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One of the country's largest sugar maples removed for safety

The tree in Kensington, N.H., believed to be planted in the late 1700s, had recently been battered by wind storms
Credit: AP
Micum Davis is suspended in the air while working to cut down a sugar maple tree, in Kensington, N.H., Monday, April 5, 2021. The 100-foot-tall tree, believed planted in the late 1700s, was cut down for safety reasons. (AP Photo/Michael Casey)

KENSINGTON, N.H. — A sugar maple tree in New Hampshire that is considered one of the largest in the country has been cut down for safety reasons.

The tree had recently been battered by wind storms. There were concerns that its branches could come crashing down on an adjacent 18th-century farmhouse in Kensington. 

The tree was indeed a wonder, standing over 100 feet tall with a crown that also spread more than 100 feet and a diameter of around seven feet. The tree was believed to be planted in the late 1700s.

Arborist Micum Davis estimated the tree was at least 240 years old, according to the Associated Press

According to the AP, the tree had been recognized by the New Hampshire Big Tree Program and appears in the National Register of Champion Trees. The AP reports the tree is considered the second largest in the U.S., after one in Virginia, according to the manager of American Forests' National Champion Trees program, Rose Tileson. 

Credit: AP
Micum Davis stands on a boom lift while working to cut down a sugar maple tree, in Kensington, N.H., Monday, April 5, 2021. The 100-foot-tall tree, believed planted in the late 1700s, was cut down for safety reasons. (AP Photo/Michael Casey)

Janet Buxton's family has lived on the property since 1954. She was sad to see it go but said she felt it was necessary.

"It's been the guardian of us. I don't know what to say. We grew up with it. It's been special to the whole family," Buxton told the AP. "We're all sad to see it go but we have thoroughly enjoyed it for the 67 years we have been here."

The AP reports that a bout of recent storms with strong winds proved too much for the tree, causing cracks in the trunk. It became clear the tree had become a safety hazard. There was also widespread rot in the tree. 

“She’s just at the end of her life,” Buxton said. “She is finally being euthanized. It’s unsafe and it’s not fair to her to let her stand out there and not be as beautiful as she always has been.”

“I’m sad to see her go,” she added. “It’s very emotional.”