Iconic Caboose Park tree trimmed for health, public safety reasons

Trinity tree gets a trim

TRINITY, Ala. (WAFF) - An iconic, mammoth oak tree in Trinity’s Caboose Park received a facelift this week.

Our news partners at the Decatur Daily spoke with lifelong Trinity resident Ashley Raney.

Raney said she was caught off guard Wednesday morning when she saw the tree had been trimmed.

“It’s sad,” said the 27-year-old. “That park is a historic landmark in my eyes. I take my two children (ages 4 and 8) there regularly to play. I’d quickly sign a petition to keep it from ever being cut down.”

Town officials support Raney’s sentiments. They said unhealthy wood and other limbs were removed to prolong the sawtooth red oak’s life while eliminating safety hazards.

Mayor Vaughn Goodwin said residents had concerns about the tree’s condition in recent months.

“If something wasn’t done, it might be falling. Branches breaking loose could hurt somebody,” Goodwin said. “We don’t want to lose the tree, but we must do whatever needs to be done to keep our people safe.”

Goodwin and the Town Council voted last month to have the aging tree inspected.

The town hired Diamond Tree Service LLC of Decatur to offer possibilities aimed at sustaining its life. An inspection was made Monday. On Tuesday, Diamond brought a four-man crew, a bucket truck, a grapple truck and a tractor to trim about 20 feet off its limbs. The cost was $3,200, Goodwin said.

Diamond co-owner Darrel Tucker said the sawtooth red oak is “easily better than 200 years old,” older than the state, and he offered a reminder that “trees don’t live forever.”

“With the work we did, we bought the tree about 25 more years,” he said. “There were dead places on those limbs. If it wasn’t trimmed, the tree’s branches would have started breaking off onto itself. It would not have been safe to sit under or even around the tree.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, some red oaks live to be 400 years old.

Tucker estimated the circumference of the base of the trunk is about 20 feet.

“The tree was leaning. I suspect a long time ago, another tree was near it and it began growing away from that tree,” Tucker said.

Caboose Park sits at the corner of Old Trinity Highway and North Seneca Drive.

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