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WILMINGTON, NC — Tuesday, Wilmington City Council voted unanimously to remove 25 of the oaks trees that make up the Market Street canopy as you enter downtown.

“Once you start losing large limbs, you’ve got heart rot, you’ve got serious decay, structural issues in that tree, it becomes a public safety issue,” said New Hanover County Arboretum Director Al Hight.

The oaks that shade Market St. near downtown have stood for almost eighty years. But after numerous hurricanes, a few traffic accidents, and just natural decay, city leaders have deemed many of the trees a safety hazard.

Now the city will remove and replace 25 of the trees, but that will still have a drastic effect on the landscape of the area as the new trees grow.

“There will be a period when the canopy will not be as lush nor as rich as it is right now but that’s the life cycle of a tree,” said George Edwards of the Historic Wilmington Foundation. “A tree does not come fully formed.”

People we spoke with along Market St. say they would rather keep the trees and take their chances.

“It’s definitely a risk but, at the same time, lightning could strike you walking down the street,” said Market St. resident Jon Olson.

“I think the trees add to the ambience of an old southern town. Its kind of cool when you come in to wilmington you see those old oaks over the road,” said fellow resident Dennis Mathis.

But while there may be some temporary disappointment, experts agree the plan will be worth it in the long run.

“I think by taking that long term view, this canopy is going to be stronger, and its going to be better, and will make this neighborhood and this area just as attractive as it always has been,” said Edwards.

The city plans to replace the oaks with a variety that usually remain healthy for hundreds of years.

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9 Comments on "Wilmington to remove oak trees in Market Street canopy"

Rocky Lane Moore
2015 years 8 months ago

1) If you have to cut the trees down, please make sure that local residents have access to firewood from felled trees.

2) What about the animals that live in the trees? Could animal control relocate them before their nests fall like rocks into the street.

3) Would it not make sense to fell all old trees. And then plant new trees which will grow uniformly at the same rate.

4) What about 5th Street oaks? How many of those dangerous trees will be taken down?

5) Have the oak trees carved into busts of Wilmington heros who were awarded the medal of honor, and put them in parks around the city.

6) Have graduates with honors from area schools help plant and erect each oak tree. Dedicate each tree to one of the local schools. These children will be able to watch these trees grow and gives them a connection to the trees.

7. Who else needs the wood from the oak trees?

Guest Noni
2015 years 8 months ago

to Rocky Lane Moore: I like your thinking. I love the trees, and if they are sick, they need to be cared for, repurposed, honored, even culled. But let’s be creative in their disposal. Please send those ideas and more to our city council members and put bees in their bonnets.
happy holidays.

J. Tomas
2015 years 8 months ago

Just so long as this isn’t a plot to remove those old trees and widen the road without having to deal with that subject directly.

2015 years 8 months ago

All the trees should be removed along Market from 17th Street north to where the road widens, with a new modern, safe, vehicle-friendly roadway replaceing the go cart track that is there now.

you have terrible ideas
2015 years 8 months ago

god forbid that anyone should have to slow down and stay in their lane. Maybe we could replace the trees with golden coral signs so this town really can look like every other po dunk town in NC.

2015 years 8 months ago

Move the fountain, remove the trees, build a ball park for a billionaire instead of paying police and firemen a livable wage, sewers lines still spewing waste….what or who is more of a safety hazard.

Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago

You are right about Council being a hazard…but give them credit for this as well:
Removing these trees means less oxygen, as trees produce our air. But on the flip side of this coin…Council puts off enough Hot Air to replenish the loss supply from the trees.
That is why our Winter’s are mild…not because of the geographical location…but the said…Hot Air Council produces ;-)
One reader commented that Market Street is a Go Cart track. It still will be with or without trees. I’ve seen a city bus take off a side mirror of a car in front of Hoggard High School…as it was flying towards town. That tore her vehicle up…but never chipped the paint on that bus.
The layout of this city’s road system has come forth to haunt us…and yes…the sewer pipes still rupture on a weekly basis.
Leave the trees alone…trim back their branches…and don’t cut down a tree because it’s a problem, just to plant others to create another problem in the long run. But that is what this city is known for…repetitive foul ups :-)

Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago

Be careful about your ideas Vog46. City Council will use them, then take full credit for it.
Then they will raise our taxes again to help pay for those ideas. Hey…Council could even put a Toll on the over pass crosswalk at New Hanover High..or is it Cross Over High? Ooooops!…another freebie :-(
City Council could sit down in front of a Crystal Ball with “Madam Wopnot” and look into the future here with the traffic congestion…all the above…but still would not prepare our infrastructure accordingly!
We would be better off if Council put the trees and fountain on EBay for sale…and whomever buys them…can deal with the problems ;-)

2015 years 8 months ago

I’m always surprised by how much some people don’t want to accept the fact that Wilmington has grown and continues to do so. Between the old oak trees and the fountain further down Market St we seem to have “stopped” somewhere in time.
The fountain has been there since the early 1900s – the trees are 50 years old? At least?
C’mon folks, even the most ardent preservationist has to agree that the growth that HAS taken place has rendered these two sections of Market st a public hazard. What was once a cozy road to drive down has now morphed into a 4 lane race track. Heck we even put a barrier new NH High School so students couldn’t cross that street – they have to walk OVER it. When that was done we should have thought about the cars.
No – it’s way past the time for these improvements.
Remove ALL the trees and replant using much smaller ornamentals (or just remove them period).
Then remove the fountain and relocate it to Bellamy Mansion – or down town (near River Walk?)
Folks this is Highway 17 – the 1200 mile long, INTERSTATE road! To have fountains in the middle or trees falling down into it is an embarrassment to this city.
I’m all FOR trees – but this is ridiculous



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