One of Wilton’s oldest residents is notable
A majestic, centuries-old white oak tree that was the first to be named to Wilton’s Notable Tree List is now also one of Connecticut’s Notable Trees. It has just been added as one of the top-20 white oak trees in the state.
The tree, whose scientific name is Quercus alba, is on private property on Danbury Road. It earned 331 points based on its height of 88 feet, its circumference of 216 inches and its spread of 109 feet.
The tree was nominated last year by the Wilton Tree Committee and was measured Saturday by tree committee chair Kate Throckmorton for the state list with Marty Aligata, a volunteer with Connecticut's Notable Trees.
“This is very good news,” Throckmorton said. “Marty was very excited. It was really great.”
The white oak is the state tree of Connecticut, and this particular specimen is especially striking not only for its massive size but for its graceful overall shape with limbs touching the ground. That is very unusual for a tree of this age, estimated to be more than 200 years old.
“That was one thing we talked a lot about,” Throckmorton said of her conversation with Aligata on Saturday. “That’s fairly unusual. That’s just a manifestation of people who end up cutting them. This one has just been left alone and done wonderfully. It’s a testament that trees know how to take care of themselves.
“Besides the wonderful reverence, it’s not very often in an agricultural-based community like Wilton that we see a tree like this. It’s partly from being on an old homestead,” she said, protected from development that resulted in a “wonderful circumstance.”
The top-ranked white oak in the state is in Sharon, which earned 405 points. It has a circumference of 281 inches, is 95 feet high and has a spread of 115 feet.
The tallest white oak is in Westport at 132 feet.
A West Hartford tree has both the greatest circumference — 294 inches — and the greatest spread at 117 feet.
The Sharon and West Hartford trees are Connecticut co-champions.
Wilton has a co-champion tree in a European white birch that is tied with a tree in Manchester. It was nominated in 1987. At the time, this tree was 66 feet tall with a circumference of 111 inches and a spread of 65 feet.
The birch is the fourth tree on Wilton’s Notable Tree List, along with two other white oaks, both of which are on Danbury Road. One is just north of Zion’s Hill United Methodist Church and the other is in the woods across from Orem’s Diner. That one has a circumference near the size of the oak just added to the state list, but it is not in the best condition.
Wilton’s Notable Tree List is a way to educate Wiltonians about trees in general, and special trees in town, Throckmorton said.
“We are looking for more beautiful trees and cooperative property owners,” she said.
Community members may nominate trees to be added to the list. Criteria include age, size, rarity, association with an historical event, or tangible value to the community. All nominations will be qualified by the tree warden and tree committee.
Nomination forms are online at wiltonct.org/departments/environmental/tree.html or property owners may call the Environmental Affairs Office at 203-563-0180 for information.
Click here to view Connecticut’s Notable Trees list.