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Historic White Oak At Risk Due To Drought In Alpharetta Georgia

Great White OakBy Caroline Gray

An Alpharetta tree, popularly known as the runner-up champion white oak in Georgia, may be dying as a result of the drought.

The grandfatherly tree, next to the Extended Stay America Hotel on Haynes Bridge Road, was once considered the single largest of its species in the state, said City Arborist Ray Probart.

“I would guesstimate it’s at least 100 feet tall and the canopy is about 100 feet across,” he said. “It could be in better health.” For more information on white oaks visit White Oak Information.

At 135 to 150 years old, the white oak may be the oldest in Alpharetta and it has been severely impacted by the drought, said Dave Lofstrom, branch manager for Brickman Landscaping, the company responsible for maintaining the hotel grounds.

According to Loftstrom, the tree is desperate for yearly maintenance including feeding and lightning precautions in order to protect it from the drought stress and already present dead-branching.

“It’s a gorgeous tree. Currently what we’re trying to get them to do is mulch it – our arborist has made a bunch of suggestions,” said Lofstrom.

Mulching the tree with hardwood chips or pinestraw would be the single-most effective step the landscapers could take to protect the roots of the tree, said Probart.

People need to be educated to spread mulch all the way out to the drip line of the canopy – 10, 15, 20 feet away from the feeder roots,” he said. “Another thing that’s hard for people to accept is that grass is competition for the roots. One option is to use a herbicide to kill the grass out to the drip line.

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