MORE Proof of Old Trees on the Battlefield

Exhibit #8: The Arkansas State Monument Tree

This lovely photograph of the Arkansas State Monument witness tree appears courtesy of Mark Hartshorne of Las Cruces, NM.

This venerable and large tree – with a diameter ranging from 40-44 inches about a foot off the ground – had stood for around two centuries just a few yards north of where the Arkansas State Monument on West Confederate Avenue stands today.

The tree was removed by the National Park Service in mid-August 2023. As was discovered when the tree was cut, the central core of the trunk had severely rotted away over the years, so we can never know the tree’s exact age. However, we can note that in one 9-inch section of outer radius, we can count 120 rings; this means that the tree has averaged over 6 years to grow each inch of diameter since about 1900.

A closer examination of the rings shows that the tree’s growth rate had been in the range of 5-8 years to grow each inch of diameter until about 35 years ago (about 1988), when its growth rate slowed down significantly, suggesting that the tree started slowly dying in the late 1980s. The Gettysburg Daily website noted that the tree was looking unhealthy in this article from 1988.

This white oak had also been one of the handful of remaining trees on the battlefield to sport a bronze inventory tag.

Click here to get a closer look of the rings of the now-gone witness tree that stood near the Arkansas State Monument.