Oak trees may be in danger - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Oak trees may be in danger

July 16, 2003

Leesburg- Eva Majors got a disturbing phone call Tuesday.

"It's just a big yard full of oak tree," said a neighbor at the other end of the line.

That's how she found out about the accident in her backyard.

"I couldn't believe it," Majors said. "It made my knees weak."

The enormous water oak that has been shading her backyard for the 27 years she's lived in her home, came crashing down.

"All in all, I'm very fortunate that no one was hurt."

Eva was lucky. Her home wasn't damaged and her storage shed can be replaced. But nobody really knows why the tree fell.

"The tree has new growth, several people have seen that," she said. "I had no idea that it was going to fall."

And there may be more of this in the future. Even some of the aging canopy of oaks that line streets in Albany are stressed.

The problem is that even trees that look healthy like these can fall without warning. Drought like we've had in Georgia the past five years causes the root system to shrink. Then heavy rain makes the soil around those trees unstable.

"So we do need to have constant care to make sure we don't have trees that are hazards in the community and we need someone who can routinely check on these trees," said Kay Kirkman, chairman of the Albany Tree Board.

The Tree Board asked the city commission last month to help fund an urban arborist. But the position didn't end up in the annual budget. The work, though, still needs to be done.

"We do have trees that are dying and need to be removed and we do need a comprehensive plan that would dictate where new trees are planted and replacement trees would go in," Kirkman said.

So, we can prevent accidents that next time may be worse than the one in Majors' yard.

"I have a yard full of tree that's going to be very expensive to remove."

And her backyard will never be the same.

"I don't know what I'm going to do without the tree."

posted at 10 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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