LONG BEACH, Miss. — Officials at a Mississippi university say they’re trying to save a live oak tree that’s more than 500 years old but has been damaged over time.

The Sun Herald reports that a large branch is partially separated from the tree, known as the Friendship Oak, on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.

The school’s landscape superintendent Loren Erickson says an expert on live oak trees is coming to look at the damage and will help decide whether to cable or brace the branches. Erickson says, though, that human intervention could do more harm than good for the tree.

According to the university, the tree was 59 feet tall when last measured by the Mississippi Forestry Commission in 2011. Officials believe the tree dates back to 1487.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.