Ancient burr oak coming down to make room for 2,400 new trees

By Jodi Myers -

GALION — An ancient burr oak tree on Ronstalk Road will be coming down this fall to make room for the planting of 2,400 new trees.

The tree is on two properties on this country road with Lee Pfeifer being one of those owners. Pfeifer said he and his neighbor talked awhile a go and decided the tree needed to go, as it is well over 100 years old and is now a hazard.

“It’s been hit by lightening several times, it’s splitting down the middle and the last few years there have been carpenter ants in it. We think it will be hollow inside when we start taking it down,” Pfeifer said. “The tree is 16 feet in circumference and if it came down on its own, it would do a lot of damage and take down a lot of other trees.”

This giant tree may be coming down, but Pfeifer explained this will make room for him to plant 2,400 trees on his 5.4 acres. The new trees are mostly being paid for by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“I don’t know how I got wind of the program, but I went to the county back in 2017 and they told me about an application with the U.S. government to get the trees,” he said. “I was the only one in the county to apply for that program that year and they pay a percentage of the trees, with the stipulation you keep them at least 15 years.”

He explained he will be planting four different species of trees including red oak, white oak and sycamore.

Pfeifer noted the trees are considered “veneer trees” that companies may use to make a variety of furniture items.

“When the trees are around 40 to 45 years old, you start taking out about 3 percent of the trees each year and replace those,” he said.

Pfeifer said that he and his neighbor, along with Pfeifer’s brother will be taking down the tree sometime this fall with the help of a cherry picker owned by his brother.

“Then we’ll start planting the trees as close to April 1, 2020,” he said, noting they are renting a tree planter to help with the task.

By Jodi Myers