twigs from felled champion oak
  May 11, 2006 15:38 PDT 

The champion white oak in Wisconsin was just felled for firewood a few
weeks ago by the farmer who owns the land it lives on. The tree, approx
19'circ., was a beautiful open-grown oak, dating from the pre-settlement
praries of southern Wisconsin. I counted 194 rings from a piece of wood
from the top of the trunk, some 40 feet up or so, making this tree at
least 240 years old. It was healthy when it was cut, having bore an
impressive acorn crop last fall.

Another venerable tree lost to human stupidity...but:

I saved twigs from the tree! The oak was cut in mid-March or so, before
it blossomed; my twigs have swelling but unopened buds. They are still
alive; I'm keeping them in the refrigerator. I know of grafting attempts
done with the late Wye Oak in Maryland, and so I have been trying to
find white oak rootstock for these twigs. No luck so far.

Can anyone help me try to (genetically) save this historic tree? If any
of you are skilled at grafting and have some white oak rootstock, I
would be happy to express mail you the twigs. Or if any of you have some
advice for me, I'm all ears.

Ryan McCarthy
RE: twigs from felled champion oak   Paul Jost
  May 11, 2006 18:25 PDT 

I don't have legal access to any. I assume that you are still in Wisconsin.
Try contacting a local nursery, here's a Wisconsin list:

Paul Jost
Re: twigs from felled champion oak
  May 12, 2006 07:37 PDT 

There are many bare root dealers on the web. Most are wholesale only, but at this time of the season they may work with you. I have used Lawyers in Montana. I think you would have to buy liners and cut the tops off to make the root stock. I haven't seen oak root stock offered.

Here in Pa we have kept the Shackamaxon Elm alive in the same way. This is the tree that William Penn signed the first treaty with the indians under. It blew over in the 1840's, but a scion was taken and grown. It was estimated to be about 400 years old. There have been several generations of the tree propogated. I have two of the great grandchildren from the larger specimen at Haverford college growing here. So it is possible.
I wish I were closer to you. I don't think your cuttings would survive a trip in the mail this time of year. Check with a local tree nursery to see if they would help you out. They may even want to market it.