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Friday, December 4, 2009

Largest Tree Saved!

Largest tree is spared

By Angela Daughtry, News-Leader

A live oak tree identified by local surveyor Mike Manzie as being the largest in Nassau County will not be pruned by Florida Power & Light to allow for power lines.

Manzie recently found the tree while conducting a "largest oak tree in Nassau County" contest. He sent an e-mail to county commissioners after learning from a neighbor that the tree might be pruned to allow for power lines. The e-mail asked county officials to help save the tree from extensive pruning.

According to a memo from County Coordinator Ed Sealover to County Commissioner Mike Boyle, FPL has been doing "routine maintenance" around Marsh Hen Lane off Barnwell Road in O'Neil, where the tree is located, but the "largest tree" will not be affected.

Sealover told Boyle in the memo that he and Nassau County Growth Management Director Walter Fufidio met with representatives of FPL regarding the trimming of the massive tree, which measures more than eight feet in diameter and over 25 feet in circumference. An FPL arborist told them that only some trees that had already been trimmed a few years back were scheduled for trimming this year.

Sealover also said in an e-mail to county commissioners and County Attorney David Hallman that "there is no imminent plan to do any significant trimming" on the tree, and that FPL would consult an arborist before any future trimming.

"The commissioners and county administrator ... acted very quickly to make sure that (the trimming) did not happen," Manzie told the News-Leader.

After receiving hundreds of phone calls about huge trees, Manzie said, he found the Marsh Hen tree to be the largest in the county according to his measurements. The largest tree Manzie found on Amelia Island is located on Bluff Road in Amelia City. It measures just over 22 feet in circumference and just over seven feet in diameter.

Originally published in the Fernandina Beach Newsleader

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