(Courtesy of Mount Vernon)
Heavy rains last month brought down a tree at the Mount Vernon estate that dated back to at least 1780.
The white oak, which was located in a private area on the estate’s grounds, fell on July 24 due to overly saturated soil around the tree, Mount Vernon said in a blog post. July saw nearly nine inches of rain in the area near Mount Vernon, according to weatherunderground.com.
In addition to being quite old, the tree was also quite large, measuring 46 inches in diameter at the base. Between 2004-2005, a sample was taken from it by a dendrochronologist in order to determine its age. The rings could be accurately counted to at least 1780, but because the science is inexact, it’s likely the tree is older.
The fallen oak is the second centuries-old tree to fall at the estate recently. A hemlock dating back to 1785 went down during the March windstorm. That tree may have dated back to 1785, according to a diary entry by George Washington himself.
Mount Vernon has a number of trees around the property that date back to the 18th century, according to Dean Norton, Mount Vernon’s director of horticulture. One is a white oak near the west gate that dates back to before 1706. A 1776 white oak is also located nearby, while 1785 tulip poplars are on the estate’s bowling green. A 1766 tulip poplar below the New Tomb.
The oldest tree on the property is believed to date back to 1683, according to Norton.
As for the fallen white oak, a spokeswoman for Mount Vernon said its material will be used by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association for preservation and special projects.