Tammy Mutasa, Garland Journalist
The loss of a historic 150-year-old red oak tree in Garland has changed the landscape for visitors and drivers.
The once glorious Shumard Red Oak which stood tall along Garland Road as one of the oldest living Red Oak trees in North Texas, has now been reduced to a stump.
Arborist Steve Houser, who took care of the tree for the last 15 years, cannot help but feel sad for the loss of the tree.
“It’s just devastating, I’m not sure how else to say it,” said Houser. “It’s such a significant and sad loss that’s there’s no other way to describe it.”
The tree is now estimated to be 150 years old. Four years ago, it caught ahold of a deadly pathogen and with the drought this summer, there was little hope to save it. Houser illustrated how much decay was in the base of the trunk with six foot pole.
Hundreds of people have called the Garland Mills Memorial Cemetery distraught when they saw crews cutting down the tree, which was considered a fixture along Garland Road. Kyle Williams, Vice President of the Garland Mills Memorial Cemetery Foundation, said the tree had cracks and was threatening to fall over onto Garland Road.
“We’ve gotten everything from deep sorrow to anger,” said Williams. “The people who’ve been working on the tree have been threatened a few times, other people are sorry to see it go, as am I.”
Garland Residents like Jason Crouse notice some huge missing when they drive down Garland Road. Crouse came to the cemetery to take a piece of wood to keep forever.
“It’s sad to see something that old leave the city scape and change the view of Garland Road,” said Crouse. “So I wanted to come mourn with the city.”
At its peak the tree once stood nearly 75 feet tall, and the circumference measured nearly 18 feet. The Red Oak was once designated a Champion tree, which means, at one point , it was the largest tree in the State of Texas.
The cemetery will leave the stump on site and layer a protective coat on the top. Residents are welcome to take pictures and count the tree’s rings