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Marking the death of Sweden's 'TV oak'

Joel Linde · 25 Nov 2011, 16:16

Published: 25 Nov 2011 16:16 GMT+01:00

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But despite around the clock watch, the “TV-eken” oak tree, eventually had to go, to protesters’ wild despair.

The “TV oak”, also known as the "Radio oak" was among the oldest oak trees in Sweden’s lush capital, and also among the top 100 in girth, measuring 5.8 metres around the trunk, according to the tree's extensive Wikipedia entry.

An illustration from the 1850s shows the already massive tree before its surroundings were urbanized.

In the 1960s, the oak was preserved thanks to a comprehensive project to widen the nearby Oxenstiernas street, and it was placed in a central divider between the two lanes.

The ground was also raised, and the tree trunk was embedded into a gravel filled “well” as support.

The debate about the old tree’s fate flared up again on October 24th, 2011, when a first attempt to fell it was made.

The Traffic Administration Office (Trafikkontoret) in Stockholm had deemed the oak a traffic hazard due to its proximity to the street.

But plans were cut short, as tree huggers had gathered the night before and made the operation impossible.

Since then, the tree has received 24/7 protection from a large number of enthusiastic friends of nature who camped out, both on the ground and in the tree’s wide spread crown for a month.

On November 23rd, a mysterious man dropped all his clothes and climbed the tree in the nude, only to then mysteriously disappear.

All of this attention, naked and clad, bought the protesters enough time to allow for several additional reviews of whether or not the tree had to go.

Neutral arborists from around the country travelled to the capital to perform ultrasound examinations of the debated tree to determine whether it could stand on its own or not.

Some found it could, but the Traffic Administration Office stood by its initial decision.

The efforts and determination of the dedicated few wasn’t enough, however, and during the cold and early morning of November 25th, police seized the area to escort about 40 outraged protesters outside the perimeter.

Story continues below…

Then the saws were taken out. After about an hour, the operation was completed.

Where the massive oak, which might well have witnessed the founding of Sweden once stood, only a large stump surrounded by gravel remains.

The oak was estimated to be between 500 and 1,000 years old.

Joel Linde (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:53 November 25, 2011 by BritVik
Swedish authorities will spend a fortune preserving an ancient grave, even to the extent of re-routing a planned motorway, but preserve a 1000 year-old growing tree , nja let it go. The same goes for old parts of towns - where there is character - tear it down and replace it with a concrete monstrosity. It makes you wonder where their priorities are. Perhaps tied up in some of EU's 'elfn safety rulings.
21:30 November 25, 2011 by dizzymoe33
This such a shame it doesn't say if the tree was diseased or not? But still a tragedy it shouldn't have happened. I guess money talks even in Sweden!!!
22:29 November 25, 2011 by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney
"Then the saws were taken out. After about an hour, the operation was completed"

Some people will prostitute themselves in many way for money. A significant tree estimated to be 500 -1,000 years old, destroyed for nothing. Could it be someone else will ultimately profit by this vandalism?
22:31 November 25, 2011 by mafketis
"The Traffic Administration Office (Trafikkontoret) in Stockholm had deemed the oak a traffic hazard due to its proximity to the street."

This is just disgusting. A bunch of faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats make a stupid decision that assumes that their countrymen are a bunch of childish idiots who need their benevolent guidance and a beautiful living thing that's survived hundreds of years has to die.

A country with no respect for its past has no future.
22:48 November 25, 2011 by Svensksmith
Was the tree diseased? Was there a reason other than some bureaucrat decided he didn't like it? Really seems a shame.
23:09 November 25, 2011 by swedejane
Was it 500 or 1000 years old? That's a huge margin for the science of tree dating, which is a bit more refined than that. Either way though, it shouldn't have been cut down if it was still healthy.
23:19 November 25, 2011 by Bushyblondehead
This was so dumb-it's like someone asked them how old was the tree and they said it will take me about an hour to find out.
23:41 November 25, 2011 by biddi
This is absolutely heart-breaking. They also want to rid Sweden of the last remaining wolves. What's happened to the beautiful Sweden we once knew?
12:19 November 26, 2011 by swedekk
"Was it 500 or 1000 years old?"

I guess it's impossible to see since it was so rotten that a couple of 100-years of year marks didn't exist any more.

This was just an action from the same type of people that think Slussen in Stockholm is the most beautiful place in the world with the tunnels that people are afraid of walking in the dark, smell of urine and don't forget that it is sinking and that the concrete is in an extremely bad condition.
16:00 November 26, 2011 by charubun pananon
Swedish has destroyed one of your great natural heritage. It's very sad.
18:28 November 26, 2011 by Swinglish 1
Do any of you passionate people know anything about veteran trees? what about trees in the urban environment?.. I looked at this tree about a week ago and was amazed at the amount of bracing in the tree (ropes tying branches together to help aid the tree in case it chooses to shed a limb) if a tree needs that much support it is just dangerous! not to mention the raised soil/ground levels that are detrimental to the tree! In a rural open park area I would have been up it myself campaigning naked to save the old beast! But unfortunately this was not the case! This tree had 50% holding timber safe enough for a while but In today's shitty society some one is accountable, so what if this tree failed/dropped a large branch? or small one for that matter? hit a car/person? who would be held responsible/foot the bill?....na to keep the tree you would have had to permanently close the road, section off a safe zone and continually check/monitor the tree who wants to foot that bill??? better to remove the old dog and re-plant 10 new trees on the road! its the way of nature out with the old in with the new! the so called tree huggers should spend there time trying to get more trees planted! young new trees clean more air than the old huge ones anyway!
20:17 November 26, 2011 by skumdum
This tree has been on the knews for more than a week and in every report they say that THE TREE IS ROTTEN why doesn't the local report this important fact?
20:56 November 26, 2011 by Svensksmith
If the tree was indeed dangerous, then by all means, take it down. And, as Swinglish mentioned, replant some new trees.

I just hope something special is done with the lumber from the old gal.
21:53 November 26, 2011 by treesaregood
the oak tree would have stood for another 100 years or more, easily if the appropriate measures were taken, after scientific reports made by a number of very qualified arborists, the results were discarded as they were never asked for by the stockholm authourites... the facts behind this, is that the road should never have been built. end of.
17:42 December 3, 2011 by skumdum
In fact Stockholm should never had been built in the first place. Think of all the poor trees they had to murder in the process. Damn Swedes, no respect for the living.
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