08/20/09 — Newspaper's oak has to come down

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Newspaper's oak has to come down

By Staff Reports
Published in News on August 20, 2009 1:46 PM

Goldsboro lost a landmark and The News-Argus an old friend when the big southern red oak tree in front of the newspaper office on Berkeley Boulevard was cut down today.

The tree, which experts say is more than 100 years old, is 80 percent dead already and poses a safety threat, forcing a difficult decision. The Tanner family, which owns the newspaper, has fought hard to keep the tree over the past decade, but time has finally won out.

The tree apparently was damaged by lightning within the past two decades, said Ryan Blaedow, a tree pathologist with the North Carolina Forest Service, who was called in to examine the tree in an effort to save it. It also is suffering from root damage, he said.

"There's not enough living wood and not enough structurally sound wood to support the weight of the tree," Blaedow said. "It would be a good idea to remove it."

A white oak in the rear of the building also will have to come down for much the same reasons, Blaedow said.

"Trees don't heal the way people do. When they get injured, they just cover it up," he added.

The tree has been trying to produce enough material to wrap around the wound, but all of the rotted wood has created a safety hazard. The tree is not tall enough to fall across Berkeley Boulevard, but it would cause damage to cars in the News-Argus parking lot or to the News-Argus building depending on the way it fell.

Both trees are about 70 feet tall. The red oak is more than 40 inches in diameter, the white oak somewhat less.

Hal Tanner III, the newspaper's general manager, said more trees and shrubbery will be planted to make up for the loss of the trees.