Historic magnolia tree removed from Covington Square

Limb by limb, Arbor Equity’s Justin Robinette dissected one of two iconic magnolia trees on the Covington Square late July.

Arbor Equity began the job at 6 a.m. By 8:30 a.m. Robinette, using a safety harness of ropes and pulleys, had reduced the massive tree to a crooked spire. An hour later, the tree that provided shade on the southwest corner of the Square for countless concerts, rallies, marches, picnics and more had been reduced to a large stump.

Credit: Alice Queen

Credit: Alice Queen

The tree was one of a pair planted at the same time more than 100 years ago. Ken Malcom, community development director for the city of Covington, said the tree stump would be left in place for a while to give residents a chance to come by and see if they can determine its age by counting the annual rings.

Malcom said the city and county decided that the tree would have to be removed based on the advice of three certified arborists. Arborists are also evaluating the integrity of the remainder of the trees on the Square. City and county officials will work together to determine the new landscape of the area.

ExploreLearn about Middle Georgia’s historic preservation

The city of Covington has been maintaining the landscaping in the Square park since 2013 when the city and county entered a memorandum of understanding. Though it sits in the center of downtown Covington, Newton County actually owns the park. The agreement dictates that the city will provide maintenance for the park but that permanent changes must be approved by the county.

The city contracted with Arbor Equity in 2014 to provide care to the trees in the Square park. At that time, the company determined that work needed to be done to alleviate compaction of the soil underneath the trees and to remove mistletoe but that none of the trees needed to be removed.


Credit: The Citizens

Credit: The Citizens

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