- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

DALLAS (AP) - The largest black willow tree in the state of Texas has been accidentally cut down in White Rock Lake area of Dallas.

Dallas Park and Recreation Department official Oscar Carmona said the 170-year-old black willow was mistakenly cut down by a Missouri-based contract crew grinding tree stumps. He told The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/1Kcdoap ) that “they made that decision without consulting us or getting any authorization whatsoever.”

The black willow was designated the species’ champion by the Texas Registry four years ago after Suzanne Sudduth, 54, nominated it for the state’s Big Tree Registry. She received a certificate that recognized the willow’s listing.

The tree had been 47 feet high with a girth of 265 inches. Sudduth said storms and decay had reduced the willow to an 8-foot-tall trunk, but it remained alive and was putting on new growth.

She and others assumed the city workers had taken down the tree because Park and Recreation Department staff said the tree might need to come down if its condition became a threat to public safety.

However, Carmona said the department had made a commitment to preserve the tree “because it sill served a purpose as a wildlife habitat and still had the designation as state champion.”

Another black willow that stands in a Fort Worth park has replaced the felled tree as state champion, according to the Texas A & M Forest Service. It is almost as large as its predecessor.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

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