300-year-old tree cut down in Arlington

A corner lot in Arlington will look a lot different after storm damage left officials with no choice but to cut a favorite neighborhood tree down.

Monte Elswick, the owner of Greentree Tree Service, the company contracted to cut the tree down, said,"This is a champion post oak, and it's the largest post oak in the state of Virginia."

All it took was one storm to blow the tree, which took three centuries to grow, to pieces.

"We're really saddened to have to remove it, but we have to put the public safety first," said Jamie Bartalon, the landscape and forestry supervisor for Arlington County.

The June 29 derecho knocked down part of the rare tree, leaving it too unstable to stay.

Post Oak trees are rarely planted, as the wood is dense, and they take centuries to grow.

Property owner Josh Young said, "It's a beautiful old tree, it's too bad it has to come down."

Young's tree isn't just any old tree. It was designated for special protection in 2008.

Arlington resident Tracey Jolly says the tree was a haven for family photos and an oasis for shade.

"It’s definitely going to be a different corner. It was a part of the neighborhood. It was a pretty tree," Jolly added.

Crew came out at 9 a.m. to cut down the tree, which was over 100 feet tall.

Portions of the will be put to new use. A local artists have inquired about using the wood for artwork.

County arborists will also soon figure out the exact age of the tree by counting its rings.