Massive oak tree removed from Longview cemetery

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Published: May. 16, 2022 at 12:30 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Dead and dying trees can fall seemingly without warning. That’s why the city of Longview decided it was best to take down a large oak tree at the Greenwood historical cemetery. And it’s a challenge to take down a large tree without damaging anything under it.

David Overman knows trees. His dad started Overman’s Tree Service about forty years ago. When he sees a dying tree, he knows that:

“It wasn’t going to come back with the one limb green,” Overman said.

He got the winning bid with the city for the work and takes his time.

“I have to let all these limbs down slowly because there’s headstones underneath all of them. These headstones are pretty old. Some of them are from the 1800s,” Overman said.

His men are cutting seven-foot sections of the tree.

“We’re hooking this sky lift up to each limb and cutting them with a strap and letting it ease down. We have to ease these limbs down one by one,” Overman said.

He’s been contracting with the City of Longview for some time, and recently took dead trees down in:

“Hinsley Park and did one at Cargill Trail,” Overman said.

He thinks some trees just can’t weather the storm.

“I think the freeze had a lot to do with a lot of these trees having a hard time,” Overman said.

He says if a tree isn’t producing leaves, it should be removed.

“When they’re dead like this they get pretty dangerous because these limbs are hard to trust at this point. You never know when they’re going to fall,” Overman said.

The piled sections of tree caught the attention of Robert Walton who saw a good use for the limbs.

“As you’re cutting it up, I’m thinking it smells like barbeque,” I said to Robert.

“That’s the exact idea I have for the wood,” Robert said.

He lives across the street and just had to ask if he could have some. David said he could have all he wanted. He took some extra so he could give it away to people who could use some red oak for their smokers.

“Just try to help somebody out. You know, be there for your fellow human being. It’s what I’ve been taught and that’s the reason I live by: try to pay it forward and try to help somebody out the best way I can,” Robert said.

So, David’s crew continued cutting away at the tree to help make the cemetery safe, and Robert took some he hopes will bring a smile to someone’s face.

Overman says the tree will take several days to remove, and Robert may pick up a little more of it. The city wants Overman to take a look at another tree in the cemetery they may need to be taken down.

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