116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa’s state tree is an oak, and that’s not surprising, given that oak trees are among the most bountiful type of tree across the state.
It’s also one of the longest living trees in North America.
In particular, white oak trees are know to be some of the oldest trees in Iowa. Scientists say that these trees can live up to 500 or even 600 years in the right conditions.
The oldest known white oak tree in the state is located in Pammel State Park in Madison County, just southwest of Des Moines.
According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the tree dates back to 1634, making it nearly 390 years old. That’s more than 140 years before the American Revolutionary War started.
The Des Moines Register wrote an article in 2018 about the search to find Iowa’s oldest trees. Pammel State Park was home to several 400-plus-year-old white oak trees, but many have died over the years.
Unfortunately, trees sometimes don’t live that long because of a variety of reasons.
Earlier this month, a landowner in Lee County was told the white oak tree growing on her family’s land was in the path of a pipeline a Texas company hopes to build. The tree is the state’s third-largest of its species, and is estimated to have been planted before 1850 — making it at least 172 years old.
Other trees topple because of natural causes.
An oak tree that was believed to have been the oldest tree in Iowa fell in 2004 or 2005 because of strong winds. At that time, it was estimated to be 442 years old, making it the oldest white oak tree on record at the time, a forester told The Gazette.
You can see a cross section of the tree on display at the Wallace Building in Des Moines.
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