Community reluctantly bidding farewell to 600-year-old tree

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

The removal work drew lots of attention from residents of a bedroom community about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of NY and other tree fans who saw it as a chance to bid a final farewell to their close friend.

A 600-year-old oak tree where President George Washington once picnicked has been cut down after starting to show signs of its age.

A young 16-year old tree, only 25ft (7.5m) tall, already stands in the north end of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church.

In the last several years, the tree began to suffer from poor health. It's expected to take two to three days to complete.

Crews are due at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards on Monday to start the removal process.

"The stories about the old oak tree go back to when George Washington met with the Marquis de Lafayette, and had picnicked under the tree, and they were strategizing about the Revolutionary War", Mayor of Bernards Township Carolyn Gaziano said.

A 600-year-old white oak tree in New Jersey that's believed to be among the oldest in the nation is about to come down.




These developments prompted city officials to remove it before it it falls and causes damage to the church, built in 1717, or the cemetery headstones in the graveyard in which it is part. Arborists determined the tree would not withstand upcoming harsh winters or spring storms, according to a NBC New York report.

"Everybody that has ever lived here has recognized that tree as sort of a symbol of home", parishioner John Klippel said last fall. At first, officials thought they would be able to simply remove segments of the larger limbs, but the rot was too severe.

"It has been an integral part of the town, that's for sure", said Jon Klippel of the church's planning council.

Despite the tree's condition, some Bernards, New Jersey, residents were stumped as to why it needed to be removed. "We've been blessed to have it here".

Experts say fewer trees are replicating the old oak's 600-year lifespan.

A symbolic white oak tree that stood even before Christopher Columbus set foot in the United States has been cut down.

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