Prep begins to remove old elm tree ‘Herbie’

Posted Jan. 14, 2010, at 9:46 p.m.
An arborist in a cherry picker cuts limbs off a massive elm tree, nicknamed Herbie, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010, in Yarmouth, Maine. The tree, which is estimated to be about 240 years old, has succumbed to the ravages of Dutch elm disease. A large crowd is expected on Monday when the tree will be cut down. AP PHOTO BY ROBERT BUKATY
AP PHOTO BY ROBERT BUKATY
An arborist in a cherry picker cuts limbs off a massive elm tree, nicknamed Herbie, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010, in Yarmouth, Maine. The tree, which is estimated to be about 240 years old, has succumbed to the ravages of Dutch elm disease. A large crowd is expected on Monday when the tree will be cut down. AP PHOTO BY ROBERT BUKATY

YARMOUTH, Maine — A team has begun prep work for the removal of New England’s champion elm tree.

Arborists from Whitney Tree are selectively cutting away large limbs to make it easier for the full crew to do the work of bringing down the 110-foot tree nicknamed Herbie on Monday.

The tree, cared for over the past half-century by Frank Knight, who’s now 101, has succumbed to Dutch elm disease after surviving 14 previous bouts with the fungus dating to the late 1950s.

The massive tree is estimated to be 240 years old. Its exact age will be known after officials count the number of growth rings in its trunk Monday.

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