Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Death of an ancient tree

Tom Low of Duany Plater-Zyberk Architects sent around this photo of a tree being removed at Queens Road and Granville Road in the heart of old Myers Park.

I saw it yesterday and mourned its passing. Because the tree was in the city's right of way, I asked City Arborist Don McSween what had happened. Here's what he wrote:

"The Willow Oak (approx. 125 years old) had root rot, and the crown of the tree was dying. There is no technology available to stop root rot. We had pruned the tree a year ago and more of the top had died since then. After a detailed examination, I decided it would only continue to deteriorate and needed to be removed. This was one of our largest Willow Oaks. It was a sad day for me."

And for us all. At 125 years, the oak would have pre-dated the development of the Myers Park subdivision. But as McSween says, with root rot there's no cure. And as someone who drives past that corner almost daily, I understand that for safety's sake, it had to go. Rest in peace.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

You all are aware that trees do die of natural causes, right?

Anonymous said...

We have one of those in our yard that makes that one look like a sappling and we have ZERO money to give it the care it needs.

Arborists have guessed it was 250 to 300 years OLD according to the previous home owner. Over 21' FT in diameter.

If you want to feel better about loosing the one in the article I'd be happy to let you help save this one as it is our favorite tree on the property in Indian Trail

Anonymous said...

A beautiful huge tree on Selwyn Ave was cut down last week, probably for the same reasons. I am by no means a tree hugger, but I was very sad to see it go. Charlotte is beautiful because of its mature trees and it is very important to preserve them.

Anonymous said...

Mourning a tree? You have got to be kidding! What a bunch of nonsense. Why this tree and not a 5 day old or 5 year old one?

Alysse said...

Sad to see go, but at tree is a living thing with a life span. It is amazing to me that these trees with root compression from sidewalks and lack of exposed roots from them being covered by roads do as well as they do. Solution, replant the tree. In some areas they take root stock of the old trees and start and when one dies they replant it from the same "family" so in essence the history lives on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mary. I loved the way the trunk undulated. It was a treat to see every day. I miss it already.

Anonymous said...

Highly doubtful it was 125 years old. That would mean that all of Queens road, and its sidewalks, were built around this tree. If it was in a yard, perhaps it could be 125 years old, but being perfectly positioned in the planting strip between the street and sidewalk, I think not.

Anonymous said...

The developers used large tree moving wagons to move in mature trees to line the major streets in "old" myers park; there are pictures; and one homeowner acquired one of the wagons a couple of years ago and has it in storage; so its possible that, even if planted by the developers, the tree was close to 125 years old; easily 115.

Anonymous said...

Ummm... A) you're mourning a tree which I find to be more than a bit ludicrous. If you want to ‘mourn’ something, why not try ‘mourning’ the thousands of jobs that have been lost over the past 3 days in this country and how it’s going to make an actual impact on the lives of those around us. That makes a bit more sense. Trust me, a week from now we won’t even know this tree is gone. And B) your title isn't exactly right. This tree wouldn't come anywhere near qualifying as an 'ancient' tree at the ripe old age of 125 years. I realize ‘ancient’ can mean different things to different people, but goodness… there are people on this planet that are close to that age and we don’t call them ancient… we just call them… old. Ancient applies to the Pyramids, the Colosseum in Rome, or the Great Wall, but not to a tree in Charlotte. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

A big tree was also cut down uptown at the corner of 5th and Church St. It seemed in fine condition, but I assume an arborist had to give the ok to cut it down. Trees like that offer a great source of shade in the summer. Being from the south I appreciate shade on a summer day. They also provide refuge and home for birds and squirrels.

Anonymous said...

Be thankful the tree managed to survive all these years without being touched by Duke Energy's tree brigade. They can ruin a tree in the blink of an eye or should I say, swing of the chain saw as I just witnessed today in my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

“I think that I will never see
a developer who loves a tree.”

- From Joyce Kilmer’s first draft of “Trees”

Anonymous said...

Funny that photo comes from Tom Low at DPZ as New Urbanist developments almost always have to clear cut land to create the urban density they so love...

Anonymous said...

