June 23, 2017

Crews start taking down 600-year-old tree

28 April 2017, 01:10 | Leonard Manning

600-Year-Old White Oak Tree Being Cut Down In Basking Ridge

NJ church gets offspring to replace now-dead 600-year-old tree

The chopping and pulling will draw attention from residents of a bedroom community about 30 miles west of NY and other tree fans who see it as a chance to bid a final farewell.

Basking Ridge, New Jersey bid farewell to the 600-year-old tree on Monday due to its old age, according to local media reports.

One of the oldest oak trees in North America is being cut down.

But despite six centuries of staying power, the tree was declared dead previous year, the apparent victim, the New York Times has said, of old age and some volatile weather.

Workers have begun the process of cutting the tree down.

It will take a few days to cut down the tree, which is 18 feet around and has a branch spread of roughly 150 feet wide.

In fact, the removal of the tree - the symbol of Bernards Township, the sentinel of the Presbyterian Church's historic cemetery, and the namesake of the nearby Oak Street School - began on Monday morning.

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Among its notable visitors was Gen. George Washington, who town officials say picnicked at the tree with the Marquis de Lafayette.

While many are sad to see the relic go, there is a silver lining: Another white oak cultivated from the tree's acorns has been planted at the church.

White oak trees have an average lifespan of 300 years, but have been known to live to around 600 years in the U.S.

"If we go back in to the church records and look at the bill that came in from the tree company in 1924, there is a line item that says 3 tons of concrete", he said. Arborists say that the removal is necessary because it would have fallen of its own accord during the coming winters or spring storms. You know, it was one of those things that was going to go on forever, ' said another.

'It just kind of feels like a part of the town is dying with it, ' one resident told CBS past year.

"It has been an integral part of the town, that's for sure", said Jon Klippel of the church's planning council. At first, officials thought they would be able to simply remove segments of the larger limbs, but the rot was too severe. "It has always been there, even before there was a town, and over the years many people have met there, been photographed there, had a meal under the tree". They note that several factors - including droughts, intensive wildfires and invasive insects - that can greatly harm trees, which become more susceptible to damage as they age. He says the problem can be mitigated in part if people and communities care for the trees and monitor their health.

The church will keep the tree's stump and memorialize its life with a plaque. A much younger 25-foot white oak grew from an acorn that fell from the very big mother tree.

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