Archive for May 16th, 2011


Considering Tree Rights

May 16, 2011

In the 1800s, Professor W.H. Jackson so loved his white oak that he deeded the surrounding eight-foot diameter ground to the oak. Strong winds forced the 400-year-old oak over in 1946 (some articles say 1952). Local residents planted a descendant acorn and then protected it with granite posts linked together with chains. Jackson’s land deed inscribed on a stone slab reads:

For and in consideration of the great love I bear this tree and the great desire I have for its protection for all time, I convey entire possession of itself and all land within eight feet of the tree on all sides. — William H. Jackson

To this day, nobody owns the descendant but the oak itself.

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Although my husband and I own the private road and the oaks on the opposite side of the utility lines, it’s unlikely that we could have legally won a case against PG&E to save our trees. Perhaps a land deed would protect the rest of them from this:


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