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Photo of three people on the Marlboro Tree
Dr. Paul Kovalski, who discovered the tree in 1997, poses with tree surgeons after the professional pruning of the Marlboro Tree, April 30, 1999

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The Marlboro Tree
A Local Legacy

How old do trees live to be? There is a black willow tree in Marlboro, New Jersey, that is more than 150 years old. It started growing before the Civil War. Not only is the Marlboro Tree old, but it's also huge. It's 76 feet tall and over 19 feet in circumference (the measurement around the trunk of the tree). Five adults would have to hold hands to fully encircle the trunk. The Marlboro Tree is the largest black willow in New Jersey and the largest tree in Marlboro. In fact, the New Jersey Forest Service has certified it as a "State Champion" because of its size.

Black willow trees usually grow along lakes and streams, where they help prevent erosion (the wearing away of soil by water). Black willows have blackish-colored bark and are known to have several trunks on one tree. The wood of the tree is light and flexible, so it is often used to make artificial limbs, wicker baskets and furniture.

The Marlboro Tree is also special because it grows in an area where many dinosaur fossils have been found. Because of its unique history, the town has made a special effort to preserve the Marlboro Tree for future generations to enjoy.

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