Did A 300 Year Old Oak Tree Have To Be Cut Down

Question From: Oak Harbor, Washington, United States
Q: https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-9/q80/s480x480/1604826_10152750874427575_1903718744_n.jpg Cutting down this reportedly 300+ year old oak tree in our town has caused quite a stir, especially since the only oddity appearing is the small hollow at the center of the trunk (flowers inserted into the space). The city council claimed the huge old tree presented a certain danger to pedestrians and visitors to the USPS office that it stood in front of. By their logic, if falling limbs are the big safety issue, every tree in town should be cut down. Do you imagine if there's 3ft of good healthy wood all around the empty space seen in the photo, the trunk would be unable to support the amazing canopy that tree had? Thank you for your help.

A: Mary, Sorry for your loss. The stump certainly looks like the tree was strong and healthy, however there may have been problems up top that were not visable to the naked eye. This winter a terrible ice storm hit my area and hundreds of old trees that looked strong and substantial, cracked apart. Huge limbs fell from trees damaging homes and cars. It takes the trained eye of a certified arborist to assess the safety of a tree. I fear that the cost of upkeep may also be an issue for many municipalities. Maybe a movement to adopt and professionally care for old trees - a 501c3, would be an effective way to save these beauties. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy