Minnesota's Ancient Trees

To get your arms around history, consider the ancient trees


The Rockwood Oak is located on a trail near Wirth Lake, just east of Theodore Wirth Parkway between the Olson Highway and Glenwood Avenue. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find it, that it’d blend into the sylvan background, but I really shouldn’t have been. The Rockwood Oak looks, compared to its neighbors, almost impossibly ancient. In 2011, it was damaged in the tornado, as were a great number of the trees in the area, a small part of the vast swath of wreckage of that storm. The damage to the Rockwood Oak manages to make it look even more grizzled and primeval, stooped over, blackened with age, covered in bulbous forms on the trunk. It looks at once vulnerable and completely impervious to the passage of time.

When the sapling that would grow into the Rockwood Oak pushed its way through the ground by a lake around 1700, Rockwood’s great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was a teenager on a farm somewhere far, far away from the Upper Mississippi River. When the tree finally dies, Rockwood himself may well have been gone for well over a century. There are oak trees in the United States that are almost 1,500 years old. Who knows how many more centuries it may have in it.

Minneapolis Heritage Tree Program

Location: Rockwood Oak

Comment: My own oak tree story. When my Dad died in 1999, I bought an oak tree for the back yard. It was planted in Summer 2000. it will be a great tree someday ... but boy it is a slow grower.

1 comment:

  1. Bachmann's did some consultation for me last year (context was the loss of a tree). Their arborist advised that we have two ash that we will likely lose to the emerald ash borer. Hopefully we will be out of our house and into a condo before that time.


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