“The Birthing Tree,” McMinnville, TN

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ElijahW
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“The Birthing Tree,” McMinnville, TN

Post by ElijahW » Sat Sep 18, 2021 3:36 pm

NTS,

Earlier today I came upon the historic “Birthing Tree” White Oak in McMinnville, reported on previously here: http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldtrips/tennessee/birthing/birthing_white_oak_mcminville_tn.htm. Jess Riddle suggested I check out the tree recently, but this visit wasn’t planned. Fortunately, I did have measuring equipment with me and was able to get some up to date numbers. Here’s the tree:
E5BD5076-9A53-40F5-8D63-39E1BD488A15.jpeg
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085F783B-1DC9-4DED-AA01-36E56F8CB7EB.jpeg
Here are its rough dimensions currently:

Height: 76’
CBH: 24.5’

The claim on the interpretive sign of a 125’ crown spread may be a little low (if that number is an average), but I didn’t verify it regardless. The age claim would be difficult to prove, given the sheer size of the tree and the likelihood of the trunk being hollow; still, it’s certainly been around for quite some time.

This White Oak is a beautiful, majestic tree, and well worth a visit. It’s very easy to find and a great welcoming symbol for McMinnville.

Elijah

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Re: “The Birthing Tree,” McMinnville, TN

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:54 pm

Hi Elijah,

How old do you think this White Oak could be? Going from the structure, it looks like it could have the chance (though, not a high one probably) of maybe being a remnant of the old-growth forests that once existed in that area before they were cleared. If they were cleared in the mid-1800s, I could believe this was a smaller mature tree then.

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ElijahW
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Re: “The Birthing Tree,” McMinnville, TN

Post by ElijahW » Wed Oct 06, 2021 1:11 pm

Bee,

From just casual reading, the tree seems to have been a recognized landmark since at least the mid-19th century. It also has the look of being open-grown for a long time - well over 100 years. An age estimate of 250 years is reasonable, in my opinion.

Determining a tree’s age on appearance alone, no matter how much experience one brings to the table, is a sketchy practice. You can probably get a guess in the general ballpark, but nothing really precise.

Elijah

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Re: “The Birthing Tree,” McMinnville, TN

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:39 pm

Elijah,

Thanks for the info. It does seem like a fascinating oak! 250 years does make sense, indeed.

Thanks for letting us ENTS folk know about this tree!

-Russ

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