Landmark madrona tree dying in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — One of the largest and oldest madrona trees in Washington is slowing dying, despite attempts to save it.

A tree service crew trimmed dead limbs this week from the tree on property owned by Virginia Serr, 86, who bought it as a memorial to her husband Ted Serr, who died in 1997.

“I want to at least give it a chance to regenerate,” Serr said.

The tree was 85 feet tall with a crown that spanned 100 feet when it was last measured in 2007. It’s believed to have been growing since before the first European settlers arrived on the Olympic Peninsula, more than 300 years ago, the Peninsula Daily News reported Friday.

Port Angeles arborist James Causton, who has been monitoring the tree since 1990, says it’s past saving.

“It’s dead already; it just doesn’t know about it yet,” Causton said.

It may take years, but the tree is dying from a root fungus, excessive water and a compacted root system, Causton said.

In 2007, a group of tree specialists from around the Pacific Northwest worked to save the tree, injecting organic microbes to attack the fungi and excavating the decayed roots. That was unsuccessful. The only way the fungus could be eradicated is to dry out the root system, Causton said.

“Everything that could have been done to help that tree has been done,” he said.

The city Public Works Department is monitoring the tree’s stability.

City officials estimate the tree has at least three to five years remaining before it becomes a danger to those who drive and walk under it.

Serr had offered the property to the city for a pocket park. The city declined, but Serr wanted to keep the tree accessible to the public and put up a sign calling it Ted’s Tree Park.

Her husband passed the tree on the way to his office each day. He was afraid the tree might be cut down to make way for construction, she said.

More in Local News

Designed for special emergencies, texting 911 widely misused

The majority of texts dispatchers receive are better handled by calling, a SNOPAC official says.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Arlington woman dies 4 days after Marysville crash

She was on the northbound onramp from Fourth Street to I-5 when her pickup hit a tree and fence.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Everett’s lawsuit against maker of OxyContin can proceed

Purdue Pharma says it’s not liable for the impacts of opioid addiction and wanted the case tossed.

Most Read