Photo via Town of Carrboro

The Post Oak (Quercus stellate) tree that has resided in front of Weaver Street Market in Carrboro for decades — familiarly known as the “Southern Centurion” — has served as shaded canopy to sit under, a meeting place, a starting line and more through its long history as part of the town. But it’s life as a living fixture of Carrboro is coming to an end.

Unfortunately, the stately 50-foot-tall tree is scheduled for removal in early May. The Town of Carrboro ordered a follow-up assessment on the health of the historic tree. As a result of significant decay, cavities within the trunk and other factors, Bartlett Tree Experts rated the risk for the Southern Centurion Post Oak as “high,” and recommended “the tree be removed, the stump be ground below grade, and the resulting hole be backfilled.”

Comprehensive analysis of the tree’s root system, trunk and canopy determined that the oak was at significant risk in 2012. The recommended option then was also to remove the tree, but the Town of Carrboro elected instead to prune the tree and monitor the situation. Another investigation was performed in 2016 that returned the same result and subsequent decision. But the 2019 report has shown that the Southern Centurion Post Oak that has so long been a fixture in Carrboro cannot remain.

Similar to the removal of Hillsborough’s 200 year-old “town treasure” tree in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the wood from the historic tree will not be wasted. In a public statement, Carrboro’s Environmental Advisory Board and Appearance Commission stated that they are “preparing recommendations for ways to recognize the post oak’s meaning the community, to make use of its wood in a variety of creative and respectful ways, and to replace the tree with a new one to be planted on the property.”