Tennessee neighbors unite to save decades-old tree

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) — The circle of life was supposed to end for one particular oak tree. “I was kind of… kinda upset,” Rodney Bates said.

At least that’s how Bates felt when he drove by last week and saw a crew cutting the branches off the tree. “He said we were ordered to cut down the tree,” Bates said.

Bates has lived off Whittemore Lane since 1982 but said that tree has been outside his home for over 150 years.

| LEARN MORE | Latest Nashville and Davidson County Titles

“I don’t see any reason for that,” he said. “I know progress is progress, but for what I’ve been told the reason why it’s going down I think is ridiculous.”

Bates said he was told the tree was dangerous for drivers and caused visibility issues.

“It turned out to be multiple complaints, but it was related to limbs falling from the tree,” John Rutherford said.

Rutherford is the Bates District Councilor and said he was unaware of the issue until residents contacted him.

He promptly contacted the Nashville Department of Transportation on Monday. “They basically made the decision not to cut down the tree, but rather to prune it, trim it and remove some of the branches that pose a particular hazard to the roadway,” Rutherford said.

After Rutherford and a number of residents reached out, N-DOT sent an arborist who thought the tree was still healthy enough to stay. “If people hadn’t reached out, to begin with, it would have disappeared,” he said.

Although this tree will live to see another day, Bates wishes he and others knew about it before it came to this. “Let people in the neighborhood know what’s going on and they wouldn’t be so shocked.”

⏩ Read today’s top stories at wkrn.com

Rutherford hopes the Metro Departments and N-DOT will work to try to contact district council members if situations like this arise in the future.

News 2 contacted N-DOT who said their crews had just trimmed the tree and sent an arborist to view the tree. They said they had no intention of cutting down the tree.