Dying historical tree in Lakewood will be cut down, but its legacy will live on

Posted at 8:42 AM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 08:42:36-04

A century ago, 100 trees in and around Cleveland were given a special label to honor the city’s founder, Moses Cleveland and now one of those is in Lakewood, soon to be cut down.

But for this tree, death is only the beginning.

“The tree was coming down, I wanted to get a few pictures before it does,” said Sean Murphy, a Lakewood resident who has been snapping photos of the tree and picking up sticks off the ground this week. He said he wants a way to hold on to the memory.

“Have a piece of Lakewood history,” said Murphy.

It's history that won’t fade away, thanks to these arborists John Palmer and Charles Tubesing, with Holden Forests and Gardens in Geauga County.

“So you basically take a small sampling, cut it off and then graft it in,” said Palmer.

Grafting is the process they’re using to preserve the tree.

“The whole goal is to essentially vegetatively propagate or clone that tree to produce a tree that essentially the same thing,” Tubesing said.

There’s a decent amount of science involved. It starts with tying a branch of the old dying tree with a healthy one by matching their DNA'S, then the tissue from those branches takes time to grow together in order to blossom into new life.

“Then we can memorialize it all over Lakewood,” Palmer said.

The tree is set to come down Thursday this week, weather permitting. As for the grafting process, it’ll take 4 to 5 years until the new trees are ready to be planted.