TOMS RIVER – After standing strong for nearly a century, Toms River’s European Beech tree is no more. The township landmark came down today, due to aging and carpenter ant infestation, the township stated.
The famous European Beech has stood 47-feet tall in the courtyard at Toms River Town Hall for decades, representing various parts of the town’s history.
“The tree has been a remarkable gift to us. We’ve been blessed to have it here in our courtyard for nearly 100 years. Couples have carved their names in the tree and visitors and residents alike have undoubtedly spent time beneath its branches for shade. Employees enjoyed eating below it during lunchtime. I am sad to see it go. However, in the interest of public safety, unfortunately the tree must be removed,” said Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher.
According to a report by a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert from Aspen Tree Expert Co., Inc. heavy foot traffic and lawn mower usage near the roots of the tree has caused significant soil compaction, which Beech trees are extremely sensitive to. An increase in carpenter ant activity near the base and growing signs of bleeding cankers, most likely the result of root rot, also contributed to the deterioration of the tree.
According to the company, the tree, in its current condition, poses a greater than average degree of risk of failure of limbs.
While the tree that has graced the township courtyard for so many years will be gone, its legacy will live on in the form of a new tree or trees.
“We are in the process of discussing ideas for replacing the tree and what we would like to see in the courtyard for the future,” said Kelaher.