Flora's Oak is recommended for honor.
The Wye Oak was Maryland's biggest white oak from 1925 to 2002 when a storm took it down. The apparent heir to its title is Flora's Oak, which grows on a farm near Barnesville in Montgomery County, Maryland (about 45 miles northwest of Washington D.C.).
The tree, named Flora's Oak in honor of a relative, is estimated to be 200 to 300 years old and stands 107 feet tall, with a trunk circumference of 22.3 feet and a crown spread of 115 feet. It doesn't have the girth of the Wye Oak, whose hollowed-out trunk was more than 31 feet around, and its crown is four feet narrower. But the Pepes' tree is 11 feet taller.
Source: "Mighty Oak Poised to Become MD State Tree") by Susan DeFord, Washington Post, December 28, 2007.
The Pepes family, owners of the farm where the big white oak grows, have been giving their tree some TLC since they became its owners. The steps they took will help most any tree achieve its maximum size and maintain its health:
-- Clearing away underbrush and competing trees
-- Allowing the branches to spread freely and achieve a natural balance
-- Installing grounding wires to protect it against lightning strikes
-- Having professional arborists check it for disease and insects
-- Avoiding herbicide use in the area
-- Applying fertilizer regularly
The article I read about Flora's Oak didn't say that the Pepes family had been watering the tree during dry spells, but surely they have been.
Flora's Oak has been growing since the Pepes family took over its care, 17 years ago. It's now 1.8 feet larger in trunk circumference, 17 feet taller, and 22 feet wider in the crown. Not bad for one of nature's slow-growers.
Officials of Montgomery County have recently written to the Maryland governor's office asking that Flora's Oak be declared the Maryland State Tree.
Maryland honors the white oak, its state tree, on its state quarter, and well it should because mighty white oaks do grow in Maryland.