Riverside Cemetery’s autumn clean-up starts October 2nd


Twice a year, folks are asked to remove decorations from the graves of their loved ones buried at Riverside Cemetery. The autumnal clean-up day will be held Monday, Oct. 2 with the public asked to remove their floral arrangements and trinkets (such as pinwheels and solar lights) and other decorations by no later than Sunday, Oct. 1.

“We want to get flower arrangements that have become faded and windblown off graves, to make room for the fall and winter decorations people will be putting out soon,” said Riverside General Manager Dorie Tammen.

Tammen noted that throughout the year, some graves get cluttered with flowers and mementos that, while well-intentioned on the part of the decorator, can prove to be hazardous, and in some cases, violate the cemetery’s rules.

“We’ve found fishing lures in the grass with hooks still on them. We’ve had lighters, knives and bottles of alcohol left on graves,” Tammen explained. “We can’t have visitors, staff or wildlife getting hurt, or our grounds crew having problems mowing or weeding.”

Wreaths and other standing flowers affixed to wires are only allowed in the winter months when crews are not out mowing the grounds.

“Decorations that are not removed will be discarded,” Tammen said.

People can put decorations back on the graves by Friday, Oct. 6, weather pending.

The cemetery sells seasonal (artificial) flower arrangements. Fall orders will be placed, beginning Oct. 16, and holiday orders will be placed beginning Nov. 10. For more information on how to place an order, or to sign up for the cemetery’s mailing list, send an email to: riverside.cemetery@yahoo.com or call: 641-753-7891.

The spring cleanup is scheduled to begin April 2, 2018.

Tammen also noted the frequency in which the cemetery has experienced tree damage due to thunderstorms and strong winds. In some cases, large limbs have come down in various parts of the cemetery, strictly due to old age.

“Jeremy Adkins of Top Notch Tree Service keeps an eye on our trees that have an imminent threat of causing problems,” Tammen said. “We remove trees that have become hollow, rotted or have been split down the middle due to being struck by lightning.”

Tammen said when a tree is removed, there are not immediate plans to replace it.

“We plant trees in parts of the cemetery that don’t have headstones, but we can’t plant trees next to headstones because their roots may grow into the graves,” she said.

Fortunately, most — but not all — of the tree damage has managed to miss hitting any grave markers. Ones that were damaged were in older sections of the cemetery.

“There are a lot of old trees out here, and it’s something we just have to deal with,” Tammen said.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com