Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kings Park says goodbye to a real beauty.

It took 250 years to grow this grand dame, but only six hours to level her.

It was a sad day in my Kings Park neighborhood to watch the beautiful red

oak in Brooks Terry's yard come down, but believe me, he tried to save her. Brooks started worrying about the tree (which stood a few feet from his marvelous mid-century home on Tall Trees) when he noticed bees flying in and out of one of its cavities. He consulted two experts, who both confirmed that the tree was diseased.

The arborists estimated the tree's age at 250. (For the math challenged, that makes the tree older than the Declaration of Independence.)

"They said it might live two more years, but we though we should go ahead and get it down," Brooks said. "Even if it fell away from the house, the root ball is so big it would tear up the living room."

Once Brooks saw the tree's hollow trunks, he knew he'd made the right decision. "The tree was even sicker than we thought," he said. The

trunk also was lined with thousands of dead bees and spent honeycomb (pictured above in the first photo). Apparently, the same fungus that kills the tree eventually kills the bees too.

Happily, there is a bit of a nice ending to this story. Terry plans to salvage the impressive burl at the base of the tree, and he can still admire the red oak across the street, which is the oldest red oak in Shelby County.


  1. I heard about this tree from Brooks' friend, Bill Johns; very dramatic. Can you imagine what that tree has seen? 250 years old; amazing.

  2. I know. It was very emotional, watching the tree disappear piece by piece. And to see the whole ecosystem: the trunk, the bees, the hives, the burl. And it'sremarkable that the burl - which only occurs when a tree is stressed - is so beautiful.