The oldest tree in downtown Raleighs Moore Square was cut down Tuesday morning, a victim of termites and other structural problems that had turned the stately oak into a safety hazard.
The 200-year-old tree towered over East Martin Street long before City Market was built across the street in 1913. Black Union soldiers fighting in the Civil War reportedly slept under its canopy.
A study of Moore Squares many trees uncovered the oaks hazards and determined it could not be saved. The findings presented to the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday said that most of the trees younger neighbors remain healthy.
But tree experts told the council that the square needs better protection from cars and large crowds, which can damage tree roots and soil. Big festivals are also discouraged.
In 60 years, youre looking at 65 percent of that canopy gone if we dont plan ahead, said Christopher Counts, a landscape architect who oversaw the study.