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

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

A New Jersey community is reluctantly saying farewell to an icon of sorts.

Basking Ridge, New Jersey bid farewell to the 600-year-old tree on Monday due to its old age, according to local media reports.

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

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez). In a photograph taken Friday, April 21, 2017, a street sign warns motorists of upcoming work to remove a 600-year-old white oak tree, back, at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards, N.J. Crews are scheduled to remove th. It stands adjacent to the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, which was founded in 1717; its branches hang over a graveyard which includes Revolutionary War veterans.

It has been a handsome backdrop for photos over the years and it was the site of a picnic general George Washington held with Marquis de Lafayette.

This is not the end, however, an acorn from the 600-year-old tree was sprouted and planted on the church grounds, allowing the legacy to continue.

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The 600-year-old White Oak that has stood in Bernard, New Jersey since long before the USA was formed is now being cut down. They determined it wouldn't be able to withstand many more harsh winters or spring storms.

"It's just always been there, it's always been a part of my town and now it's time to just say goodbye", Amanda Hughes said Monday.

"All my children went to Tree House [the preschool on church property]", said nearby resident Lisa Dudzik.

"It'll be an empty feeling, very different", said Jann Slapin of Basking Ridge, who has been a member of the church for 28 years and arrived at 8 a.m.to witness the cutting off of the first branch. "We've been blessed to have it here".

Keith Keiling, owner of Keiling Tree Care in Basking Ridge, said he expects the removal of the tree will be finished today, despite predicted rain. They note that several factors - including droughts, intensive wildfires and invasive insects - that can greatly harm trees, which become more susceptible to damage as they age.

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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