(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Asbury Woods will soon part ways with a longstanding tree.
The tree is a silver maple. It stands in the front lawn of the Nature Center at Asbury Woods (4105 Asbury Road). And it was planted more than 100 years ago by the original benefactor of Asbury Woods, Otto Behrend.
According to Asbury Woods, the silver maple variety is native to Erie. While it grows rapidly, it also has a weaker branch system and a shorter lifespan than other maple tree varieties. It could live to be 100-150 years old, but in urban settings, the lifespan of a silver maple tree is 35-65 years.
Arborist Mark Spitulski of MKS Arborist Services has been monitoring the tree for more than five years because of its age and a fungal disease — Ganoderma. Given those factors, Asbury Woods has announced it will cut down the iconic tree.
“Our staff, board members and tree professionals are in agreement that the time has come to take this tree down,” said Asbury Woods Executive Director Jennifer Farrar. “The degenerative nature of the root disease coupled with the age and fragility of the tree make it a hazard. Its proximity to the Nature Center along a main walkway presents concerns for the safety of visitors and the building.
“While we mourn the loss of a tree which has grown in tandem with Asbury Woods and stood watch over the Nature Center for all these years, we will replace it with another tree that can grow and thrive for the next century and beyond.”
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The tree will be cut down Thursday, Aug. 25, and Friday, Aug. 26, by J. Thomas Tree Service. The tree work could impact walkways and access to the nature center.