Staff Photo: Erin Evans. These trees in Porterdale will need to be removed due to disease and the danger posed to passersby.
PORTERDALE -- About a dozen oak trees along the Ga. Highway 81 right of way in Porterdale will have to come down due to disease, Public Works Director Robert Witcher told the City Council last week.
Witcher told City Council members at a work session last week that about six of the oak trees are on city property along Ga. Highway 81 in the Rose Hill area of town near the town's northern boundary. The remainder are on the south side of town, across the Yellow River. Those trees have been examined by a state arborist and though they look "perfectly fine, they are diseased and have mistletoe," he said.
Four years of drought placed enough strain on the trees that they became diseased and are in danger of falling on residences, Witcher said. "Now that they are on record as being hazardous trees, we need to address this to get them down because once we know that they are a liability, it's not an act of God if that tree comes down," Witcher said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Witcher said he has enlisted the help of the state Department of Transportation for the tree removal project. The city will be responsible for bringing the trees down, while the DOT will control traffic and remove the trees. Councilman Robert Foxworth, who owns and operates a tree service, offered his assistance at last week's work session.
Witcher said the work could begin within the next couple of weeks.
He cautioned City Council members that the tree removal will be a noticeable change.
"It's going to change the appearance (of Porterdale) when you come into town," he said.
He added that he is working with Beryl Budd, a community forester with the Georgia Forestry Commission, to find replacements for the diseased trees.