Asphalt Road Puts Big Bur Oak Tree In Danger

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BOONE COUNTY - The largest Bur Oak tree in the state may face an uncertain future due to environmental circumstances surrounding the tree.

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An asphalt road winds close to the base of the trunk, not only interfering with the tree's root structure but providing potentially toxic run-off into the tree's water supply.

Chris Haubner, the owner of Tree Wizard Inc. in Columbia, is also a certified arborist.

He said one possible solution is to move the road farther away from the base of the tree.

"There is an option to move the road so they wouldn't have to keep contaminating the tree with oils and salts and stuff as they do on normal streets."

According to Haubner, this could potentially save the tree and increase the tree's health and longevity.

On Oct. 22, several co-ops, including Haubner, worked on the bur oak tree, removing dead limbs from the side of the tree over the road.

"I definitely noticed the deterioration of the dead tissue on the side of the tree that's over the asphalt," he said. "There is definitely a concern about the oil and the chemicals they use to treat the asphalt."

Haubner also said the owner of the tree recently allowed more mulch to be put on the far side of the tree, away from the road.

"We fertilized the mulch and performed several health treatments that will work to preserve the tree," he said.

Hauber believes while the problem needs to be addressed, tearing up the asphalt isn't necessarily the best course of action.

"All the construction work and all the work of pulling it out is going to be a pretty big detriment to the tree as well," he said.