My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the Angel Oak Tree located on John’s Island in South Carolina in February 2014 and again in February 2015.
This Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) pre-dates, by at least a century, the cotton plantations of this region making it one of the oldest living organisms east of the Mississippi. Our first visit was just after an ice storm had moved through the area and the arborists who were monitoring the tree and had responsibility for its care, had set up temporary metal poles to support the large branches just prior to the storm. During our arrival we observed that all the poles were bent.
Since our visit coincided with the arborist’s project, we were able to engage him in conversation and learned that the poles had become compromised with the added weight of the ice from the recent storms. It was fascinating to watch these professionals painstakingly and with much trepidation replace the temporary braces with the more permanent. So much at stake in the care of this highly valued tree. We discovered that the care of this tree is very precise with monitoring practices for insects, cabling large branches, prescription fertilization, and pruning.
On our follow-up trip this year we observed that the temporary poles were replaced by more permanent wooden “telephone poles” to anchor and stabilize these massive branches. The tree is in outstanding health with a great shape and form. With the care it receives and its general health, the Angel Oak will probably provide future generations many more years to enjoy its beauty.