The Remarkable Willow Oaks of J.B. Cary Elementary

Quercus phellos

May 5, 2021 · 1 minute exploration
The Remarkable Willow Oaks of J.B. Cary Elementary

There are many massive willow oak trees in Richmond. Too many to count. And willow oaks can become massive in a few ways. They can grow very tall — some in the area have grown to at least 80 feet in height — and well as crown spread. But my favorite willow oaks in the area have fluted bases that spiral upward and outward, producing tree trunks that are incredibly broad at chest height.

Two remarkable examples of willow oaks with massive circumferences, trees that beg be walked around slowly and marveled at, exist at the southern end of the John. B. Cary Elementary School field complex. I’ve been driving past these two trees for years taking my son and now my daughter to Richmond Little League events at the baseball/softball field there. For years, the tree along the fence line where Huxley Street dead-ends into Grant Street grabbed my attention. I only noticed recently another even larger willow oak back up the one-way Grant where Walpole Street comes in.

Words can’t possibly due the girth of these trees justice. They must be stood under — and back from at the proper remove — to be appreciated. Hopefully, these pictures will give you a sense for why a road trip to see these beauties is a good idea… (and we’d love to hear about any other willow oaks that you think might be as big or bigger than these!)

Above: the first, smaller, tree closer to the baseball field.

The circumference of the smaller tree.

The fluted base of the smaller willow oak.

The larger of the two trees.


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