Arborist Lorne Cooper cuts limbs off a heartnut tree

Arborist Lorne Cooper cuts limbs off a heartnut tree

Safety concerns uproot tree

Axe taken to part of Vernon's history – heartnut tree removed from downtown

The axe has been taken to a part of Vernon’s history.

A heartnut tree that was at least 48 years old was removed between city hall and the museum Tuesday.

“There was a concern for public safety,” said Shirley Koenig, operation services manager.

“We don’t want a limb coming down on someone.”

The fate of the tree was sealed July 10 when a large limb broke off and crashed to the ground.

An arborist determined the tree only had about 30 per cent livable area left. The extensive decay meant it was unlikely the 30-foot-tall tree could survive.

“The tree was basically dead,” said Koenig.

The tree had become a landmark over the decades.

Children were known to climb on its limbs and it wasn’t uncommon to find people sitting under it eating lunch or just taking a break.

In the fall, nuts from the tree would cover the ground.

“It’s a real loss and it’s unfortunate. But the tree had reached its life expectancy,” said Koenig.

With the tree gone, root removal and remedial work of the site will be next.

It’s anticipated another tree will be planted in the fall.

“We are looking at our options,” said Koenig of what kind of tree species may be selected.

“We will try and put in as large a tree as we can get but it won’t be the same size (as the old tree).”