‘Matriarch of apple industry’: Vancouver’s Old Apple Tree dies at 194

Clark County

The Old Apple Tree lives on in offspring planted around the community

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After surviving for almost 200 years, the Old Apple Tree in Vancouver has died, according to city officials.

In recent days, dying leaves suddenly appeared throughout the tree, said officials. Alarmed by the symptoms, the City of Vancouver’s Urban Forestry team did a check up on the tree, after which they concluded that “for all practical purposes” the old tree has died.

In their assessment, arborists noted that the tree appeared to have shifted earlier this month, which cut off the cambium layer of the tree—the layer that “serves as the arteries that transport water and nutrients to the canopy” and keeps the tree alive. The recent hot weather further accelerated the tree’s decline.

The Old Apple Tree in Vancouver has died after 194 years. June 27, 2020 (KOIN)

The Old Apple Tree was 194 years old.

According to city officials, the Old Apple Tree Research Team has been preparing for this inevitability. The team had cultivated several root suckers which are now small, healthy trees growing around the Old Apple Tree.

The tree was planted as a seed in 1826 at Fort Vancouver, and is considered to be the “matriarch of the apple industry in Washington State.” In 1830 the tree was responsible for the first apple harvest in Clark County, in the form of a single apple. It has offered up nearly two centuries of seeds and apples ever since.

“The Old Tree also lives on in offspring planted around the community. Cuttings obtained by arborists have been handed out to the public during the City’s annual Old Apple Tree Festival for many years.”

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