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Slices of Yarmouth's 217-year-old Herbie to go on display

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Slices of Yarmouth's 217-year-old Herbie to go on display

YARMOUTH — Two 1,600-pound slices of the elm tree known as Herbie will be given to the town and the Maine Department of Conservation.

The 110-foot tall tree was removed from the corner of Yankee Drive and East Main Street on Jan. 19 due to Dutch elm disease. He was saved from the disease 14 times over 50 years with the help of Yarmouth's former tree warden, 101-year-old Frank Knight.

Since then, Herbie has been sliced a few more times.

Peter Lammert of the Maine Forest Service at first estimated the tree was 212 years old. But to better determine the age, another slice was removed on Jan. 29. After the rings were dried and counted again by Lammert, it was announced last week that Herbie was 217 years old.

This week, Whitney Tree Services of Gray returned to the trunk to remove two more slices.

Deb Hopkins, Yarmouth's current tree warden, said the 4-inch slices of Herbie's trunk removed Monday, Feb. 8, will be dried and given to the town and the state for display.

"The slices are so big they will need to air dry for a while," Hopkins said. "There are ideas about what to do with the slice, but no decisions have been made yet."

Jan Ames Santerre of the Maine Forest Service said Herbie will be displayed either in the state Department of Conservation in Augusta or at the Maine State Museum.

Santerre said Herbie's limbs, branches and trunk have been cut and kiln-dried and will be used to create mementos such as bookmarks, bowls and other crafts. Money raised from the sale of the items will be used to fund the Yarmouth Tree Trust, to ensure other trees will line the streets and remain healthy.

Santerre said officials are trying to think of every possible way to save even the scraps from the tree as they cut off pieces.

"We are working with an arborculture class at Southern Maine Community College, who are trying to grow Herbie seedlings," she said. "This way, his legacy can continue to grow."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net