The 105-foot American Elm, which resides in the 500 block of the White Horse Pike, turns 226 in June 2019.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 29, 2019
Just a few weeks shy of its 226th birthday, the largest living being in Audubon was honored with an early birthday gift: a roadside plaque.
Although it’s been around since George Washington’s second presidential administration, the 105-foot American Elm tree has a more prominent place in history than in the 500 block of the White Horse Pike in which it resides.
So on April 26—Arbor Day—borough officials dedicated a highway marker to the tree, which holds the distinction of being the largest reported tree in the state of New Jersey.
“I’ve never actually given a proclamation to a tree before,” said Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash before putting the scale of its longevity into perspective.
“It’s outlasted every president,” Nash said.
“It’s outlasted the building of a road,” he said. “It’s outlasted the formation of Camden County. It’s the oldest reported tree in New Jersey.”
The tree, which has an average 90-foot crown spread has also been nominated for the national register of champion trees. According to the American Forests National System, it’s a 303-point tree.
Audubon Commissioner Rob Jakubowski said he hopes the elm’s honors will inspire other communities to inventory their shade trees with an eye towards conservationism.
“We’re the champion for now,” Jakubowski said.
“If someone wants to take a shot at the title, if that means more people are looking at their trees, taking care of their trees, I’m all for it.”
Audubon values its tree-lined streets for their positive environmental impact and community appeal, Jakubowski said.
Both he and Nash said more pedestrians will soon be able to enjoy them as the county government advances its rails-with-trails project along the Atlantic Avenue corridor.
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