For God's sake you people really need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

Yep, just as I figured.The people who "love trees" really just love the one THEY drive their Volvo or Lexus by everyday or they would offer to help save our 250 plus year old one I mentioned in an earlier post. If you are going to try and act like you are concerned about saving historic trees please don't blow people off and offer zero advice when someone asks for it because it just shows you are only concerned about "your" historic tree.

Anonymous said...

I am impressed with the level of passion from each of the posts on this blog. To the Indian Trail resident, email me (aharris@lsginc.com) and I'll help you find creative ways & resouuces to care for your tree.

For those who don't believe the age of the tree because of its location, please visit the Carolina Room at the Main Library and investigate for yourself the development of Meyers Park.

For those of you who argue semantics or vocabulary choices on this blog, please try to understand the other person’s point of view.

For those of you who don’t believe that tree won’t be missed in a few days you are mistaken. I will miss this tree (and the 5 others in the same area of town that were taken down last week) for a many years to come. For the simple fact we don’t have something “ancient” such as the Pyramids or Great Wall we need to recognize and celebrate the Charlotte’s most recognizable natural resource that is alive (not dead like ancient artifacts).

For the skeptics who don't understand the value of trees beyond their beauty:
For every ton of new wood that grows, about 1.5 tons of CO2 are removed from the air and 1.07 tons of life-giving oxygen are produced. During a 50-year life span, one tree will generate $30,000 in oxygen, recycle $35,000 worth of water, and clean up $60,000 worth of air pollution or $125,000 total per tree without including any other values!(USDA Forest Service).

For those of you bringing up issues that aren't related such as unemployment & economic hardship I suggest you put your energies to that cause and enlist interested folks in a forum related to that issue to help.

For those of you who are concerned with protecting and preserving Charlotte's most recognizable natural resource, the urban tree canopy, then make your way to the Levine Museum on Feb 10th for a panel discussion on this topic. The Civic By Design Forum is hosting their monthly event at 6 PM. Please join us.

Thanks Mary for posting your original blog.

The Advice Man said...

I suggest you cancel your Internet Service plan, thereby eliminating your "zero dollars" excuse for not doing something about your tree yourself.

Then again, that might mean you'd just increase your subscriptions to paper-based hard-copy publications, which would require more trees to be cut.

But hopefully those trees would be the ones on tree farms, which continually replenish their crop. That may justify using part of the the money saved from your ISP to buy ads in the Observer seeking contributions to save your tree. Any funds left over could be used to buy acorns or seedlings to plant in your yard, because even if you save the old one, we all have to go sometime.

Plus, the ad revenue will preserve Observer jobs, and eventually that benefit will trickle down to you! How, I don't know, but some right-wing ultra-conservative "I've got mine and you're not getting any" Republican told me that's how our economy works.

Jim Kirby said...

Hey Don McSween - What about that giant and perfectly healthy 100+ year old Oak tree that used to live on the east side? You know, the one that looked down at the intersection of Albemarle and Lawyers Roads, I'm sure it took root long before there was an interesection there. Ive watched that tree cycle through the seasons over the last eighteen years. Charlotte's tree protection ordinance is great until one gets in the way of progress!!! What a loss.

Anonymous said...

Did you know Myers Park was built on a farm. Those trees were planted.

Cut one down, plant another. Keep the cycle moving. Don't new home owners plant trees?

Dave said...

hmmm.....maybe that recent lawsuit is the reasoning for all the recently removed trees???

So lets blame the trial lawyers!

Anonymous said...

I bet Bill James hates trees and has had this removed in attempt to bring back the good 'ole days

Jumper said...

I raise trees from seed. I have three pecans at 35' in under 10 years, and numerous dogwoods also from seed. I'm always a little regretful that lots of homeowners don't know how to care for them. A little fertilizer goes a long way.

They are natural air conditioners. I'd mourn the loss of a big tree like I'd mourn the loss of my air conditioner.

Anonymous said...

To the windy anon on the 30th who commented on the CO2 factor realted to trees: old trees actually do rather poorly at removing CO2 fromt he atmosphere. It is new growth that is responsible for MOST of the atmospheric CO2 converison by tres. A 125 yr old tree contributes little in that regard compared to a similar tree between 5 and 50 years old.