The Washington Post

Arlington’s old post oak comes down

An arborist takes down the remains of the 250-year-old post oak in Arlington, limb by limb. (Patricia Sullivan/The Washington Post)

A cross section of one limb. (Patricia Sullivan/The Washington Post)

Arlington County Parks and Natural Resources employee Vincent Verweij with a post oak leaf in Arlington. (Dayna Smith for The Washington Post)

Part of the wood will go to the parks department, where Verweij and others will get a better measurement of its age and condition. Some portions of the tree will also be saved for research and display purposes.

A number of residents have also asked about getting mementoes from the tree, including a bench for the neighborhood. Environmentists, neighbors, local artists and craftsmen “came out of the woodwork,” said Alonso Abugattas, natural resource manager, and a number of pieces have been set aside.

It was one of about 230 trees in Arlington lost during the storm. The winds also felled three of the oldest trees in Arlington Cemetery, which were among the 25 toppled there.

Trees have a limited lifespan, although this one exceeded others of its type by more than a century.

Patricia Sullivan covers government, politics and other regional issues in Arlington County and Alexandria. She worked in Illinois, Florida, Montana and California before joining the Post in November 2001.


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