Nearly 400-year-old Indy oak tree under attack

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A magnificent oak tree that’s been around longer than Indianapolis itself is in danger.

Located at the corner of Temple and Brookside Parkway on the east side of the city, it’s become the symbol of a neighborhood. Those who cherish it, are asking for your help.

It’s technically a Chinquapin Oak, but all who see it just say it’s big.

“It’s 221 inches around. Can you believe that? It would take five people arm in arm to hug this tree,” says Bob Adsit, who owns the home behind where the tree sits.

It’s a tree that’s more than 18 feet around. And it’s old.

“I guess between around 350 years old. It could be pushing 400 years old,” says Sheila Adsit, Bob’s wife.

That means it was sitting in the spot, now in front of the Adsit home, 150 years or more before Indianapolis was selected as the site for the state capitol.

Bob says he tries to imagine the tree in its early years.

“1600s. Maybe there were (Native Americans) around here sitting on the banks of the Pogue, eating fish out of the stream, and having a pow wow up here on the hill,” he says.

Ironically, this grand old oak is under attack by a tiny enemy–the oak lace mite.

“They get into the leaves and eat the chlorophyll out of the leaves. And yellow the leaves and deprive the tree of nourishment,” Bob says.

It also has a lot of deadwood that needs to be removed. To get it all taken care of, it would cost the Adsits thousands of dollars they don’t have.  So the Springdale neighborhood, which considers the tree its symbol and mascot, is working together to raise money to get it treated.

The Adsits say it’s a tree that needs to be saved, not for them, but for everyone.

“We put a bench down here. People sit under it. They pray around it. They touch it. They hug it,” Sheila says.

The neighborhood calls the tree the Temple Oak, because it sits at Temple and Brookshide Parkway.

If you want to help, just contact the John H. Boner Community Center in Indianapolis, and tell them you want to donate to the Temple Oak Fund.

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