Evening storms topple 300-year old tree in DecaturContractors for Southland Tree Service remove parts of a 300-year-old red oak tree that fell along East Ponce De Leon Avenue on Thursday, June 18, 2015. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
This story has been updated.
History fell over on Thursday evening.
A rush of wind and rain felled a 300-year old red oak tree along East Ponce De Leon across the street from Glennwood Elementary, hitting the Trinity Title building. It was older than the city itself, founded in 1823.
Crews from Southland Tree Service were busy sawing away hunks of the massive oak late into the evening as pedestrians stopped to watch.
Lee Smith, with Southland, watched from across the street and was willing to educate people with questions.
“What happens when a red oak tree gets that old and that big, it starts rotting from the inside,” Smith explained. “All big red oak trees are hollow inside, and from there the roots start rotting away.”
The wind took care of the rest, he said.
Smith said he’s been in this business for 20 years and has only seen one other fallen tree as big as the one that fell in Decatur. He said his crews would be working on it for two days and it would take five or six truck loads to haul it all away.
There were no reported injuries. Decatur Police Lt. Jennifer Ross said it struck an unoccupied vehicle, but all roads remained open. But people did slow down as they passed by the scene to stare at the massive oak on the ground.
Smith said he didn’t know anything about the history of the tree.
“It was a very large oak tree and it did have root rot and just had a failure,” he said.
Reader Drew Stanley sent in this image from Thursday’s storm. He said he took the photo while “standing in the parking lot of 715 E College Ave.”