Amathole's Champion Trees – a 163-year old Oak and a double-lightning strike survivor!
Species:Quercus robber Common name: Oak Age:163 years old
Planted by a forestry worker in 1858, the De Fin Oak is the earliest known planting of an exotic tree in the original Crown Forests of the Eastern Cape border area. At 163-years old, the oak is now dying back and has developed signs of pitch canker, nevertheless, it is still an impressive specimen, both in terms of its stature and its age.
Amathole Forestry works hard to ensure the area around the tree is kept clean. Since 2004, the tree has been monitored every two years to track its progress. While age is taking its toll with only a few of its main branches still intact, the De Fin Oak is a Champion Tree, one that has spanned three centuries, making it a tree that deserves celebrating this Arbor Week.
Species: Pinus radiata Common name: Monterey pine Age: Approximately 136 years old
Planted in the 1880’s the Isidenge Pine is the tallest pine in the Eastern Cape, measuring a mighty 51 meters heigh, with a crown that is over 15.5 metres wide. Even at its base, this tree is a colossus, with a circumference of 4.74 metres.
Declared one of South Africa’s Champion Trees in 2017, this was the same year that the tree was first struck by lightning. The tree was struck again in 2020, one of the perils of being so tall, but thankfully the lightning strikes have not damaged the tree too severely. The tree is now monitored every two-years and kept clear of any impacting vegetation.