Historic white oak of Harvard/Boxborough

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#1)  Historic white oak of Harvard/Boxborough

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:10 pm

After meandering in the woods of Harvard, I took the long way back to my car to check out what I thought to be a magnificently tall pine tree. It turned out to be growing from a hillside behind a building, so that was a dud. However, when I reached the town line between Harvard and Boxborough I stopped to admire an old, stubby oak tree at the end of Codman Hill Road. Its height of approximately 59.9’ is not what sets it apart, but my better judgment told me to record its CBH as “POISON IVY” and to leave it at that. Maybe if I come back better prepared I will get a number on its girth. Here are a few photos of this chunky tree.

               
                       
Harvard Border Oak.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
Harvard Border Oak - trunk.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
Harvard Border Oak - N side.jpg
                                       
               

As I was standing by the stop sign taking pictures a gentleman in a pickup truck pulled up and asked me what I knew about the tree. I told him I had heard it mentioned as the Codman Hill Oak, but other than that I didn’t know anything. As a resident of Harvard and owner of property abutting the tree, he knew it as the Border Oak, and told me that it was a historic tree some 250 – 300 years old. He even told me that every few years he gives the tree a little bit of fertilizer. As the owner of a landscaping business, I imagine he knows what he’s doing in that department.

The historical significance of this tree is that it was used to mark the southwestern corner of the newly incorporated town of Boxborough, Massachusetts on February 25, 1783. In delineating the boundaries of the town a “white oak tree by a causeway” was chosen as a significant landmark. This is that very tree. I think that’s cool.

Jared

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bbeduhn, Matt Markworth
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#2)  Re: Historic white oak of Harvard/Boxborough

Postby dbhguru » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:44 pm

Jared

 Splendid find. Rich Higgins will love to learn about that tree. I hope to get the two of you hooked up. I think he'd like to so a story on historic Massachusetts trees for the Boston Globe.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
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#3)  Re: Historic white oak of Harvard/Boxborough

Postby Rand » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:15 am

Jeez.  How old do you suppose that lightening scar is?  50, 100 years?
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#4)  Re: Historic white oak of Harvard/Boxborough

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:40 pm

dbhguru wrote:Jared

 Splendid find. Rich Higgins will love to learn about that tree. I hope to get the two of you hooked up. I think he'd like to so a story on historic Massachusetts trees for the Boston Globe.

Bob

Bob,

Thanks. I would certainly like to meet your friend Rich. In doing a little bit of research on this tree before writing the original post I saw that there had been an article in the Globe back in '08, I think. Without a susbscription to the newspaper I couldn't view the whole text, but it had to do with plans for development that would have jeopardized this tree.

Rand wrote:Jeez.  How old do you suppose that lightening scar is?  50, 100 years?

Rand,

I really don't have a good sense for estimating the age of a lightning scar. I wonder too, though. If anyone out there has something to say about this, please chime in.

Jared
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#5)  Re: Historic white oak of Harvard/Boxborough

Postby Matt Markworth » Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:24 pm

Jared,

Cool photos! I especially like the one showing the scar and closure attempt.

I suppose a little bit of fertilizer every few years won't hurt too much, although based on what I've read and seen in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky these old oaks definitely have their tolerance limits. Some of the ones in the Bluegrass are surrounded by lush, heavily fertilized lawns to the detriment of the tree.

Matt
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