December 19, 2014

The death of a 300-year-old tree.

Goodbye to the President's Tree, the oldest tree on the University of Wisconsin campus:
Long before the tract of land next to Lake Mendota became the University of Wisconsin, an acorn embedded itself in the soil not far from some burial mounds created by the original occupants of the land....

“We wanted to keep it as long as we could,” said Daniel Einstein, UW-Madison historic and cultural resources manager. “But in the past few years with the drought and harsh winter, the tree has declined pretty rapidly.”

40 comments:

tim maguire said...

Too bad, but not as bad as the Prometheus Tree.

"The tree, which was at least 4862 years old and possibly more than 5000, was cut down in 1964 by a graduate student and United States Forest Service personnel for research purposes."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus_%28tree%29

Bob R said...

Yeah, every two to four centuries you have to plant new oak trees. Make nice timber-frame houses that last about two to four centuries. Works out pretty well.

MadisonMan said...

Not really front-page news, IMO, although the local paper seemed to think so.

Curious George said...

"...an acorn embedded itself in the soil not far from some burial mounds created by the original occupants of the land...."

Really? The original occupants of the land were Indians from 300 years ago?

I think the word is "previous"

As for the rest, it's an oak tree.

traditionalguy said...

Trees are wonderful works of a creator's art. Especially Oaks of every type. As the famous creationist Joyce Kilmer says, only God can make one.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


“But in the past few years . . . declined pretty rapidly.”

Haven't we all.

Laslo Spatula said...

Finally. Now they can use that space for some cement abstract Public Art.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

The website loads too much crap to finish on my Inspiron 1200 (2005).

I wonder why they design sites like that.

It used to be only radio stations that did that.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Arboreal euthanasia. What could be next?

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

The best use of my mortal remains? Shove an acorn up my ass and plant me by a stream.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Curious George said...

Really? The original occupants of the land were Indians from 300 years ago?

The acorn embedded 300 years ago, but the mounds were already there, created much earlier.

I'm not saying the mounds were built by literally the first individuals to set foot on the land, but the claim in the article is not as bad as your reading makes it sound.

tim maguire said...

The chances those mounds were made by the original occupants is about zero. But they were made by Indians, right?, and one Indian is as good as another, right? You say Iroquois I say Mohawk, let's call the hole thing off...

Bob Ellison said...

Tree experts tend, I think, to be idiots and liars.

I have lots of hardwood trees on my property, and everyone around here who thinks he's (overwhelmingly they are men) capable of identifying a disease, or a bad root system, or a lightning strike, just by looking at the tree, seems to want to diagnose all kinds of things, all the time. Especially the "certified arborists".

Maybe the President's Tree was doing just fine, and some tree jerk just wanted to abort it out of self-importance.

Ann Althouse said...

"Not really front-page news, IMO, although the local paper seemed to think so."

That's a conundrum!

The local paper has a front page that always has stuff on the front page that's not "front-page news." So then it is front-page news. That's the kind of front page they do.

MadisonMan said...

If it's such a legendary tree, too, you'd think they'd have a picture of it in its glory, not one with the tree shorn of all its branches and just a big stick, essentially.

Oso Negro said...

The tree probably died of shame from the new push for race-sensitive grading.

Biff said...

One of the profs at Yale has an interesting hobby/side business making bowls, pens, etc. out of wood reclaimed from significant campus trees. Some neat stuff - http://yalebowls.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XzG6nuwYSI

CStanley said...

300 years is nothing to sneeze at, but New Orleans' City Park and Audobon Park are home to many Live Oaks that are more than 500 years old.

And they are grand:
http://www.myneworleans.com/Louisiana-Life/March-April-2011/Old-and-Magnificent/index.php?cparticle=2

When we travel to New Orleans the kids always want to go visit the "climbing trees" and we have some dear photos with groups of the cousins lined up on the boughs.

Big Mike said...

I view this as a metaphor for Obamacare's intention to ration healthcare by age.

Curious George said...

"Ignorance is Bliss said...
Curious George said...

Really? The original occupants of the land were Indians from 300 years ago?

The acorn embedded 300 years ago, but the mounds were already there, created much earlier.

I'm not saying the mounds were built by literally the first individuals to set foot on the land, but the claim in the article is not as bad as your reading makes it sound."

So you are saying the statement is 100% not factual, but is not as bad if it was...wait, what?

rhhardin said...

