Huge Pecan Tree That Existed Before the Declaration of Independence To Be Cut Down

A huge, centuries-old pecan tree that is a well-known landmark in a small, Georgia town, is set to be cut down, local officials have announced.

The tree is estimated to be more than 300-years-old, which makes it older than the town of Braselton where it stands—and perhaps even older than the state of Georgia itself.

Founded in 1732 as the Province of Georgia, the territory was later admitted into the Union in 1788, following the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Town officials said on Tuesday that the pecan tree, which is located in an area known as Mulberry Park, must be removed. An arborist hired by the town to check the tree's health on a quarterly basis determined earlier this month that the tree had died and now poses a safety hazard.

"The tree's health has been declining over the past decade, and we are saddened to announce that it has died," said town manager Jennifer Scott. "It has become a beloved landmark for Braselton residents."

The tree, which was once designated as the largest pecan tree in Georgia, is expected to be cut down the week of February 14. Town authorities said a new tree will be planted in its place, with a ceremony scheduled to be held on April 29.

Scott told The Gainesville Times she is saddened by the loss of the tree.

"Our arborist reminds me [trees] are living organisms and we have to enjoy them while we have them, because they won't last forever," she said.

Several town residents also expressed their sadness at the loss of the tree on social media, responding to the town's announcement.

"Our family is saddened by this news. We love this tree and take walks to it almost daily. Would it be possible for my kids to keep a piece of the tree?" one Instagram user, Natasha Forney, said.

Another Instagram user, Bailey Bowen, said: "So sad to hear!! We love having this local landmark by our office. I am glad it will be replaced!"

Pecan trees are a species of hickory native to the southern U.S. and northern Mexico. Mature trees can range in height from 70-100 feet, but some can grow as tall as around 150 feet.

The seed of the tree is an edible nut that is used in numerous recipes and can be eaten on its own. The state of Georgia is the largest supplier of pecan nuts in the country, according to the University of Georgia.

A pecan tree
Stock image showing an old pecan tree. A pecan tree in the town of Braselton, Georgia, that is estimated to be more than 300 years old is set to be cut down. iStock