Thursday, August 28, 2014

Angel Oak, John's Island, South Carolina, 2014

Blogger's Note: An appreciation of ancient trees comes with the territory working at Albany Woodworks.  We have found a few, but this one really takes the cake.  A recent trip by a staff member to Charleston, South Carolina tipped us off to its grand stature, and kindly submitted pictures of the visit. 

From the Angel Oak Tree website:
"Reportedly the oldest thing -- living or man-made -- east of the Rockies, Angel Oak is a live oak tree aged approximately 1,500 years. Some locals simply call it The Tree. It stands in a wooded area along Bohicket Road of John's Island outside Charleston, South Carolina.

Angel Oak is a live oak. It is native to the low country and is not very tall but has a wide spread canopy. Lumber from the live oak forests in the sea islands was highly valued for shipbuilding in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Angel Oak stands on part of Abraham Waight's 1717 land grant.

The Tree stands in an obscure wooded area of John's Island, some 12 miles beyond the Ashley River. The Tree is huge, and it is ancient. Estimates of its age run as high as 1,500 years.  The Angel Oak is thought to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River. Acorns from the Angel Oak have grown to produce authentic direct-offspring trees. Live oaks generally grow out and not up, but the Angel Oak has had plenty of time to do both, standing 65 ft high and with a canopy providing 17,000 square feet of shade. Its limbs, the size of tree trunks themselves, are so large and heavy that some of them rest on the ground.  

Some even drop underground for a few feet and then come back up, a feature common to only the very oldest live oaks. It has survived countless hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and human interference, so there's a good chance it will still be there waiting for you."