100-year-old tree falls at Visalia park

FRESNO, Calif.

No one was hurt when it came down in Mooney Grove Park.

Split down the middle. A 140-foot tall Valley Oak Tree sliced this 60-year old Arbor in half when it came crashing down this week at Mooney Grove Park.

Thankfully, Mooney Grove Park was closed on Wednesday.

Tulare County Parks Director Neil Pilegard says the culprit was root rot.

"The ground wasn't saturated. We had a very wet winter and those moist conditions do favor armolaria the root rot that attacks the roots."

Park officials say the impact of the Oak Tree falling was so great that it cracked this stone pillar all the way to the ground.

The 100-year old tree destroyed every part of the Arbor, except for one thing, "cracked the slab, smashed the benches, smashed the roof. About the only thing left is the historical society's sign because they're our Arbor sponsor."

Visalians treasure their Valley Oak Trees. In fact, residents need a permit to trim or cut one down.

Pilegard says because these trees become weak with age, it's important to have them checked regularly.

"With any large tree it's a really good idea to have a certified arborist come out and inspect your tree."

The park has an aggressive preventative measure program to ensure the largest of mooney grove's 2,000 Oak Trees are checked for rotting.

In fact the Oak Tree right next to the one that fell will also be cut down next week because it's showing signs of rot and leaning over a nearby Arbor.

The fallen Oak Tree has gained a lot of attention since it fell. Many visitors, like Jory Jarmillo stopped to take a photo. "It brings character to the city and it's obviously beautiful but it gets to a point where it's unsafe so unless you know something about the tree itself it's something you have to take a chance on whether it's going to be unstable or not."

It'll take 16 hours for a crew of five men to clean up the tree next week.

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