“The oak is a fine choice to represent all of America’s trees, and to exemplify the importance of trees in our lives.” —John Rosenow, President
Oak—The People’s Choice for America’s National Tree
Nebraska City, Nebraska
“The oak is a fine choice to represent all of America’s trees, and to exemplify the importance of trees in our lives,” John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, said. “People of all ages and backgrounds responded enthusiastically to the vote, which was the first time that the entire American public has been able to state their pick for a national emblem.”
People were invited to vote for one of 21 candidate trees, based on broad tree categories (genera) that included the state trees of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, or to write in any other tree selection. The redwood, maple, pine, and dogwood rounded out the top five choices.
An oak was planted the same afternoon at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the birthplace of Arbor Day in 1872.
“We undertook this vote to remind Americans of just how vital trees are to us all, and to emphasize the history and grandeur of our trees,” Rosenow said. ”By any standard, oak merits the distinction of being named the people’s choice for America’s National Tree.”
Among the many strong attributes of oak, Rosenow cited its diversity, with more than 60 species growing in the United States.
“This magnificent tree is significant in sheer numbers alone,” he said, “with oak trees being America’s most widespread hardwoods. From the earliest settlement of our country, oaks have been prized for their shade, beauty, and lumber.
“Oak‘s amazing strength and longevity have also made this tree a central part of our history,” he added, “with leaders as diverse as Abraham Lincoln, William Penn, and Andrew Jackson being associated with them. Another early ‘hero’ of American history, ‘Old Ironsides,’ or the USS Constitution, was famed for repelling British cannonballs thanks to its thick, live oak hull. The American people have chosen wisely in so honoring the oak.”
This Web site, the official Web site of The Arbor Day Foundation, offers an opportunity to learn more about the candidate trees and the final vote tally for each tree.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member, nonprofit education organization that helps people plant and care for trees.