I can picture TR walking with the Hays and picking out a nice spot to plant the maple sapling. Simon asked our forestry guide Dode Gladders how much longer than its current 120 years he thought the tree would live. I’m happy to report that Dode believes the tree will live for another hundred or maybe even another two hundred years.
Learning about this Roosevelt tree made me wonder if our 26th president was in the habit of gifting and planting trees. I was beyond pleased to find out that trees were his go-to housewarming gift.
His penchant for planting trees may have started in the 1890s when he planted a copper beech near the entrance to his new estate Sagamore Hill on Long Island in New York. Fungus was the trees demise in 2019 but a new cooper beech tree was planted in its place. The wood from the old beech was repurposed as benches around what is now a National Historic Site.
Roosevelt didn’t plant the same type of tree but chose trees based on the climate. In 1903 when TR took his first trip to California, he planted a palm tree that stands to this day.
In 1905 Roosevelt went on a whirlwind tour of Texas. He spent 75 minutes in Fort Worth which included a quick stop at the Carnegie Library on Main Street--just long enough to plant an elm tree.
The University of Idaho folks were thrilled when Roosevelt paid a visit in April of 1911. His planting a blue spruce tree on campus drew a huge crowd. A celebration was held in 2011 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of his historic visit and no doubt admire the famous spruce.
I wonder if TR ever heard that Chinese proverb “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.”