It was a bad year to be a tree in Texas. The drought alone claimed half a billion trees, KERA reported, which represents up to ten percent of all trees in the state.
And now, a city-county construction project in League City threatens a 100-year-old Compton Oak tree that was planted by J.C. League, one of the founders of League City, Mike Gunning reported in the Galveston Daily News .
Around sixty protestors held a candlelight vigil for the tree Sunday night, hoping to publicize the plight of this prime example of “charismatic megaflora.” The proposed widening of Louisiana Avenue at FM 518 would require the tree, “a rare hybrid of a live oak and an overcup oak,” to be torn up at the roots, KHOU reported.
Options for saving the oak include placing the tree in a “pocket park” or relocating it, which has largely been ruled out because it would cost around $270,000 to uproot and transfer, according to Leslye Mize, the event’s organizer.
“This tree is worth saving, there’s a lot of historical perspective here. This is the second largest Compton Oak in the country. It’s in great health, it’s beautiful, and it’s part of the history of this town,” resident James Hollis told the Daily News .
Trees in Galveston County have not had a very good few years. In 2008, the storm surge from Hurricane Ike killed thousands of trees on Galveston Island, the Houston Chronicle reported.
But, the high water mark for arboreal bad news in Texas remains Paul Stedman Cullen’s herbicidal attack on the 500-year-old Treaty Oak in Austin in 1989.