It depresses me to think about the two live oaks at the intersection of Highway 17 and Ford Avenue. It is reported that they have been deemed sick and must be removed, although not tomorrow or the next day, but eventually. What a loss this would be for Richmond Hill.
Richmond Hill is fortunate to have two of these giants at this intersection. They are ornaments to our city. Being the official state tree of Georgia, they deserve every possible effort to treat them for any suspected sickness.
As a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, I am compelled to ask about the nature of this sickness. What are the exact diagnoses? What can be done to cure them and save them for future generations? A tree is a beautiful part of nature; it is a living thing. Being an ornamental part of the city, they should be treated for any sickness.
I have learned that sicknesses of any tree first shows in the appearance of its leaves. The leaves of these two live oaks look healthy.
In reading about live oaks, they are surprisingly hardy. The deep tap root that anchors it eventually will develop into an extensive and widespread root system. These characteristics make the Southern live oak extremely resistant to strong sustained winds. Even in fires, they offer resistance, because the fire rarely will reach the crown. Even if they are burned, the crown and roots usually survive the fire and sprout vigorously. (The crown of a tree is the top part, leaves and branches, that grow outward.)
There are live oaks that are 1,500 years old. A live oak in Charleston, South Carolina, is estimated to be in excess of 700 years old. A tree, having such characteristics, would make these two giants, appear as saplings.
The column about the demise of these two giants, noted in a recent issue of the Bryan County News, that the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation president has mixed feelings about the matter. That tells me there is a chance these two giants can possibly be cured of the sickness.
But then, all this being noted, issues like public safety and the structure of the trees also have to be considered. If they are the main issues, I reluctantly agree that the trees have to be removed. As it should be, public safety is the main issue.
I had big ideas for these giants. One idea was suggesting a name for this intersection: call it the Intersection at Two Oaks.