Grassroots Effort By Heights Residents Not Enough To Save 100 Year Old Tree

In a Houston Heights neighborhood, residents are upset that a giant sycamore tree was cut down. The owner of the property says he tried to save the 100 year old tree, but was told by experts that it was unstable.


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That’s the sound of a shredder turning branches from from a giant American Sycamore into mulch.

The century old tree — at the corner of 23rd and Oxford in the Heights — was chopped down by developers as residents watched.

Preston Muski has lived across the street for over 30 years.

“I’m very upset. I think instead of getting rid of the tree to make it easier for them to construct the building, they could have worked around it and been good neighbors with every one of us. All the neighborhood would with him, instead of against him. But they’ve taken the most convenient route, saying that the tree is damaged. I heard different things. They don’t even need a permit to cut it down by the way.”

the Sycamore Tree
Unhappy resident Preston Muski


According to the 2011 Harris  County Tree Registry, the Sycamore was 106 feet tall, and given historic designation.

Sarah Mason lives diagonally from the property. She says she can’t imagine the giant hole in the sky that’s going to be left.

“None of us will live long enough to see a tree grow to be that old again. It made it through the drought. It’s very upsetting to see this happening.”

Jessica Wilt stayed far away from the shredder and flying mulch. She cringed as the giant branches came down.

“We tried everything that we can do as community activists, as members of the community to try to save this tree, because it is the largest sycamore tree possibly in Harris County. It is listed on the Harris County Tree Registry, but apparently that doesn’t have any legal teeth. So, if we can’t stop it and we have to watch its demise, I think at least it should be documented, so that we can make a fundamental change in the city.”

A petition was created in an effort to stop property owner Edward Goerig from cutting down the tree.

He said he was hoping to build around it.

“Initially we were just going to trim it. And then as we looked at it closer, if you look at the knots on the tree, there are many dead spots where the tree is starting to hollow out to the inside. And the very top of the tree — it looks like the canopy was lost. So it made the tree very unstable and not able to sustain itself up high. And this is what I was told by two tree experts, and I didn’t want to be responsible for that thing falling on a house or person or a car.”

He says he had every legal right to cut it down.

It won’t be gone forever through. The giant trunk will be used by a carpenter to make furniture.

tree mulcher

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