White Oak (The Wolf Oak, The Patriot Oak)
Patriot Oak Gardens, 4418 Marietta Avenue, Columbia PA
Jack Wolf, Vicky Martin, Immo Sulyok
Almost 30 years ago arborist Jack Wolf reported a trunk circumference for this tree of 192 inches, a crown spread of 112 feet, and a height of approxi- mately 100 feet. In 2019, the trunk circumference was 222 inches. These measurements would make this tree tied for 7th largest White Oak in Penn- sylvania, if it were listed at Champion Trees of Pennsylvania ( trees.com). Moreover, some of the oaks listed ahead of this tree are described as "in decline" while the Wolf Oak is not.
The tree's age was estimated at 305 in 1989 which, if accurate, would make it about 335 years old now. The earlier figure may have been an overestimate; still, this is a very old tree (see plaque). A White Oak in Delaware County, which has a comparable CBH, has been listed as a Penn Charter Tree by pabigtrees.com.
Jack Wolf, his wife Barbara, and land consultant Immo Sulyok devoted years as well as personal and professional resources to this tree, with the Wolfs purchasing the property it stood on and creating the White Oak Nature Preserve in its honor. The effort nearly bankrupted Wolf’s tree service com- pany and the Wolf Oak outlasted its own preserve. Fortunately the current owner cherishes this tree.
Vicky Martin (4th photo) bought the property in 2007 and "unearthed the National Arborist Association plaque while cleaning up junk and over- growth. We've been calling it the Patriot Oak due to its age." The oak, she said, "continues to thrive and grow."
"I don't really feel as if I have owned the tree these 12 years," Martin said. "But I do feel very lucky to have it on my property. I feel it should get more recognition." Martin, who has named her property Patriot Oak Gardens, has buried several pets under the tree's boughs.
This amazing species can reach 140 feet in height and yet trees growing at high altitudes may never exceed the size of a small shrub.