This Tree Stands out Among a Forest of Thousands at Wessex Hundred

One of the most magnificent trees on the Wessex Hundred farm predates the founding of America.


The Williamsburg Winery founder Patrick Duffeler calls the 300-year-old white oak the “Tree of Life.”


“With my Germanic background, I just love oak trees,” Duffeler says. “A 300-year-old tree is very important.”


Entering Wessex Hundred, Lake Powell Road dips slightly. Concealed by pine trees on the driver’s side just before the dip stands the Tree of Life, more than 65 feet tall.


Duffeler planted more than 60,000 trees among the 420 acres that make up the farm, but this one is especially precious.


Preserving it is important to him, among the reasons he contacted Bill Apperson for advice. The retired forester says the Tree of Life is still growing, and anticipates that with the proper care, it will still be around for another 200 years.


Reducing foot traffic around the tree will be critical to its continued growth, Apperson said. Too many passers-by leads to soil impaction. Duffeler said he’s looking into putting a fence around the tree so visitors to the farm can still enjoy it up close.


“We’d like to make it a special place,” he says. “I want it to be a place for people to go and talk about the story of the farm.”


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