I am writing concerning the Lovers’ Oak that has recently been deemed a dangerous tree and slated for removal. I have been the president at Bok Tower Gardens for the last 10 years, and prior to that was director of horticulture for 20 years. My knowledge of trees, tree health and arboriculture is based on my experience and study of plant pathology.
In the city of Lakeland there are many oak trees. In the recent Hurricane Irma, the overwhelming oak to break apart or uproot was the laurel oak. The laurel oak is prone to rot and the wood splits easily. Laurel oaks tends to live about 80 years then decline and fall apart. If branches are cut on a laurel oak, the stub rots and eventually that rot finds its way into the heart of the tree weakening the trunk and into the roots.