Arborist macht frei.

Fernandinande said...

burial mounds created by the original occupants of the land....

Probably not true.

"Across Wisconsin, the Paleoindian period is subdivided into Early and Late traditions based on chipped stone tool technologies (R. Mason 1981, 1986). The Early Paleoindian tradition (approximately 11,500-10,000 B.C.) is defined by fluted projectile points, while the Late Paleoindian tradition (circa 10000-8000 B.C.) is marked by lanceolate point styles. Frequent indicators of a former Paleoindian presence in an area are isolated finds of distinctive projectile point styles: Clovis, Folsom, Scottsbluff, Eden, and Agate Basin."

Fernandinande said...

Fernandinande said...
Probably not true.


Easier to read: "Archaeological History (of Wisconsin).

Fernandinande said...

Curious George said...
Really? The original occupants of the land were Indians from 300 years ago?


That fits The Narrative that Indians were peaceful and never displaced other Indians.

As for the rest, it's an oak tree.

Remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you.

Skipper said...

One could probably say the same for much of the faculty.

David said...

Time defeats tree, 59-0.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The acorn grew into a bur oak tree with a trunk so thick it recently took 20 preschoolers holding hands to circle it.

It took 20? Are you sure 19 couldn't have circled it? Did they try? Exactly how great was the wingspan of each of these preschoolers? How much of that was lost to the overlap of the held hands?

Couldn't you have just found a fucking tape measure and given us the actual fucking circumference?

Original Mike said...

“But in the past few years with the drought and harsh winter, the tree has declined pretty rapidly.”

Global warming did not arrive soon enough to save the old tree. We are all responsible. I feel ashamed.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

a bur oak that sits in the backyard of the School of Human Ecology

The School of Human Ecology. Grievance studies aren't enough of a joke. You actually have a whole school devoted to something called Human Ecology.

AA, the decline of the institution that sustains you is also far advanced. It will soon be necessary to cut it down as well.

MadisonMan said...

SOHE is the old Home Ec. Think of it that way. Everyone here does -- except the people who work in the School of Human Ecology.

mrs.e said...

Not really front-page news, IMO, although the local paper seemed to think so.

It has regional interest - the Star-Tribune picked up the story.

Bryan C said...

If they cut it to a stump and just leave it be it'll probably sprout new growth around the edges in a few years. It'll look more like a shrub than a Majestic Oak Of 20 Preschoolers 'Round, but I'm sure the tree would be perfectly happy. Trees aren't vain that way.

JSD said...

Trees and education go together. Both my secondary and college use a tree in their emblem. Landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted designed U Maine campus. Stately elm trees lined the quad facing the library. They all died of Dutch elm disease in the 70’s. Replaced with ash that later got battered in an ice storm. They looked like shit so they were replaced with white oak in the 2000’s. The quad still looks barren.

Drago said...

Have the "usual suspect" insane leftists in Madison blamed Walker yet?

rod said...

You know that down here in Kansas when there is a drought - we water our damn trees.

MarkW said...

Here's what the University of Michigan just did with a tree of a similar age:

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/11/u-m_tree_move_video.html


Fernandinande said...

ThreeHeaded Throop said...
The School of Human Ecology. Grievance studies aren't enough of a joke.


Apparently "Human Ecology" is a euphemism for "basket weaving".

http://sohe.wisc.edu/what-we-do/

"Intentional serendipity fuels discovery." (!)

What We Do

Preschool Lab
We carry forward the legacy of high-impact engagement with communities, families, and children.

Design Gallery
Design – and Design Thinking – come together at SoHE to address real-world, “wicked” problems!

Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection
HLATC invites you to discover, share, and create your own stories.

mikee said...

So now the University has lotsa oak wood from a campus landmark that is remembered sentimentally by every living alumni?

I see the offering of many overpriced oaken paperweights, picture frames, donor plaques and sno-globe bases in the next issue of the alumni magazine.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

Maybe it's a remnant of what used to be called interior design. Or home economics. Or some other verboten formulation. I'll take a closer look after work I think.

Achilles said...

“But in the past few years with the drought and harsh winter, the tree has declined pretty rapidly.”

This was definitely the only drought in the last 300 years. And the only harsh winter in the same period.

Never let a dead oak go to waste. We got a narrative to prop up!

Personally I blame the leftists that redirected the water they used to irrigate the tree with to Salmon. But that is just me.