The break can be seen in the center, where a hole in the trunk allowed a family of raccoons to take up residence last year.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — King Elmer lost part of his crown this week.
Once the tallest elm in Massachusetts, the more than 250-year-old tree is now missing at least 10 foot section from his topmost branches from a combination of a weak trunk and winds from Tropical Storm Isaias that blew through the region Tuesday.
"It is 107 feet and I think that was part of the highest section," said James Neureuther, chairman of the Lanesborough Tree and Forest Committee. "It's probably a little shorter than it was now. It'd be hard to know but we may have lost 10 feet."
That, he noted, was like losing a whole tree.
A central branch with a 2-foot diameter had cracked and was hung up on the other branches at least 75 feet in the air, Neureuther said, pointing to a another limb above Summer Street, "now, they're taking this down because that was also a bit of a weak spot for a number of years."
The top break occurred at a hollowed area where raccoons had been found nesting a year ago.
The surgery was being done by Race Mountain Tree Services of Sheffield, which had inoculated the tree just a couple months ago for Dutch elm disease. Owner and arborist Ron Yaple had assessed the situation for removal on Thursday.
The pieces were dropped to Summer Street, which was closed off Friday morning during the work. Some were being chipped up others but a pile of smaller branches were being saved for children at Lanesborough Elementary School.
"When we have Arbor Day with the third-grade class I always try to give them a piece of wood so they can count tree rings," Neureuther said. "So now I'll be able to saw those all up and give them a little slice of King Elmer."
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