One of Albany’s “heritage trees,” an odd little elm in front of the Christian Science Reading Room at Seventh and Calapooia, has come down with an incurable disease and will have to come down, period.
Rick Barnett of the city parks department sent out a notice of the situation Tuesday. “Really unfortunate but unavoidable,” he wrote.
The tree is a Camperdown elm. Gary Schmidt, board chairman of the Christian Science Church, said church members and others had noticed the top of the tree dying a few weeks ago. They called in Buena Vista Arbor Care, who sent someone to take samples and have them tested at Oregon State University.
On Tuesday the verdict came back: Dutch elm disease.
“There is no cure, and if left it can spread the disease,” Barnett said in his email alert. “It will be removed tomorrow.”
Camperdown elms are a variety first discovered about 1840 at the estate of the Earl of Camperdown near Dundee in Scotland. (You can learn the details and more from Wikipedia, where I got this.) They have highly contorted branches, and the Albany tree certainly lives up to that characteristic.
Schmidt, of the church, doesn’t know how old this tree is. But the church has pictures from the 1950s or ’60s showing it to be only about 10 feet tall. Now it’s maybe twice that height.
Judging by a plaque set in the ground underneath the canopy, the Albany Tree Commission recognized the elm as a “heritage tree” in 2001.
This elm has been a landmark at this corner for some time. Too bad it’s dying and has to come down, but it can’t be helped. (hh)