Although Plano is said to derive its name from the Spanish word for plains, trees are an important part of the city. The Arbor Day Foundation has honored Plano with the Tree City USA designation for 32 years. For National Archives’ #ArchivesHashtagParty for May, we are going to take a look at two of the most interesting #ArchivesTrees in the city.
Tree Slice at Genealogy Center
The Haggard Library Genealogy Center is home to a tree cookie – a cross-section of a tree’s main trunk that reveals its age and tells us about its life – from a 79-year-old pecan tree cut down near the 10th hole of the Pecan Hollow Golf Course in 2012. As an Eagle Scout project, Daniel Duncan built the stand to hold the cookie. His family helped him deliver the stand to the lobby of the Genealogy Center. City of Plano Parks and Recreation staff had to “cook” and seal the tree to kill any bugs before delivering it to the library. The cookie barely fit on the elevator! The labels on the rings of the cookie include significant notable local historic details dating back to 1932.
Clint Haggard, Robert and Mary Jo Hamrick, and the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Inc. funded the project.
Plano Quadricentennial Bur Oak
Measuring in at approximately 90 feet tall with a circumference of 213 inches and a 103-foot crown spread, the Quadricentennial Bur Oak at Bob Woodruff Park is the oldest living known tree in North Texas. Although many trees in the area were used as lumber by settlers before it was a park, the bur oak was spared and has continued to grow.
In 1987, the tree was designated as the Bicentennial Tree based on the age estimates from local arborists. However, in 2006, strong winds took down two large branches that were used to estimate the tree’s age more accurately. One limb was found to be 226 years old, meaning the tree was more likely to be over 400 years old. The name was changed from the Bicentennial Bur Oak to the Quadricentennial Bur Oak to reflect the actual age. Many efforts have been taken over the years to keep the Quadricentennial Bur Oak healthy and alive, including adding a lightning protection system, structural rods for support, and fencing.
Replacing Trees in Plano
Recently, an organization called One Tree Planted awarded the City of Plano $5,000 to plant 15 trees. Volunteers helped plant these trees at Hoblitzelle Park. New trees are planted to replace trees lost in Winter Storm Uri (as well as add some much-needed shade!) You can learn more about tree plans for Plano from the Urban Forestry team in Parks and Recreation.