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Southern Red Oak on Court Street Honored as Treasure Tree

Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019
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The southern red oak tree on Court Street provides shade in summer and fattens wildlife for the winter by dropping thousands of acorns in autumn. The Tree Board chose this tree as the 2019 Treasure Tree.

The Hillsborough Tree Board has chosen the southern red oak on the Orange County Justice Facility grounds for the 2019 Treasure Tree designation.

The tree, located on Court Street near the magistrate’s office, is estimated to be approximately 50 feet tall and 75 years old. It was selected as a Treasure Tree to replace the first tree to receive such a designation in Hillsborough ― a southern red oak at 408 Calvin St. that fell on Sept. 14, 2018, during Hurricane Florence. That oak was estimated to be approximately 250 years old with a trunk circumference of 27 feet at the time of its fall.

“Southern red oak trees are native to the East Coast and can mature to a height of 100 feet, providing shade and habitat for wildlife,” said Public Space Manager Stephanie Trueblood, who provides staff support to the Tree Board. “The death of the red oak on Calvin Street last year was a significant loss to our community, and it seems fitting that the Tree Board designate another prominent red oak to raise awareness of the beauty and importance of this native species.”

Southern red oaks (Quercus falcata) range from Florida to New York. They are cherished for the shade they provide in the heat of summer, the beauty of their reddish leaves in autumn, and for being a food source for native wildlife. Each oak grows from a small acorn — a rare survivor among the thousands of acorns that fall from the parent tree in autumn. The other acorns become energy-rich meals to help fatten wildlife for the winter, including deer, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, black bears, blue jays, crows and wild turkeys.

The Treasure Trees program creates awareness of and gives recognition to the preservation of significant trees in the Hillsborough area. A significant tree may be on public or private land and can be recognized for its historic or wildlife value; beauty; or exceptional size, age, shape or color. Information about Treasure Trees selections, a nomination form and a map that can be used for a self-guided tour are available on the Tree Board page of the town website.

The Tree Board is responsible for hearing requests from the community regarding planting, maintenance and removal of street and park trees. It also is responsible for establishing guidelines for spacing of trees on town property.