Lakeland tree survives Irma, but city still plans to remove it

Supporters of keeping the landmark Lakeland tree say the storm proves the tree should stay.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A popular tree in Lakeland that’s scheduled to be removed is still standing after Hurricane Irma.

City officials determined “Lover’s Oak” is decaying and is a risk to people’s safety after a big branch fell on a car a few months ago. 

"That's not a good sign," Parks and Recreation Director Bob Donahay said. "That tells you something's going on."

The tree got its name because two separate oak trees intertwined and became one. The tree, or trees, survived Irma, while several trees around it didn’t. People are pointing out the irony, and someone even put up a sign that says, “I survived Irma only to be doomed by city hall.”

"I thought the sign was pretty funny to be honest with you," Donahay said. "I got a kick out of it."

However, the fact the tree stayed up during the storm doesn’t change anything. Several arborists determined it needs to go, and the city still plans to remove it.

They haven’t scheduled a date yet, because they’re busy cleaning up all the other debris from the storm.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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