Town works to save 600-year-old oak

Town works to save 600-year-old oak

Concerned citizens wonder if it’s time to let go of ailing tree.

Mary Jo DiLonardo

Basking Ridge oak tree

George Washington is said to have picnicked underneath the historic Basking Ridge oak tree. (Photo: Msact/Wikimedia Commons)

School field trips often make a pilgrimage to Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in New Jersey, specifically to the church cemetery where the towering great oak tree stands. The children join hands and surround the massive trunk to see how many of them it takes to circle the historic tree.

More than 100 feet tall, the majestic white oak is thought to be more than 600 years old. It is believed to be the oldest white oak in the country, and perhaps the world. The tree has withstood war and natural disasters, including Hurricane Sandy. George Washington is said to have picnicked under its branches and rested there with his troops on several occasions. Wedding parties often pose for photos by the tree. Visitors stroll through the cemetery grounds, shaded by the oak’s branches, which spread more than 150 feet side to side. Read more.