Pennsylvania's largest white oak (Quercus alba) fell over Tuesday morning, September 19th. Located on the property of the London Grove Quaker Meeting House, the massive oak boasts a circumference of 275 inches (about 7 feet wide) and a canopy spread of 120 feet. This tree has outlived the establishment of Pennsylvania as an official state.
Andrew Conboy, an arborist at Brandywine Urban Forestry, stands next to the massive root base of the London Grove white oak.
This tree (pictured above) had extensive root rot and was no longer able to support the weight of an 80-foot tree. Fruiting mushroom bodies (pictured below) suggest the tree had been in an advanced state of decay.
This oak was a living relic of the original Penn’s Woods. King Charles the 2nd gave William Penn a land deed (the land is known now as Pennsylvania) as payment for an outstanding debt. Because the oak was alive before William Penn’s arrival to the area in 1682, this specimen is called a Penn Charter tree. It is estimated to be over 350 years old. Though it is sad to lose this historic tree, its official age can now be confirmed by counting its tree rings.
The PA Champion Tree Program, a sector of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to preserving the largest and most notable trees in Pennsylvania. They educate about the importance of conserving regional forests so future generations can enjoy them. Through this program, the Penn Charter Oak was nominated as a PA Champion tree in 1969.
The London Grove Charter Oak while it was still alive.