Mysterious Oak Beheadings at the Yale and 610 Burger King

A graduate of the crape myrtle school of chainsaw insta-pruning appears to have gotten a little creative with the oak trees surrounding the Burger King at Yale and the 610 North feeder sometime over the last 2 weeks. The oak trunks are still standing tall, but all its broccoli-like heads have been knocked off. Is this the work of a rogue landscaper, or a concerted action meant to send a message to any other oaks that dare raise their leaves near power lines, feeder roads, or fast-food signage? “Its the most bizarre thing, and one can only presume it will get more odd appearing once they start to sprout out,” a Swamplot reader notes. “I know there are regulations to plant parking lot trees, but I guess there are none to make sure that they remain? There must be a story behind this odd act, but I can only drive by and drop my jaw each time I see it.”

More closeups of the oak hackery, and a “before” view, courtesy of Google Street View:


And in bushier days:

Photos: Swamplot inbox

17 Comment

  • They don’t appear to be close enough to the power lines to warrant that much “pruning” if you can still call it that. My guess would be that there are plans to renovate the site and the trees will be fully removed in the near future.

  • Or somebody hired really bad landscapers.

  • I concur – that someone plans to transplant them – hopefully successfully.
    Though it is possible the gardener went Postoakstal.

  • Interesting. My guess is that the restaurant manager wanted better visibility, but I’ll bet that they blame insects, drought, etc.

  • Maybe grackels were nesting in the trees this winter and putting out too much “fertilizer” on the parking lot?

  • Methinks the Once-ler was here

  • Grackles. They did the same thing to a bunch of live oaks at the Sonic on Woodridge by Gulfgate because the grackles roosted there at night. Stupid, imo.

  • I wouldn’t pin much hope on seeing those trees ever leaf out again. :-(

  • Maybe, they weren’t allowed to cut them down, so they cut there arms & heads off.

  • @Caribou- Agreed. They were cut so far down and so haphazardly I can’t imagine they’ll survive.

  • That’s what I want. More powerlines and Burger King signs, and less icky oak trees. Great work.

  • And more real news like a burger king parking lot…. Bored much?

  • Live oak trees are overplanted in Houston. People don’t realize that they never stop growing, even though they grow slowly. Two feet per year is frustratingly slow at first, then overpowering after thirty, forty, fifty years of growth. There are much better “street trees” for parking lots and small yards.

  • That is just plain wrong! Some municipalities in California require permits before you can trim trees along the streets. Not saying that Houston should do that, but this is just wrong.

  • This is exactly what the they did to all the dead trees in Woodlawn Cemetary on I-10 when the drought killed so many. The trunks are still there. I can’t imagine why you would do it to live trees.

  • They most likely removed the trees because they were dying. City of Houston Parks & Recreation will need to come and enforce to make sure a new tree gets planted. There is a tree and shrub ordinance that requires 1 street tree for every 30 feet of street frontage. As an alternative, the requirement can be offset by paying for tree credits, but this is not always granted.

  • I know this post is now over a year and a half old, but since I drive by this Burger King on a daily basis, I have been keeping an eye on these trees. Since these photos were taken, the stumps that were left behind did, honest to goodness, return to tree-like status. They were nearly as large again as they were before the scalping. But then the Burger King remodeled, and very recently the trees, stumps and all, vanished. Why go though all that effort to let the trees come back just to dig them out again? Bizarre.