Just got word that the city of Kewanee, Illinois, is scheduled to cut down an historical Osage-orange tree tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 24). Why care? Because it is the sole remaining tree of an original hedge row planted in 1840. Yes, BEFORE the Civil War!
The tree is leaning and there are concerns about safety. However, arborists point out that it has been leaning for decades (see photos below) without causing problems. Osage-orange trees have interweaving fibers that resist splitting, making them very strong. “Its density and shear strength are among the highest of all Temperate Zone trees,” says arborist and author Guy Sternberg. “This modifies all the standard rules about hazard evaluation…”
Supporters of the tree are asking that the removal be postponed until other options have been considered. Those options include pruning and cabling to alleviate perceived safety issues. At the very least, scion wood should be saved so this historical tree can be cloned.
If you would like to help save this tree, contact the Kewanee city manager (click here for contact info).
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