Our family trip to see the Angel Oak

Published 11:01 am Friday, August 11, 2023

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The Angel Oak’s massive branches reach nearly 100 feet from the trunk of the tree. (Charlotte Fox)

I had the opportunity to travel to Charleston, South Carolina a few weeks back to attend a meeting with my wife. We took our two youngest daughters with us and did all of the touristy things. We had to stop at Buc-ee’s, and let me tell you if you haven’t, it will blow your mind. It’s the largest gas station I have ever seen and they have nearly everything.

 My middle daughter, Charlotte, and I did a search around the area for all of the OBX filming spots. I have no idea what OBX is but apparently most teenagers do. We saw some amazing places and got some great pictures too. The funniest part to me is when we went to see Wreck of the Richard and Charlene. This was in a little canal called Shem Creek where multiple shrimp boats were docked across the river from Charleston. I was looking for a shipwreck, so I was confused why there was no shipwreck to see. My daughter let me know that it’s a little restaurant featured in the show. We also visited the aquarium and took a horse drawn carriage ride. Oh, by the way, did I mention the incredible food? I promise if I lived in Charleston, it would take more than F3 to keep me from being as big as a house. I would recommend all of this if you visit the area. Of course, Charleston is also home to one of the coolest trees ever, the Angel Oak.

The tree, an old Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) is actually on St. John’s Island but it is owned by the city of Charleston. It is about a 10-15 minute drive from Charleston but totally worth it if you are in the area. All of the literature states that it is around 400 years old. Imagine that, around the year 1600, when one of the oldest settlements in the nation was founded, this oak tree germinated from an acorn and began to slowly grow into this massive tree. The tree sits in the middle of a park, open to visitors year round with free admission and has picnic areas. However, parking is at a premium and not allowed inside of the park unless you have a handicap permit for your vehicle.

We have live oaks here in Eastern North Carolina as well. In fact, they line the waterfront in Washington. These trees are designed to withstand hurricanes and salt water. I have seen several majestic live oaks in our area with Spanish moss waving in the breeze but nothing like the Angel Oak. They are typically low growing, spreading trees, rarely reaching a height over 50 feet but having branches that will double that in their spread.

The Angel Oak in contrast is 65 feet tall and its largest single branch reaches 89 feet from the trunk (that’s 89 fee in one direction) The Angel Oak shades an area of 17,000 square feet, that is over eight 2,000 square foot houses that would be shaded by its massive branches.

NC State Extension provides unbiased, research-based, University information to you the consumer or producer. If you have not visited your local Cooperative Extension Center, you may be pleasantly surprised by all of the information, workshops, and programming we offer

We have a fall veggie class September 9 and a veggie sale on Saturday September 16.  Call our office or look on the Beaufort County Master Gardeners Facebook page for more information. If you are interested in the Extension Master GardenerSM Volunteer (EMGV’s) program training, now is the time to call our office or visit the website (beaufort.ces.ncsu.edu) for more information. We’ll have a training session on Tuesdays at the Beaufort County Center from 9:00-12:00 beginning on September 19. If you are interested, please send in your application!

If you are having an issue in your home garden or landscape, send your questions to Gene Fox, Consumer Horticulture Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, please email Gene at gene_fox@ncsu.edu or call at (252)946-0111. Learn more on Facebook at the Blacklands Area Horticulture page or visit the Extension Office located at 155 Airport Road in Washington, NC!