Big Tree

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Longwood’s Big Tree at 3500 years old is the oldest living thing in Florida. Towering 126 feet the huge cypress, nicknamed the “Senator,” has a girth of 47 feet and contains an estimated 50,000 feet of lumber. Think about it, this gentle giant was an adult tree before the birth of Christ and although it has survived hundreds of lightening strikes, it is still alive and well. It was considered the largest cypress tree in the country until 1970 when a challenger was discovered in a Louisiana swamp and that began a squabble as to who has the biggest. The American Forest Association has now listed the Louisiana tree on Cat Island as the world’s largest cypress. The Senator’s supporters have argued that the Cat Island tree is only 83 feet tall but Louisiana says it’s fatter with a girth of 56 feet and has an 85 foot crown spread which beats the Senator’s 56 foot top. But wait a minute complained the Florida tree’s fan club, that squatty Louisiana tree is only 1500 years old, no way can it compete with the Senator’s age. Yes, but age has nothing to do with size explained an arborist…that’s one of those guys who study trees. Florida foresters argue that the rating scheme is flawed because that big-butted bayou tree in Louisiana is really two trees that have grown together. Louisiana defenders say that’s not true, the trees in the Cat Island swamp are “multi-stem cypress caused by special genetics. The contest goes on with one expert suggesting cutting down both trees and grinding them up and weighing the sawdust. But rest assured nobody’s going to chop down the Senator.

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