Planting a Family of Trees, One Seedling at a Time

The state said the white oak died from "severe rot," and noted the tree was nearly twice as old as the normal lifespan for its species.

The state said the white oak died from "severe rot," and noted the tree was nearly twice as old as the normal lifespan for its species. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

A 600-year-old tree fell in New Jersey. Officials will preserve its legacy by sending its seedlings all over the state.

Every New Jersey municipality will receive seedlings from a nearly 600-year-old oak tree that died unexpectedly in June, an effort by state environment officials to ensure the oak’s legacy.

“Fifty years from now, people will know that our shared commitment to protecting and respecting our environment ran as deep as the roots of the mighty Salem Oak," Catherine R. McCabe, commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said in a video that aired during a mayors’ luncheon at the New Jersey League of Municipalities convention last week.

The Salem Oak stood in a small Quaker burial ground on West Broadway in Salem, New Jersey, for more than 500 years before suddenly crashing to the ground on June 6. The white oak was among the state’s largest, standing more than 100 feet tall with a trunk circumference of roughly 22 feet. "Severe rot" was the official cause of death, according to DEP, which also noted that the tree's age “exceeded the lifespan of most white oaks, which typically live 200 to 300 years.”

The Salem Oak was one of “New Jersey’s best-known and most celebrated trees,” the department said. It was the lone surviving tree from the original forest that covered the land when Quaker John Fenwick, Salem’s founder, arrived in the area in 1675. According to local lore, Fenwick met with Lenni Lenape Native Americans and signed a peace treaty under the tree, an event commemorated on the site by a historical marker.

Courtesy of the Salem County Historical Society in Salem, New Jersey.

Foresters from the department’s Big and Heritage Tree Conservation program had collected acorns from the base of the tree months before its demise and “saw no evidence that the tree’s days were numbered,” according to a news release. Those acorns produced nearly 1,200 seedlings, which were transferred to tubes and are now being cared for in a greenhouse at one of the state Forest Service’s nurseries.

The seedlings will be shipped to each of the state’s 565 municipalities for planting in April. Each seedling will come with a certificate of authenticity that proclaims its heritage. The Department of Environmental Protection is preparing a video with planting instructions and is also planning a special website for municipalities to share details of their plantings.

Courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. 

New Jersey has dabbled in statewide seedling distribution before. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy swept across the state and destroyed thousands of trees, prompting the Arbor Day Foundation and the New Jersey Forestry Service to launch the New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign, which provides free seedlings to residents and communities across the state. To date, nearly 333,000 trees have been distributed via the program, according to the campaign’s website.

“Superstorm Sandy’s winds toppled a staggering number of trees in towns across the state, and not just the counties that were hardest hit by the storm,” Bob Martin, then the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, said in a statement in 2014. “Through this campaign, residents can replant trees where it means the most to them—right in their backyard.”

Distribution of the Salem Oak seedlings will be timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of both Earth Day and the state Department of Environmental Protection, as well as with Arbor Day. 

Seedlings from the Salem Oak have also been planted in other places, including along the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Washington, D.C.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent at Route Fifty.

NEXT STORY: Mayors Ask Trump Administration to Scrap Plan to Let Cities and States Block Refugees

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.