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100+ year old tree in Rockdale cut down after safety concerns arise

Posted at 6:08 PM, May 31, 2024

ROCKDALE, Texas (KRHD) — Some Rockdale residents are upset after the city's oldest tree was cut down this week.

  • The City of Rockdale cut down its oldest cottonwood tree in Sumuel Park due to safety concerns.
  • Based on a report, the tree's center rotted and became hollow increasing its risk of falling.
  • The tree is rumored to be at least 100 years old, and a landmark that became the center of gatherings and a trailer park, according to resident Elisse Benford-Roberts.


All that's left of Rockdale's oldest cottonwood tree is its stump.

But one thing our neighbor Elisse Benford-Roberts knows is its roots run deep.

"My personal memories of the trees that as a kid, this used to be a small trailer park, and this tree is part of the entry of what was here at that time," she said.

That was until the City of Rockdale decided to cut it down.

"They asked the city manager to bring in an arborist to check out the tree and see if it can be saved. That was our original purpose. We wanted to try and save it, but after they did their scans and they came back, the pretty much the inside was just completely rotten," City Secretary Shannon Johnson said.

It's a condition tree servicers Scott and Josh Barker said is common in older trees and a hazard.

It could break over at any minute. A good windstorm probably could have broke it over," Scott said.

"Especially, this section that was leaning over this pavilion… I mean, it had to come down," Josh said.

The city has plans to replace the tree, but Elisse has another idea.

"My thing that I would like for the city to do at this point: Now that we see where the tree is that we could stop at this point and clean the cavity out, fill it in and, you know, also put the plaque on it," she said.