people in Peabody consider Prairie Lawn Cemetery one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Kansas.
Covering 80 acres, it includes 20 acres of gravesites landscaped with 100-year old red cedars, 15 acres of manicured lawn, a small piece of native prairie, and 40 acres of newly acquired adjoining farm ground.
Stately Ponderosa and Austrian pine trees have stood sentinel along the roadway for more than 100 years. However, the huge trees, planted around 1900, are falling victim to tip and needle diseases.
A few also have an insect secondary invader, although probably not the pine beetle that prefers Scotch pines.
The cemetery has tried a program of spraying with a fungicide, but according to a Kansas state forester who made an on-site inspection in August, the trees are reaching the end of their life expectancy anyway.
He advised removing the diseased trees and replacing them with both evergreen and deciduous trees from the south central Kansas preferred tree list.
Removal of the trees has already begun, and the cemetery board of directors is creating a new plan to replace trees with native varieties.
The board is aware of the sentimental value of the aging pines. Members welcome comments and suggestions from Prairie Lawn patrons and supporters, as well as donations for replacement trees.
For more information or to offer comments, contact Board President Bob McVey at (620) 983-2929.