South Orange, NJ (April 29, 2022) When you are the scion of a legend the pressure to succeed is on from the start, but in this case, we won’t know if our new resident measures up for about 500 years. That is because the newest tree in South Orange is a sapling from the famous Salem Oak of Salem, NJ, a white oak under which Salem founder John Fenwick made peace treaty with the local Lenni-Lenape in 1675.
Before the historic Salem Oak tree uprooted and collapsed on June 6, 2019, acorns were collected, raised as seedlings, and eventually distributed by the New Jersey Forest Service Nursery. Each New Jersey community expressing interest only got one so local tree lovers are rooting for this little sapling to survive and thrive. Only time will tell if its historic genes cause it to grow as large or last as long as its historic parent.
Thanks to the efforts of the the Founders Park Conservancy, the white oak sapling found a new home in Founders Memorial Park in South Orange where it was planted by the Department of Public Works on Arbor Day, Friday April 29th, surrounded by Village officials and admirers from the Recreation Department, Environmental Commission, and local park goers. Mayor, Sheena Collum, welcomed the new Villager, saying “Although tiny now, this tree has the potential to grace this location in South Orange for centuries, providing shade and beauty to this neighborhood and generations of future Villagers.” Village Trustee and liaison to the Environmental Commission, Bill Haskins, pointed out that “We know from our tree inventory, that this newbie will join 115 other white oak trees in South Orange, none as famous, but all equally as important for the role they play in supporting our community by filtering stormwater, moderating ambient temperature, sequestering carbon, creating oxygen, and increasing property values.”
Though still just a tiny sapling, you can visit our new neighbor in the North East corner of Founders Memorial Park on Valley Street or any of its more established woody mentors in any South Orange park from dawn to dusk every day. For more information on trees and many other local topics follow the South Orange Environmental Commission and Green Team on Facebook or Instagram @sogreenteam or https://sogreenteam.wordpress.com/