A decades-old hemlock tree in the southwest corner of the Limestone County Courthouse is still standing for now, but it could soon have a date with a chainsaw.
The County Commission did not discuss the topic of the tree at Tuesday’s meeting, though Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee said last week the tree poses a danger to anyone who walks near the tree.
Several tree branches have fallen from the hemlock to the sidewalk below over the past week and a half, with a few of the branches being 16 inches to 18 inches in diameter.
Menefee conferred last week with local extension agent Doug Chapman about the health of the tree, but the county will also seek advice from the Alabama Forestry Service.
“I love trees and I hate cutting them down,” Menefee said, adding that he recently planted 36 pecan trees this year after he lost his in the April 27, 2011, tornadoes. “Everywhere I’ve been, people have asked, ‘When are you going to cut down that tree?’ I think the odds are in favor we’ll have to remove it.”
Chapman said last week that hemlock trees are native to Hartselle and are also found in Jackson and DeKalb counties. It’s not unheard of to find them in Limestone County, he said, but they are rare.
He estimated the tree at the courthouse to be about 100 years old, but said it would be difficult to tell without drilling a core sample.
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