Red oak at Oakmont Eyecare comes down
by DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Aug 25, 2013 | 977 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Billy Freeman, left, helps Gene Delk, Delk Tree Service, drag a limb to the chipper Friday afternoon at Oakmont Eyecare at 2020 Keith St.  Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
view slideshow (6 images)
What began as a two-day job was reduced to one and then two again for Gene Delk and his crew who cut down a century old tree at Oakmont Eyecare.

The northern red oak tree came down fairly easy and by 3 p.m., the only thing left to do was shed limbs and finish cleaning up the parking lot at 2020 Keith St. Dr. Walter Peterson purchased the property in the late 1960s and opened the optometry practice in 1988.

His daughter, Linda Hixson, picked up a handful of acorns she intends to plant to grow another tree.

“One piece at a time,” Delk said after he was asked how he was going to go about taking the tree down. “We’re going to take our time to keep anyone from getting hurt.”

By the end of the day, about 12 to 15 feet of the trunk remained standing. The idea is to seal the trunk and cap it with a gazebo-type roof just as a conversation piece.

Delk returned Saturday to remove another oak tree with root rot that stood on a slope next to the eye clinic and shaded the building with its large canopy. The second tree was on a slope and water runoff during the unusually wet summer washed the soil from underneath the tree. A swarm of bees nested in the washed-out base of the trunk and finished killing the tree.

Dr. Blake Peterson, the elder doctor’s son and partner, said the second tree was in good shape before the rainy summer months began.

Delk said Friday that he had worked on the older tree for about 20 or 25 years.

“We came in and cleaned this lot off when they built this place and tried to save that tree. We took a few limbs off of it then,” he said. “Then a limb fell across Mr. Peterson’s van in the parking lot and he decided he wanted to top it. I brought a crane in and topped it about 12 years ago.”

He said the tree was about 97 feet tall then and about 75-feet tall Friday morning when they went to work.

“We took about 45 feet out of it. We’ve been trying to save this thing as best we could,” he said. “We put cables in it and everything else and finally, it just go too rotten. But we did everything we could to save this tree.”