Everyday Gardeners

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Osage-Orange Tree Fundraising

Organizers of a push to save a 180-year-old Osage-orange tree in Kewanee, Illinois, are now accepting donations for a fund dedicated to the tree’s maintenance.

The sole remnant of a farm shelterbelt planted before the Civil War, this Osage-orange (Maclura pomifera) is being preserved for posterity.

The sole remnant of a farm shelterbelt planted before the Civil War, this Osage-orange (Maclura pomifera) is being preserved for posterity.

After the city of Kewanee agreed to prune the historical tree rather than remove it, volunteer arborists inspected the aged specimen to see what is needed to preserve the tree and protect public safety. While it appears to be in good health, the Osage-orange has a serious lean that could be a safety hazard.

Arborists are hoping to attach a cable support system to the primary limbs next summer and may devise a temporary support in the near term. Meanwhile, the city is looking into the repair of the buckling sidewalk and the removal of three parking spots next to the tree—both for safety’s sake and the long-term health of the tree.

If you would like to support efforts to preserve this priceless relic, you can send donations to:

Osage-Orange Tree Fund

Peoples National Bank of Kewanee

207 N. Tremont Street

Kewanee, IL 61443

The fund is dedicated strictly for the tree, and any surplus funds will be kept in the tree’s account for follow-up work.

3 Responses to “ Osage-Orange Tree Fundraising ”

  1. Great report Luke! Thanks for helping to pass the hat. If everyone can send in even a few dollars, soon, we can (and will) save this historic tree.

  2. Good Job, Luke! I look forward to seeing and helping this historic specimen. The city did an excellent job of mitigating the risk by pruning, which corrected most of the lean and greatly increased stability.

    It’s a pleasure to work with a municipality that manages risk (which is everywhere, all the time, in all of our infrastuctures) instead of running from liability, which some may do when they lack scientific guidance.

    If a support beam cannot be installed behind the tree, one (or two?) could be installed in the present parking space(s). The design of course would need to accommodate utilities and road maintenance. We have an expert in tree preservation and support on board, Mr. Philip van Wassenaer of Urban Forest Innovations in Toronto.

    Philip was recognized this year as a Professional in Arboriculture by the International Society of Arboriculture. He uses sound waves to assess intact wood, and calibrated pulling tests to assess stability.

  3. What a great idea. Hope you get a lot of responses and money to preserve the trees.

    Good luck!

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