Man wants to save the last Penn Oak tree in Oxford Borough
● By Steven Hoffman
An Oxford man is looking to rally support to save what is believed to be the last Penn Oak tree in Oxford Borough.
Steven D. Seivwright explained in an interview last week that he treasures the tree, and he would like to see his neighbors decide to do what is necessary to save it, rather than paying to cut it down.
“We have, in our development, the last Penn Oak tree in the Borough of Oxford,” Seivwright explained. The tree is situated on two different parcels in the development, and all the homeowners in the development have deed restrictions and must help maintain the tree that the development is named after.
Seivwright said that he has lived in the Penn Oak development for the last 18 years. The development itself, which includes 27 homes, is a few years older than that. A Homeowners Association comprised of all the homeowners who pay their dues will ultimately decide the tree’s fate. Seivwright said that while some of the homeowners in the community share his viewpoint that the tree should be valued and saved, while others don’t want the ongoing costs and work of maintaining the large tree in the center of the community.
According to Seivwright, Faye Doyle, a former president of the Oxford Area Historical Association, years ago enlisted an arborist to examine the tree. At that time, it was determined that the tree is, indeed, a Penn Oak tree. Its age has been estimated at 350 years.
Seivwright, who is in the landscaping business, noted that some Penn Oak trees can have lifespans of up to 800 years if they receive the proper care and maintenance. The Penn Oak tree is still in fairly good condition, he said, but it needs to be cabled and properly maintained on a continuous basis.
Seivwright said that he consulted with a tree expert who provided an evaluation of the tree. It will cost approximately $4,700 to cable the tree and provide some maintenance work to it. The costs to cut it down are estimated at $12,600—but, of course, that would eliminate the need to pay to maintain and care for the tree in the future.
Because this is the last Penn Oak tree in the borough, Seivwright said, it’s important to do everything possible to save it.
“I’ve always taken a special interest in the tree,” Seivwright explained. “It has reached the point where it needs additional care. But a majority of the neighbors now want to cut it down. In this neighborhood, it’s a democracy, and there was a close vote with the decision being to cut the tree down.”
Seivwright is hoping that enough neighbors will come together in support of maintaining the tree.
At one time, there was a group Penn Oak trees located on the green near the Oxford Presbyterian Church in the center of town, but the last one was removed more than a decade ago. Seivwright said that he would hate to see the last Penn Oak tree in Oxford suffer the same fate.
“In today’s world, old things aren’t always treasured,” he said. “I really do want to see the tree saved for the future. It’s too important to just cut it down.”