Ancient Oak

Date: 03 May 96 20:28:57 EDT
From: Peter Cluck <76515.3610@CompuServe.COM>
To: June  Julian 
Subject: Geez! Trees

June,

Below is the text of the tree story :
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Neighbors nurse an ancient oak

Buck's County's 514- year- old oak tree, thought to be the oldest on the East
Coast, is ailing.

by J.D. Mullane
Courier Times
Tuesday April 30, 1996

The 514- year-old oak tree in Frank and Josephine Leuzzi's back yard has

The 514- year-old oak tree in Frank and Josephine Leuzzi's back yard has
survived harsh winters, blistering summers, even the crack of musket shot from
the American Revolution.

"People stop to look at it seven days a week, all year long," said Josephine
Leuzzi. "I've seen people praying under it."

These days, the tree could use some prayer.

The White oak, in poor health for years, was dealt a life-threatening blow last
August 7 when a thunder storm ripped away a a main limb. In an instant, one
third of the tree was on the ground.

"When I saw it, I was just sick," said Leuzzi.

Even the mighty oak, determined by borings to be probably the oldest tree on
the
East Coast, can't withstand the ravages of age forever, said Bill Truscott, an
the
East Coast, can't withstand the ravages of age forever, said Bill Truscott, an
arborist whose firm, Bartlett Trees, is nursing the tree.

"It's a very aged patient that is slowly declining. We can't stop the decline.
All we can do is slow it down," he said.

Special fertilizers have been spread. Cables keep its thick, gnarled branches
from crashing to the ground. This season, the soil will be inoculated to help
the tree's roots absorb more water and nutrients.

"We're dealing with a very mature tree, and mature trees are always in a state
of decline," Truscott said.

After last summer's storm, Josephine Leuzzi put an ad in a local weekly
newspaper seeking help.  Donations poured in --enough for the couple to hire
Bartlett Trees and put a split rail fence around the oak to keep the curious
from getting clobbered by a loose limb.

The tree was nearly 200 years old when John Pidcock, said to be the first
European settler in Bucks County, moved here in the 1640's. The tree's 300th
birthday was approaching when Washington slogged across the Delaware nearby in
1776.

Ronald Reagan kept a piece of the tree in the oval office. A cross made from
its
branches marks the grave of renowned Bucks County woodworker and artist George
Nakashima.

It's sacred to the Lenape Indians, who inhabited the hills along the Delaware
River here and are believed to have planted it. After last year's storm,
several
surviving Lenapes prayed beneath it for its survival, said Josephine Leuzzi.

And it's special to at least 10 couples who've been married beneath it since
the
And it's special to at least 10 couples who've been married beneath it since
the
Leuzzi moved here from South Philadelphia 21 years ago.

"God gave us this tree," Leuzzi said. "It breathes. It gives beauty. It gives
shelter. It gives us shade. Your should see it when it has leaves. Gorgeous."

Last winter's record-breaking snowfalls may have made the tree pretty, but they
also were alarming, she said.

"I really worried that it wouldn't survive the snow," she said, looking up at
the enormous branches.
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The photo is a great distant view of the Tree and the surrounding countryside.
I hope you don't have too much trouble getting it.

If you'd like me to help again.........let me know......I'll be visiting your
page to see what's new.

If you have time, check out my page..

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/GIsenbe
rg

good luck

Ginette


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June Julian jj68@nyu.edu