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Two old trees removed from state Capitol lawn | News

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Two old trees removed from state Capitol lawn

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- There are two fewer trees at the state Capitol building in 2016 – after crews spent the New Years weekend taking down two old oaks. An arborist told state officials the trees were likely to fall and hurt people.

The trees came down after the Georgia Building Authority,issued a 57-page report on the health of the two oaks.

Workers used a 38 ton crane to take down the trees piece by piece over the weekend. The work came after a painstaking analysis of the health of the two oaks – which had shaded the statue of Joseph Brown on the southwest lawn. A scarlet oak had heartwood decay 36 inches deep, as measured by a tape. The report said the "likelihood of failure is 'Probable'" on both trees.

'You do get to a point where if it's a third, half of the tree that's hollow on the inside – certain species can live with that for a long time. Others not so great," said Brian Williams of Trees Atlanta, a nonprofit that advocates for the city's tree canopy.

The state commissioned the work on a holiday weekend. Two years ago, the state also used a holiday weekend to quietly relocate the controversial statue of white supremacist Tom Watson.

The state also did the work without the blessing of the city of Atlanta, which has very detailed regulations for tree removal. Turns out state property is exempt, according to the city.

The 57-page report said the two trees could have damaged property and injured people working at or visiting the capitol.

"You can't take any tree for granted anymore," Williams said. "Especially in an urban environment because of the amount of stress we're putting on them, between heat, drought, pollution."