Historic Balmville Tree faces uncertain future


The "Balmville Tree," a national landmark in Newburgh, dates back to 1699 and is currently supported by cables. It can be found at the intersection of Balmville Road and Commonwealth Avenue. (7/22/15)

NEWBURGH - The oldest known living cottonwood tree in the country has stood in the Hudson Valley since before George Washington's birth, but safety concerns could uproot its longstanding landmark status.

Harvard scientists have determined that the Balmville Tree on Balmville Road in Newburgh began growing in 1699, but large limbs appear close to breaking off, officials say.

Part of Balmville Road is closed off near the tree.  The state DEC sent an arborist to assess the condition of the tree and weigh it against looming safety issues.

If officials do decide the tree must come down, one local man says it will continue to live on.  

Richard Severos, who lives across the street, planted a cutting of the original tree in 1999. The offshoot is growing just fine.

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