The Most Hated Tree in San Angelo


The famous San Angelo Water Lily Collection is in trouble because a giant Live Oak tree’s roots are piercing the walls of the main lily pool at Civic League Park, 2 S. Park St. Proponents of the International Water Lily Collection are enraged that nothing is being done about that tree.

Larry Jolley, a local Realtor and avid supporter of the Water Lily Collection by Ken Landon, describes the majestic Oak as a “vandal” and illegitimate, being “planted there by a squirrel burying an acorn.”

The tree, located along the northern wall to the pool area of the Water Lily Collection’s home, is approximately 50 years old according to Tommy Olive of Olive’s Nursery. Olive doesn’t like the tree either.

“I am convinced God made nature for us. We are to take care of it. But it is to serve us, for food, for structure, for beauty,” Olive said. The tree, he agreed, is just an acorn, and not living up to its obligations serving San Angelo, since it’s endangering the continued success of the Water Lily Collection display this year.

Landon wrote in an email that, ‘Unfortunately its removal has been deferred and the once smaller tree has become a behemoth, taking from and overriding everything in the park, resulting in pool #2 being practically useless. This pool was built in 2000 by the Park's Department and funded by the San Angelo Health Foundation and is an integral part of the display.”

At the location, pool #2, almost adjacent to the tree, is drained and will not be utilized in this year’s display if the tree stands.

City Operations Director Shane Kelton, who oversees the Parks and Recreation Department, said that he couldn’t cut the tree down without a go-ahead from City Council. “Several years ago, and several councils ago, it was quite a controversial issue and the council decided to keep the tree until another planned lily pond [yet to be built] is constructed,” he said. So, according to Kelton, the tree stays for now based upon the last instruction to city staff.

According to Jolley, the San Angelo Garden Club stands ready to gift the city a pavilion and to plant replacement trees far away from the lily ponds.

But right now, the city seems stuck and unable to act because of a previous Council who stopped the tree’s removal a long time ago.

The impact of the tree is treacherous, said Landon’s assistant and fellow Lily collector Tim Davis of Houston. Davis makes frequent trips to San Angelo supplying additional lily types to Landon for the display and maintains Landon’s website.

Davis said that within the next 30 days, Landon and company will need to start cleaning the pools and prepping the displays in the pools that are underneath the tree. If the city decides to cut down the tree when the lilies are already placed, it will spread unwanted debris into the pools, causing much more work and cleanup. And pool #2 will remain empty.

For now though, the hated tree stands, water lilies be damned.

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Is anyone wondering, why they built this pool next to a (then) approx 36 year old tree, and now claim the pool is "practically useless" 14 yrs later because of the tree?
Bunch of squirrels or bunch of nuts? Like Mark asks who was the brain child to build pools by the trees in the first place? Which one is easier to relocate? Looks like city council will need to put together a super duper emergency committee to figure one this one out.
If you just have to hate, then hate a mesquite tree (unless your BBQ). I don't know of any true west Texans ever said they hate shade trees.
J D, Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:37
I can guarantee that this tree is just as thirsty as those water lilies should be. We're in a DROUGHT people!! Perhaps the founders of this ridiculous "international collection" should consider displaying a variety of cactus instead?
I'm not against the Lilly collection. It's an important part of San Angelo, but please. The Lilly guys need to have lunch with the tree guy and brainstorm; let him go in there and do his stuff and keep the 50 year old tree... One can divert roots with some work... Joe, the headline is as much to blame here as anything. Most hated tree...? Come on.
The existing pools were built around a pool that has been there since the early 1900s. The original pool was a depression era project to create jobs. When Ken started the beautification project over 20 years ago he did it as a volunteer for 2 decades. At that time the pool was where a lot of bad people migrated to perform illicit and illegal activities.
Those water lilies are nothing more than water weeds. Chunk them in the river if somebody wants to save them and leave the tree alone.....
cut the tree down and lets plant water lilies. get on with progress and build more pools as planned too. city council untie your shoe laces, they are tied together and you are stumbling...
OK, you determine the priorities. 1. Water - Regardless of the upcoming Hickory Aquifer, water is in short demand. Period. In terms of water usage, the lilly pond uses more than the tree. Is it worth the water usage to sustain the lilly pond or the tree? 2. Longevity - While the pond will likely stay around as long as folks are willing support it, the tree will stay around as long as there is water. Which has more value? 3. Location - The pond can be built elsewhere, and while it may be possible to relocate the tree, that may kill it. Which are you willing to pay for? A possible compromise: Perhaps we could relocate the pool next to the tree and keep both the tree and the pond. Perhaps the costs associated with this idea are cost beneficial in the short and long term. As for me, I don't intend to visit the tree, nor the pond. I think I'll have a drink and leave this foolishness to others...
1. Sick and really sick how the US weather bureau gives all the lip service about the blasted 20% Personally I would prefer that they don't forecast anything and let us be surprised! 2, Gasoline out here is a real pain. Gasoline at one time was around $3.05 and that went on for almost 6 months, then the problem with Russia and the oil companies have jacked up the price to $3.29 and I thought we got our oil from the middle east? Say doesn't all the new oil that has been discovered here in the USA and the petroleum industry said that we have more oil than anyone and yet we buy from the middle east and I guess Russia???

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