Friday, April 4, 2014

MAGNOLIA'S OAK TREE RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS HORTICULTURE AWARD

Magnolia's landmark oak tree has captured  the attention of the Charleston Horticultural Society. Annually the tree committee of the CHS presents numerous awards to trees in the city of Charleston. This year the grand oak at Magnolia was nominated and won in the non-profit category.

The old oak tree has a circumference of 25 feet and a bough spread of 117 feet. Its height is 60 feet plus. I talked to P. O. Mead of Mead's Tree Service about the age of the tree. He feels safe with 800 plus years. I have a postcard that was published in 1898 and postmarked 1908 on which the publisher states the age as 800 years old. If we add an additional 116 years to the date of 1898 we get an age of 916 years old.

I looked up information about a dinner party held at Col.Willliam Cunnington's house (now the office) here at "Magnolia Umbria." This party was in honor of a visit from Gen. George Washington to his intimate friend Col. William Cunnington. I'm almost sad to report that it was held under the magnificent "Magnolia" from which the whole Cunnington estate was named. However, I feel sure it was one of the old magnolias that was lost due to Hurricane Hugo located by the plantation house and the old oak tree. I feel sure George would have ventured to stroll beneath the branches of such a magnificent oak tree.

In 1989, during Hurricane Hugo, an eighth of the tree that spread across the now paved road to the west was lost. Due to the quick response and diligence of  Mead's Tree Service unfamiliar on-lookers would not be the wiser as to the missing branches. The tree recuperated from its damage with no problems.
Seen below is an old picture of the oak tree dated "Snow Storm of 1898" by Clarke studio and another that I took just this week. 

If you have never had the pleasure of seeing the "grandfather oak" as we here at Magnolia call it please take the time to come by and visit.

                                 
Note the branches are not touching the ground in this 1898 photograph
                                       
The Grandfather Oak as seen today

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