Shawshank Redemption OAK TREE BADLY WOUNDED

8/1/2011 2:10 PM PDT

'Shawshank Redemption' Tree -- BADLY Wounded In Windstorm

The iconic Ohio oak tree where Andy Dufresne buried a secret stash for his prison pal Red at the end of "The Shawshank Redemption" ... is ON DEATH'S DOOR -- after a brutal windstorm last week.

You remember the tree -- it was at the end of the trail ... and there was a rock that had no earthly business being in a hayfield ... and Red picked up said rock, opened the box and realized that Andy was in Zihuatanejo. Great flick.

Anyway, the damn thing nearly split in half Friday during a crazy windstorm. According to, the owners of the property have not announced if they plan to remove the tree.

But remember ... "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."