Landmark madrona tree is dying

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photoKeith Thorpe/The Peninsula Daily News Justin Walz, left, and Jeff Grall of Blue Mountain Tree Service Inc. cut dead branches from a giant Pacific madrona tree Wednesday in Port Angeles, Wash. The tree, one of the largest and oldest madrona trees in Washington, is slowing dying despite attempts to save it.

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PORT ANGELES (AP) — One of the largest and oldest madrona trees in Washington is slowing dying in Port Angeles, despite attempts to save it.

A tree crew cut dead limbs this week from the tree on property owned by 86-year-old Virginia Serr who bought it as a memorial to her husband, who died in 1997.

The Peninsula Daily News reports the tree was 85 feet tall with a crown that spread 85 feet wide. It's believed to have been growing since before the first European settlers arrived on the Olympic Peninsula.

Port Angeles arborist James Causton has been trying to save the tree since 2007. He said it's terminally ill with a root fungus caused by excessive groundwater, and nothing can be done to help it regenerate.