A tree at Barton Springs Pool was diagnosed with brittle cinder fungus Aug. 15, and the area surrounding the tree is restricted from public access, according to a news release from The Austin Parks and Recreation Department, or PARD.

PARD received confirmation of the diagnosis after regular inspection of a tree on Barton Springs Pool, known as “Flo,” from a lab at Texas A&M University.

Brittle cinder fungus has no known effective treatment and feeds on the tree’s live tissue, resulting in a collapse under its own weight. PARD installed a rope on the tree to provide extra support.
"Flo" is infected with brittle cinder fungus, but a separate pecan tree planted behind "Flo" is healthy and not infected. (Courtesy Austin Parks and Recreation Department)
The background

The tree, which is around 100 years old, has been preserved by PARD for decades. “Flo” is supported, in addition to the newly added rope, by cables and a steel structure. Since 1928, the tree has leaned over the deck of the pool.

What’s next

Typically, with a diagnosis of brittle cinder fungus, the tree is removed, according to PARD. Instead, the department is awaiting recommendations from arborists for next steps.

If removal is deemed necessary, there will be opportunities to honor the tree.

Updates on the tree will be available at www.austintexas.gov/page/barton-springs-pool-tree-updates.