Skip to Content

Environmental officials say 9/11 survivor tree can potentially harm soil and natural waters

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Folks said the 9/11 survivor tree planted at the Law Enforcement Firefighter Memorial of Allen County can potentially damage the environment.

The sapling was planted in September of 2018.

Owners of the property said the survivor tree represents the love and gratitude to those who lost their lives on 9/11.

A environmental group official said the Callery Pear Tree is not a native plant. She said the tree can spread ten times faster than other Hoosier trees.

The tree can potentially damage the soil and natural waters in Fort Wayne, according to officials.

“They’re crowding out the plants that are supposed to be here that provide nutrition and habitat for wildlife that help protect the soil and water quality,” Celia Garza, Chair of Northeast Indiana Sierra Club Group said.

Environmental group officials said the tree typically only lives 10-15 years long. They said the tree is not deeply rooted into the soil. As a result, officials said water is not filtered as thoroughly compared to Hoosier trees and can impact the soil and natural waters.

Officials said they respect the intention behind the tree. They said they do not want the tree to go anywhere since they understand it means a lot to the community.

“If we want to honor our heroes, I think it’s important to not unintentionally harm our natural environment,” Garza said.

Officials proposed alternative solutions to move the tree indoors or spray a treatment on the tree to prevent the tree from spreading.

The president of the memorial said they will look into options to restrict the spread of the survivor tree.

The president of the memorial and Sierra Club officials said they have not spoken with each other yet.

We will update you once we hear more.

Louie Tran

Louie Tran is the weekend anchor for Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11pm and a weekday general assignment reporter. To share story ideas, please email him at

Skip to content