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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

The McDonald Garden Center Southern Red Oak Tree

Towering a colossal 70-feet tall and 96-feet wide, this Southern Red Oak stands near the glass pavilion and alongside the deck at the McDonald Garden Center Independence location and has long been an iconic fixture at the garden center.

The Southern Red Oak began life in the mid to late 1800’s and was most likely planted to mark the property line at that time. In 2000, construction began on the Glass Pavilion. The raised deck was constructed to leave the tree roots undisturbed. Paving on the west side of the tree is the actual floor of the farm tractor shed built many years prior. The Music of the Spheres wind chimes were added in 2002, to enhance the graceful charm of this grand old tree. If you haven't already, be sure to stop and take a moment to enjoy the soothing sounds of the beautiful wind chime as it plays its song in a gentle breeze. Here are a few interesting facts about the McDonald Garden Center Southern Red Oak:

  • 155-inches in circumference or 49-inches in diameter (these measurements give the tree 321 Virginia Big Tree points in 2018).
  • For more about Virginia Champion trees go to
  • This tree cools the area as much as 5-9 degrees on hot summer days.
  • Over the life of the tree, it has sequestered over 20,000 pounds of carbon and release tons of oxygen back into the atmosphere.
  • For more information about the many benefits of trees go to