An ancient tree enduring many centuries

Swing under the large oak tree (camera looking east towards Shoal Creek) circa 1917

Swing under the large oak tree (camera looking east towards Shoal Creek) circa 1917

In honor of the nation’s bicentennial, the City of Austin created a tree registry in 1976, whose purpose was to record trees “which are either exceptionally old, tall, large in diameter, well-shaped, rare, historically significant or otherwise unique.”  The Splitrock Live Oak is recorded as the eighth largest live oak in Austin, also tenth largest tree in Austin, with a trunk circumference (in 1976) of 16’10”.  In 2017 the diameter of the tree measured almost 6 feet. The tree is noted to have limbs extending 25 feet from the trunk, which then drop to the ground and extend an additional 10 feet.  The 1976 registry further notes that the tree is the tenth largest tree of any kind in Austin.  A slightly smaller Austin live oak was estimated to be 700 years old, sprouting in about 1200 A.D., so the Splitrock Live Oak is similarly ancient. The builder of Splitrock, Thomas F. Burns, most likely appreciated this old tree, since he sited the house next to it. Several heritage live oak trees surround Splitrock and the huge canopies continue to provide shade offering respite from the intense Texas summer heat.

WagonUnderOakTree

* content pulled from Suzanne Deaderick & Elizabeth Cash book titled “Austin’s Pemberton Heights” history and images of the historic Pemberton Heights neighborhood.