© 2023 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Trees Down in Leon County

By James Call


Tallahassee, Fl – Faye downed hundreds of trees as it passed through Tallahassee Friday and Saturday. Leon County workers responded to 223 fallen tree calls and the City reported 73 calls. Those numbers do not include downed trees away from roads and power lines. James Call spent Saturday morning watching workers remove an 80-foot red oak tree that crashed into a Killearn Estates home.

One of the 73 fallen trees reported to the city of Tallahassee Friday night was a 18-thousand pound red oak that smashed into a brick ranch-style home on Shamrock South, across from the Killearn United Methodist Church campus. Saturday morning, Kevin Stanfield watched as a crew used a crane to lift the oak's trunk more than six feet in diameter from his uncle's bedroom.
Oaks are the king of the forest in the southern United States. They can grow up to 136-feet tall with trucks that are 22-feet in circumference. The limbs can branch out to 98 feet. It takes a red oak about 90 years to reach those heights. Stanfield's oak isn't that old, given its size it probably took root about 50 years ago when Dwight Eisenhower was president and the Stanfield's front yard was wilderness. Mario Mendunenee and a crew of four would spend most of Saturday morning separating the oak from a bedroom.

The live oaks that dot Tallahassee streets and front yards helped launched the American shipping industry in the 19th century. The wood was used to make freighters. It is sturdy enough to withstand a battering by the high seas. But when a giant oak's limb and canopy become water logged, say from two days of rain from a tropical storm, it can tip over. Become uprooted and demolish a house. Lynn Stanfield is amazed at the damage done by what was once a picturesque oak. The Stanfields were in the front yard when Mendunenee's crew lifted the tree trunk out of the bedroom given them a clearer look at the damage.

A Florida Association of Insurance Agents spokesman recommends that one makes no permanent repairs to property until talking to an agent. The agent should have all the paperwork one needs to file a claim.