90-year-old man saves dying ash tree in Round Rock with elaborate carvings

On Dove Creek Drive in Round Rock, it’s not abnormal for neighbors to stand and gape at an old ash tree.

"I'm so impressed," said Cayce Merrill, who owns the tree. "He did literally the angel and owl just today. The work alone is impressive, but his age is even more impressive."

90-year-old Victor Torres is carving it into something special.

"I feel strong," said Torres. "What any young man can do, I can do, too."

Torres has been at this job since he was 15.

"I feel good when I start something like this, and the more work, the better I feel," said Torres. 

"He can look at just a stump and see shapes, and I'm like, ‘uh huh yeah I see it…I don't see it’ until he actually starts carving, I'm like 'oh my god it's actually genius,'" said Merrill.

Image 1 of 7


Cayce Merrill hired Torres to give her dying ash tree a second chance.

"It is a huge tree," said Merrill. "It just felt like you can't necessarily replace it so the idea of just cutting that big of a tree down even if it was dying, it was hit hard during the freeze, to me, I didn't see that necessarily as an option."

Before Torres, landscapers had suggested cutting down the tall ash tree. The damage from the freeze was too far gone.

Now, it’s much shorter and a little more stubby, but it’ll stay rooted as a canvas for Torres' imagination.

"I feel like when I'm doing something like this, like they're telling me to get them out of there, you know, and that's what makes me go at it harder," said Torres. 


He'll keep carving, as long as he can.

"I took 90 years to look this good," said Torres. 

The tree perhaps has also never looked better.

"It's been dead, but it's alive now," said Torres.