SALEM, N.J. (CBS) -– Fall foliage lovers need look no further than Salem County to check out New Jersey’s largest oak tree. The Salem Oak is now considered the largest oak according to an annual list of NJ’s Big Trees produced by the NJ Forest Service.
A spokesman for the service says that the death of a white oak in North Jersey last year bumped the Salem Oak up the list. The tree, which is more than 600 years old, is in the Friends Burial Ground on West Broadway in Salem.
“We are very attentive to its needs and it gets pruned and wired if it needs to, it gets fed regularly and we have a sprinkler system under it,” says Mary Waddington from the Salem Religious Society of Friends which maintains the burial ground and the tree.
Tradition maintains that in 1675 Quaker John Fenwick founded the town of Salem when he signed a treaty with Native Americans under the tree.
Nature lovers who want to see the changing colors this autumn can take in the view while grabbing a sandwich and slice of pie at the Salem Oak Diner across the street, named for the tree.
“It’s been here so long and everybody just loves it and they just come here and watch out of the diner and look at the tree,” says Hasan Yardim whose father owns the diner.