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New Jersey’s 10 Awe-Inspiring Trees

New Jersey, especially Princeton, is covered in historic and memorable trees.

New Jersey is dotted with historic trees, many dating back to Colonial America. Many are associated with key moments in history, some with George Washington who, according to popular history, rested, ate under or walked past them.

As these landmark trees continue to age, their health and maintenance is becoming more and more critical to their survival. Arborists are regularly called in to inspect these great trees for disease and bugs. Some are specially pruned to help them grow without stress on their limbs.

1. The Mercer Oak, named after Revolutionary War brigadier general Hugh Mercer, stood in the Princeton Battlefield for more than 300 years. In 1973, a lightning strike weakened it and it fell on March 3, 2000 during a wind storm.

Mercer Oak, stood in the Princeton Battlefield

2. The “Kilmer Oak,” a 160-year-old white oak tree on the campus of Rutgers University that is said to have inspired poet Joyce Kilmer to write the poem “Trees” was chopped down on Sept. 18, 1963. It had died.

3. The Ho-Ho-Kus Elm, located along the Franklin Turnpike, was cut down in 1937. The Ho-Ho-Kus library has a limb from the tree on display.

4. The Salem Oak in Salem is said to be more than 600 years old. Standing 85 feet with a 22-foot diameter, it’s located on the Friends Burial ground.

5. The Shoe Tree of Belvidere: A 350-year-old oak on Oxford Street, where residents walking to church once stopped to put on their fancy shoes for Sunday worship.

6. The Council Oak of Bound Brook: An oak on Mountain Avenue, where Somerset County settlers reached an agreement to acquire land from two Raritan Indian chiefs in 1681.

The Council Oak of Bound Brook

7. Affectionately called the “Forest Gump,” the 300-plus year old red oak tree is located near the Carriage House on Duke Farms.

8. The Devil’s Tree of Basking Ridge: A lonely oak in a vast field off Mountain Avenue, where a young woman accidentally shot her fiancé during a 1948 hunting trip.

9. The Washington Buttonball: Another tree under which the first president sought shade. This sycamore still stands on Route 519 in Hope Township.

10. The Shoemaker of the Garden State Parkway: A 60-foot American Holly that survived after engineers decided to reroute the road rather than chop it down.


By Dave Hutchinson | NJ Advance Media for

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