Rare, Massive Red Oak Thrives for Centuries on Lackawanna Family Farm
My jaw dropped. It was the largest red oak I had ever seen! She was old and majestic and quite the honor to measure.
Large, gnarly buttresses jutted from her base like swollen, arthritic knuckles. Her weathered trunk was dark brown and lined with vertical furrows of bark deep enough to hide the palm of my hand.RICK KOVAL PHOTO
I wrapped my tape measure around her waist, and it read an incredible 21 feet, 10 inches. Her massive frame extended 78 feet toward the sky. She was once taller, as some of the leading limbs had broken or died back. Her arching branches formed an impressive crown, a canopy extending 86 feet in all directions. Her stately figure totaled more than 360 points, which makes her one of the largest in the state and undisputedly the largest in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Joe asked how old I thought she could be.
“Centuries old,” I replied. She is what we call a “William Penn tree,” which is a tree that was around when William Penn first visited Pennsylvania, more than 300 years ago. A primeval remnant that man’s ax forgot.