500 year old tree gets a trimming

April 2, 2008 4:18:40 PM PDT
From the tiny acorn rises the mighty oak tree. And, in Merrillville, Indiana the word "mighty" is no exaggeration.

The old masterpiece of nature was trimmed of deadwood on Wednesday to give it a better chance at a healthy future.

"What we're doing here today essentially is getting this tree back to a healthy state structure wise. There was a lot of deadwood, a lot of large dead limbs," said Russell Hodge, owner of Hodge Tree Care.

The Burr Oak's age -- and size-- make it stand out enough for Hodge Tree Care and Erwin Tree Care to donate time and money for the trimming.

The tree is 62 feet tall and at its widest point it's a 108 feet wide," said Hodge. And, how big is it around? "Twenty one feet seven inches."

Hodge said he hasn't seen trees of its size in the area.

At 500 years old, the tree sprouted around the year 1500. In those days, the Illini and Miami Indians lived in the area. A couple hundred years later the Potawatomi were here, followed by the pioneers. Just imagine what history the tree has seen.

If only trees could talk. And, explain how it's lived so long.

"You could say she came from good stock," said Hodge.

Only one out of 10,000 acorns sprouts into a tree. So, this old timer really defied the odds.


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