The Big Tree

Kate Grumke / KBIA

Arborists and tree lovers from across Missouri joined together Tuesday to care for the famous "Big Tree," just South of Columbia, a Bur Oak that is hundreds of years old- and starting to show its age.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Before the American Revolution, before the Civil War, before Lewis and Clark came through here, a huge tree has been standing in central Missouri, growing to 90-feet tall. The beloved bur oak – which everybody calls "The Big Tree" -- has survived floods, lightning strikes and all kinds of punishments during her 350 years on the prairie. But, as Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe reports, last year’s record drought was especially hard on the Big Tree.

The 'Big Tree' beckons

Apr 10, 2013
Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The first day of spring doesn’t feel that way as John Sam Williamson and Chris Starbuck meet up on a county road outside Columbia, Mo.

Temperatures are below freezing and a cold wind is whipping along the flat land here on the Missouri River bottoms. Williamson, a farmer whose family has owned this land for six generations, tugs at the bill of his John Deere cap and Starbuck, a retired University of Missouri plant scientist, pulls his Arborist Society stocking cap further down over his ears.