R.I.P. – an ode to Piedmont Park’s grand magnolia treePiedmont Park's grand magnolia tree on Friday, July 29 after it had toppled over (Special: Piedmont Park Conservancy)
By Maria Saporta
One of the most popular trees in Piedmont Park – a hundred-year-old magnolia tree – toppled over last Friday with its root plate cracked.
The magnolia stood majestically near the bridge between the park’s two lakes. Its low-hanging branching were at a perfect height for climbing, something I loved to do when I was growing up.
It also was a favorite tree for photos with people standing next to or sitting on the welcoming branches. It was a tree that literally reached out to people – seemingly wanting all the love and attention it had received for decades and decades.
But sadly, it is no more.
Walking around Piedmont Park on Sunday morning, I gasped when I saw the freshly sawed off trunk of the tree. I went over to look, and the core of the tree showed signs of decay and rot. A bunch of flowers rested on top of the trunk showing that other tree lovers were grieving for our loss of our old magnolia friend.
Mark Banta, president of the Piedmont Park Conservancy, told me in an email that the tree toppled over around 5:30 p.m. last Friday when the root plate broke. It was just supported by the climbing branch.
There were no storms or high winds. Apparently it just was the tree’s time to go.
Banta said the city’s tree crew quickly cut down the magnolia because of “the risk of the tree rolling one way or the other and falling to the ground” and possibly being a danger to park goers.
“I’m guessing the tree was over a hundred years old,” Banta wrote, adding that it got a base trunk piece so they could count the rings and better estimate its age. “Yes, you are correct the tree had a fairly significant rot column that went down into the root plate, which is why the tree fell.”
It goes without saying that we will all miss the great magnolia tree, which gave us so many poignant memories. If any of you has photos of the tree when it was in its prime, please email them to [email protected], and we will try to post them.
Photos and notes from readers:
I am so sad to hear about that tree! Please see attached photographs. I did a photo shoot with a local musician, Dylan Cornell, there last summer.
Please reference me using my website below.
Thanks and have a great day,
Bonnie M. Morét