Oldest Trees in Texas

9 Oldest Trees in Texas

Texas is a state in the South Central region of the United States, known for long and hot summers and short and windy winters, ideal for many plant and tree species. Some of the most common ones are different types of Oaks that Texas is known for, as well as Cedar Elm, Texas Ash, and American Sycamore.

Texas trees have a great chance of longevity because of a mild climate and good mostly clay soils.  With more than 1,300 different kinds of soil recognized, Texas also has a diversity of vegetation, landscape, and geology that contributes to successful crops.

With many monumental and historically influential plants, the state can take pride in some of the oldest trees in the country. Texas is also the home of one of the oldest living oaks in the world, with an estimated age of 2,000 years.

If you are interested in some of the oldest trees in the United States, continue reading the list of the top 9 oldest trees you could visit today in Texas!

9. Freedmen’s Bois d’Arc

Estimated Age: Around 200 years
Status: Dead
Location: Brazoria, Texas
Species: Maclura pomifera

Freedmen’s Bois d’Arcphoto source: Famous Trees of Texas

Bois d’Arc trees are famous trees in the Texas countryside. The trees are also known as Osage orange trees or horse apple trees because of the fruit it bears, resembling a large, bumpy apple. The fruit is unrelated to the orange despite the name, usually not eaten by humans or animals.

The two famous trees were a place for a Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands meeting where slave freedom was discussed in 1865. The Freedmen’s trees grew on the plantation home of John B. Sweeny Jr. before the last one standing was declared dead in 2011.

Did You Know?

Sweeny family has a lot of family tombstones found in cemeteries throughout Brazoria County in Texas. It’s unknown what the family did for a living, but they were slave-owners. A soldier Thomas Jefferson Sweeny was one of the more notable members of this family.

8. Founder’s Oak

Estimated Age: Around 400 years
Status: Alive
Location: Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas
Species: Quercus fusiformis

Founder’s Oakphoto source: Everlasting Elopements

Founder’s Oak has stood tall and proud for over 400 years, starting with the Spanish Catholic missions in the 18th century. Close to the Comal River, Founder’s Oak, with 17 feet in circumference, has welcomed many travelers, missioners, and settlers over the years.

This tree was also a mature plant when the “Kingdom Highway”, or El Camino Real de Los Tejas road between Northwestern Louisiana and Mexico established by Spanish explorers in 1714. Spanish Mission “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” was located close by in 1756.

Did You Know?

New Braunfels has German and Hispanic heritage, noted as one of the 50 best places to live in the United States. This Texas town is home to the world-famous Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Texas’ oldest bakery, “Naeglin’s Bakery”.

7. Bur Oak

Estimated Age: Around 400 years
Status: Alive
Location: Bob Woodruff Park, Plano, Texas
Species: Quercus fusiformis

Bur Oakphoto source: Texas Historic Tree Coalition

Plano’s Bur Oak is considered the oldest living tree in North Texas. Because of this, people have been helping the tree stay strong and tall over the years, patching up cracks and damages done by time and different animals. Bur Oak is around 90 feet tall and 16 feet in circumference.

For years, citizens thought the tree was over 200 years old until one of the fallen branches was inspected thoroughly, revealing the right age is 400 years. Plano’s citizens celebrated the tree and its rich history at Plano’s 2002 Arbor Day Celebration

Did You Know?

Bur Oak trees are sturdy, with heavy wood and durable bottoms and roots. Thick bark enables these trees to withstand much more than other Oaks. The largest Bur Oak, located in Cooke County, Texas, has 22 feet in circumference and a crown spread of 111 feet.

6. Indian Marker Oak

Estimated Age: Over 500 years
Status: Dead
Location: Private property, Burnet, Texas
Species: Quercus fusiformis

Indian Marker Oakphoto source: Texas History

Indian Marker Trees got their name from Native Americans who used them on their migratory journeys through the country. Comanche Indians spent their summers in Florida and winters in Mexico and used Texas Live Oaks along Hamilton Creek in Burnet to mark their camping spots.

Many of these pecan trees were bent to the ground to help with the marking. With their trunks bent, the trees stayed and grew in the same position. One of those oldest trees dates back to over 500 years ago, but unfortunately, the tree is not alive anymore.

Did You Know?

Indian Marker Trees are one of the most significant witnesses through history, having been explained in “Famous Trees of Texas, Centennial Edition” as one of the 100 most important trees in the state.

