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In honor of Arbor Day 2021, West Goshen Township is celebrating its heritage trees – the oldest and largest arboreal residents of our community. The public is invited to join the socially distanced event at the historic weeping beech site on Friday April 23 at 5:00 p.m. In addition to celebrating trees, both old and young, we will have information about tree planting available and will be giving out free reusable grocery bags to help contribute to a sustainable future.
Although the most well-known of the township’s heritage trees is the European weeping beech at (roughly) 908 Old Fern Hill Road, four other such trees have been identified. For details about the Arbor Day event, click here.
The weeping beech is reputed to have been planted by Alexander Bane, a Quaker farmer, around 1711. Its central stem was recently cut back; the tree now resembles a grove of beeches in different stages of life. Currently located on private property, the owner plans to convey the beech to the township soon.
Heritage trees are living repositories of West Goshen’s history. Over centuries they have survived storms, drought, disease, and the changes humans have wrought on the landscape. They have nourished and sheltered countless generations of insects, birds, and animals. Imagine the stories they would have to tell if only they could speak!
Four other West Goshen heritage trees have been identified; two are white oaks and two are red oaks. See the map here. All are on private property but can be appreciated from a public street.
Unlike the beech, which was purposely planted, the heritage oaks are likely remnants of forests that dominated Pennsylvania’s landscape before European settlement. The trees are estimated to be 200 to more than 300 years old.
Generally, trees get larger as they age, but an old tree is not necessarily large, and vice versa. Other factors that affect a tree’s height and girth include its location—wetter areas tend to have larger trees—and competition from other trees. You can estimate a tree’s age from its diameter (see the calculator here). The most accurate measurement is by counting the rings, but that requires a core sample or stump measurement.
Do you know of a tree that may qualify as a West Goshen heritage tree? Let us know! We’ll identify and estimate its age. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.