There is a new title holder in Pender County. It has been around for more than 150 years, but just recently earned state champion recognition.
“I have shown people the tree in pictures and they can’t believe it. You have to see it for yourself to grasp just how big it is,” said owner Charles Rousey.
Big is an understatement. It is an old oak tree, between 150 & 200 years. The tree can’t talk, but oh the stories it could tell if it could. If it could talk, it would tell you it is 85 feet tall and 221 inches around. The canopy of the tree spreads 61 feet from one side to the other.
You can find this tree on Point Caswell Road, just outside Atkinson in Pender County. It is a Laurel oak, and it was recently named the largest of it’s species in the state. Charles and Molly Rousey even have a certificate to prove it.
You could call it the family tree. The Rousey’s get to wake up with it, go to bed with it, and swing on it every day. “The kids play on the swing a lot. They run around the tree and try to chase each other and play games,” said Charles.
Molly Rousey added, “The tree, we think, is the world’s largest passive air-conditioner. Hardwoods evaporate thousands of gallons of water per day. Combined with the shade and the cooling effect that the moisture has when it evaporates it cools the area around it and given the tree is on the north side of the house we get that direct benefit.”
“A lot of oaks tend to live a couple hundred years, and we feel the first hundred years they’re really happy and the second hundred they’re kind of on their death bed and I do this tree is on its way out,” said Molly. The best estimate is the tree has about 30 to 40 years left.
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