- Associated Press - Sunday, October 15, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Officials are preserving wood from trees estimated at 140 years old when they were knocked down by a fierce storm in Lincoln.

Union College immediately took steps to preserve the wood from the honey locust trees after the August storm. Arborists estimate the trees were some of the oldest ones in the area, having been planted as early as the 1870s.

These were right in the middle of the block at the very center of campus,” said Paul Jenks, the college’s director of plant services. “The storm just knocked them down.”

The honey locust is native to North America and is often described as hardy, capable of living upward of 150 years in urban landscapes, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .

Union College is working with the Nebraska Forest Service to set up an urban lumber mill at nearby College View Academy.

Adam Smith, a forest products program leader for the Forest Service, used the mill Oct. 11 to cut the downed honey locusts into planks 2 to 4 inches thick, revealing the twisting growth patterns and knots within the wood.

“(Honey locust) is a very hard wood and grows pretty irregularly,” Smith said. “It’s a little misshaped, it twists and cracks; but for a decorate piece it works great.”

The planks will be sold to Union College alumni and donors as commemorative pieces. Larger pieces may go to specialized sawmills to become fireplace mantles or furniture, Jenks said.

“There is a lot of value in these trees, not only from a historical standpoint, but as something beautiful we often take for granted,” said Eric Berg, a program leader for the Forest Service.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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