Harrison County

700-year-old Live oak tree falls on D'Iberville home

A Great Oak caused this damage when it fell on a home on Moran Street in D'Iberville.
A Great Oak caused this damage when it fell on a home on Moran Street in D'Iberville.

The massive Live oak stood for 700 years, providing ample shade and a picturesque setting for a home on Moran Street.

But this weekend, the heavy branches couldn't take the weight any more.

The tree at the home on Moran Street split at the "V" and fell on her house on Friday. Fortunately, no one was injured.

That's about four tons, or 8,000 pounds of hearty wood from the seven-centuries-old tree, friend Justin McKinley said Monday.

"The age has been verified by local arborists," McKinley said in an email to the Sun Herald.

What it will cost to repair her home is being determined.

"We could use a few heavy duty tarps," McKinley said. "Word is we have rain headed this way."

Live oaks, which can drink up hundreds of gallons of water a day, are susceptible to losing branches during rainy spells, University of South Mississippi landscape superintendent Loren Erickson told the Sun Herald in August.

The Live oak sprouts branches that hang toward the ground and spread across the ground, creating a shady canopy.

A large chunk of the 500-year-old Friendship Oak at USM in Long Beach fell from the base of the tree in August 2017. The remainder of that tree “is healthy and safe,” Erickson said. The branch in question, which has multiple limbs, was never joined to the trunk, he said.Erickson said the branch further separated from the tree because of a rainy spell.

Many Live oaks, iconic trees in South Mississippi, were killed or heavily damaged after Katrina. A tree at Kid Academy on Pass Road in Gulfport is among those damaged by Katrina, Arborist Eric Nolan told the Sun Herald in August 2014.

The tree's ability to flourish was then destroyed in May 2006 when someone made the ground a parking lot, paving over the tree's root system, Nolan said. The pavement cut off the oak's water and air supply, he said.

It's unclear what happened to the tree at Taylor's home. She couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

McKinley said the devastation of her Live oak should be a reminder to "know the health of your trees. Beware of these dangers."

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews