‘National Champion Tree’ at Foothills Chamber to come down

Published 7:48 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2009

She adds that John Vining of the Polk County Cooperative Extension Service, who noticed a year ago that the tree was sick, reached the same determination that the tree should come down.

&dquo;The arborists quoted many thousands of dollars to try to cable the branches, give it water and fertilizer, etc. but also say it would eventually have to be cut down,&dquo; says Sciacca.

The Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce has advised the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) of its plans to cut down the tree.

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In 2006, PAC identified the tree as one of Polk County&squo;s &dquo;treasured trees.&dquo; In August of 2008, PAC awarded the chamber the special designation for the tree.

&dquo;Then we found out that it is the largest common hackberry tree in the state by 10 feet,&dquo; says Sciacca.&bsp;&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

The tree received designation as one of four National Champion Trees in Polk County. The extended, extreme drought in 2007 and 2008 is cited as the cause of the tree&squo;s rapid decline over the past couple years.

The chamber reports that large branches are falling and could cause injury or damage to cars,&bsp; and the chamber has alerted tenants of the building about the danger.

Sciacca says the chamber is now looking at ways to make use of wood from the tree for special gifts.

&dquo;I called Tryon Arts and Crafts and they referred me to Jim Mellberg who has agreed to turn a bowl from the tree for the chamber as a gift,&dquo; says Sciacca. &dquo;We want to encourage others to call the chamber if they also would like a piece of wood, and we will contact the wood workers guild. I have been told they like donations of wood to make toys for children.&dquo;