5. The Waco Oak

Estimated Age: Between 400 and 600 years
Status: Alive
Location: City of Waco, Texas
Species: Quercus virginiana

The Waco Oakphoto source: Texas Historic Tree Coalition

The Waco Oak is a five-tree grove with an average age estimated to be between 400 and 600 years. The tallest tree from this grove is 60 feet, and the greatest circumference is 19 feet. The average height is 55 feet, with an average crown spread of 93 feet.

The grove is located close to the place where Indigenous people used to live along the Brazos River for thousands of years. The Waco Grove gets the name from the Wichita Indian tribe, also known as the “Waco”, who once occupied the region.

Did You Know?

In the middle of the forest stands a Texas Centennial Marker from 1936 commemorating the Waco Indians and their part in history. The Marker stated that the Waco Indians were forced to move because of the Comanches, but it recently changed the culprit to the Cherokees.

4. The Old Baldy

Estimated Age: Over 500 years
Status: Alive
Location: Onion Creek, Austin, Texas
Species: Taxodium distichum

The Old Baldyphoto source: Tree Folks

The Old Baldy is a nickname for a bald cypress estimated to be around 550 years old, with a height of 103 feet and a circumference of almost 17 feet. Baldy was the winner of the Austin Tree of the Year Award in 2012. 

In 1716, the tree was also a shelter for a Franciscan missionary Father Isidro Félix de Espinosa of Querétaro, on his second expedition through the area. Espinosa noted the tree and its benefits in his then diary.

The Old Baldy is nowadays on a hiking trail, ideal for visitors. 

Did You Know?

The Old Baldy is one of the oldest bald cypress trees in Texas. The world’s oldest bald cypress, called “The Senator”, is located in Longwood, Florida, with its remarkable 125 feet in height. 

3. The Treaty Oak

Estimated Age: Over 500 years
Status: Alive
Location: West Line Historic District, Austin, Texas
Species: Quercus fusiformis

The Treaty Oakphoto source: Famous Trees of Texas

The Treaty Oak tree has as rich of a history as its canopy. It used to be a meeting place for Native American Tonkawa and Comanche tribes before the European settlement of the area. The Treaty Oak is the last tree standing out of the grove of 15 trees. 

In the act of vandalism, the tree was poisoned with the herbicide called velpar, losing a couple of its branches. But it was soon saved by the efforts of people who captured the vandal and helped the plant by soil replacement and misting the tree with spring water. 

Did You Know?

The Treaty Oak still stands tall and strong, as it has been for the last 500 years. It was nominated in 1927 to the American Forests’ Hall of Fame for Trees as the perfect specimen of a North American tree. The city of Austin saved the tree from being removed ten years after. 

2. Columbus Oak

Estimated Age: Around 500 years
Status: Alive
Location: Private property, Colorado, Texas
Species: Quercus virginiana

Columbus Oakphoto source: Trip Advisor

The Columbus Oak is the second-largest oak tree in Texas, with 70 feet tall trunk and 27 feet in circumference. Not to be confused with a Columbus Court Oak, located in the same state that isn’t alive anymore. 

Colorado’s motto is “City of Live Oaks and Live Folks”, symbolically tying up the significance of this oak for Texas’ history. The tree is close to the Colorado River on private property, but it is also accessible to the public who wishes to see it in person. 

Did You Know?

The area around the Columbus Oak was settled by Stephen F. Austin, known as the “Father of Texas”. Austin brought 300 families and their slaves to the region in 1825, colonizing the area and creating the mixed population of today. 

1. The Big Tree

Estimated Age: Over 1,000 years
Status: Alive
Location: Goose Island, Rockport, Texas
Species: Quercus virginiana

The Big Treephoto source: The Botanical Journey

The Big Tree is one of the oldest living oaks in the world, estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. Some speculate that it could be close to 2,000 years old, but there are no specific measurements. This Virginia Live Oak is located near the Gulf of Mexico, at Goose Island State Park. 

The name is closely related to the size of the tree since it measures over 35 feet in circumference and is 44 feet tall.

All trees surrounding this magnificent tree are offspring. The Big Tree also has a plaque at the entrance that says how the tree is tired and to leave it in peace once you, as an admirer, are ready to go. 

Did You Know?

The Big Tree held the title “Texas State Champion Virginia Live Oak” from 1969 to 2003, when a larger oak was discovered in another county also in Texas. But it is still considered one of the more prideful trees of this state. 

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