Well before Columbus sailed to the New World and even before Gutenberg invented the printing press, there grew a great oak tree in a land that would one day be called New Jersey… "We had great hopes," said Dennis Jones, the pastor at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. "All eyes were on the tree to see how it would green." When it didn’t last month, when even more of its upper branches stayed bare, other experts were consulted. They tested the soil, probed the tree’s roots, checked for beetles and disease. Jason Grabosky, an ecologist at Rutgers University, inspected the tree in mid-June and declared it, after more than 600 years, to be "in a spiral of decline."
/ / The oldest white oak tree in the country is dying — and no one knows why