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Historic magnolia to be removed from Covington square
Large limb that fell off 120-year-old tree prompts safety concerns in popular park
Covington Square tree
Visitors to the park in the middle of the Covington Square Thursday walk by a magnolia after a large limb from the 120-year-old tree fell to the ground Tuesday night and led officials to remove the remaining tree Friday as a safety measure, they said. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — A magnolia tree that witnessed everything from weddings and statue raisings to filmings of iconic TV shows over more than a century was to see its final morning today, July 29.

A local tree service was to begin removing the 120-year-old tree from the southwest corner of the park in the middle of the Covington Square this morning after a large limb fell off the tree under its own weight Tuesday, July 26, onto an area near the 116-year-old Civil War monument.

No one was injured but it compromised the integrity of the historic tree and prompted arborists to recommend it be removed for the safety of park users, said Covington city government spokesperson Ken Malcom.

"After extensive evaluations by three separate International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborists, it has been determined that our beloved and iconic magnolia tree on the southwest side of the Square must be removed," Malcom said. 

Covington Mayor Steve Horton said in a statement that the "large trees within our community, including in the Town Square, are truly woven into the fabric and history of Covington and Newton County."

"The magnolia located on the southwest corner of the Town Square has stood its place of prominence for as long as I can remember," he said. "If it could speak, what stories would it tell?

"I am saddened to see it removed, but I understand that its current condition poses serious safety concerns that render the tree's removal a necessity," he said.

Crews from Arbor Equity tree service began the process of removing the remaining part of the tree from the area of the park closest to Bread and Butter Bakery on Monticello Street Friday morning. 

"Arborists are also evaluating the integrity of the remainder of the trees on the Square," Malcom said. "City and county officials will work together to determine the new landscape of this area."

Facebook comments about the removal included suggestions for replacing it with another magnolia and using the wood to create park benches, among others.