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Estimated 350-year-old tree coming down in Bellevue

Posted at 3:44 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 16:44:35-04

It's a sad day for tree lovers in Bellevue as a huge oak tree is going down after being around for an estimated 350 years. 

"Nobody wants to see it come down, it's an icon of the neighborhood, it's always something to talk about with the neighbors. In the fall when the leaves come down and everybody is out doing their part of it because it doesn't all fall in one yard," says Lisa Odell, homeowner.  

The neighborhood landmark has stood in this spot since before the United States was founded and was considered the largest bur oak in the state, until a tree in Peru overtook it two years ago. 

"Well we won't see trees like this in our lifetime, they take too long to grow, this tree was here before Nebraska had its statehood," James Richert, who is removing the tree. 

This is no ordinary job for the crew removing the tree. The expansive oak has dozens of large branches and weighs an estimated 75,000 pounds. It’s one reason why Brett Kirchhoff needs to be extra careful while cutting down the branches.

"Making sure we're positioned in a place where if things do move, if things do break free, they're not falling on top of me or a couple of the other climbers so it's a working puzzle," Brett Kirchhoff, who is removing the tree,

While nobody wants to see the tree go, its time has come. Homeowner Lisa Odell began to notice around a year ago that it was dying. An expert told her that in the long term, the tree could not be saved.

“It's just going to leave a hole, when you drive up the street to the neighborhood, you see all the old trees and all the shade that it gives and it really gives a different feel to the neighborhood," says Odell.

There is some good news in all of this as some of the wood from the tree will actually be used for items such as park benches.