Heritage tree. AJAX
AJAX — A stately red oak tree in Ajax has been formally nominated to become Ajax’s first official heritage tree.
Located on public lands just metres west of Veterans’ Point Gardens near Harwood and Lake Driveway, the well known red oak, if approved, would become the 16th tree to be recognized by Trees Ontario http://www.treesontario.ca
In order to be approved for heritage status the tree must meet numerous qualifications including historical significance, association with well-known historical persons, uniqueness as an entity or as a landmark.
The nominated red oak is estimated to be around 200 years old according to Tim Field, supervisor environmental services for the Town of Ajax.
A certified arborist, Mr. Field believes that because of the tree’s location it most likely was planted by one of the farmers who operated on this parcel of land. Historical land records confirm that the oak resides in an area that was part of a 5,000 acre parcel of land originally given to Major John Smith in 1792. The British major was awarded the land for his loyal service in his Majesty’s forces during the American Revolution.
Red oak trees can be found east of Lake Superior and across central and southern Ontario. Needing room to grow as well as full sun, they are able to tolerate a variety of moisture levels. This, along with the tree location, can most likely account for its mature status.
Mr. Field, along with his staff, is responsible for the ongoing care of the mature tree.
“Each year we do an annual assessment during the summer months and then schedule a pruning of the tree now that all of the foliage is down. No limbs are removed, just the deadwood portions.” He believes that while the tree is not in any danger of imminent demise it is entering the latter years of existence. A driving force in securing heritage status for the tree, Mr. Field is already planning ahead, having planted several red oaks close by, securing an oak tree legacy for future generations. If approved, plans are being developed to formally recognize the tree during Ajax’s Green Living Days this April.
Bill Main has lived in Ajax since 1990 and fell in love with the tree soon after.