South Charlotte

Matthews to cut down dying oaks

Three large century-old trees will come down in Matthews next week, but not to make room for new development.

The willow oaks are dying, and the town says they must come down before they fall.

The 70- to 80-foot tall trees are four to five feet in diameter. They are three of seven big willow oaks that line Matthews Mint Hill Road near the Harris Teeter corporate offices.

Matthews landscape manager Pat Meehan says there are a number of reasons they have to come down.

“They are probably 100 to 120 years old, near the end of their life. They suffered through the drought. They're located in a precarious place right next to the road with air pollution, and little room for their roots to grow. And we think some nearby construction may have damaged their roots last year,” said Meehan.

He says the remaining four trees along that stretch will probably also have to be taken down within the next few years, but for now they will be left standing.

“We hate to lose any of our trees, but in this incidence we have to remove the trees before they fall on vehicles, buildings, or people in the area. The trees have simply become a hazard,” said Meehan.

The town will replace the willow oaks with new trees this winter.