Nation’s largest sugar maple cut down 240 years after planted

KENSINGTON, N.H. — A record-breaking sugar maple tree believed to have been planted during the Revolutionary War was finally cut down Monday after time and weather took their toll on the centuries-old tree.

Janet Buxton, whose family has owned the Kensington, N.H., property since 1954, watched as a crew from Cornerstone Tree Care spent the day removing what until Monday was the nation’s largest sugar maple.

“We have enjoyed her for the 67 years we’ve lived here,” Buxton said, as workers used chainsaws and a crane to remove the giant tree. “We call her ‘The Old Lady.’”

The tree, along with its much healthier sister, was planted around 1780, Buxton said, and has since made a name for herself.

The maple, standing more than 100 feet tall with a crown spread of more than 100 feet across, has been recognized by the New Hampshire Big Tree Program and the National Register of Champion Trees.

“If I was here alone, I’d be crying my eyes out. It’s very sad,” said Buxton, who proudly showed Boston 25 News her tree’s certificates. “Even before she was well known or written up or made anything of, we knew she was a special tree.”

Buxton and her family have been good stewards of the tree. It has never been tapped for syrup, and, in recent years, it has been professionally maintained. But over time, harsh weather has beaten and broken it.

“The crew… are here today to euthanize this tree that has been in ICU for a long time,” Buxton said. “We’ve had some terrible windstorms, and a big crack in it has enlarged. And it has become a danger – a possible damage to the house or somebody walking under the limb.”

But, in a way, the tree will live on. Admirers from around the country have inquired about taking some of the wood after it has come down.

“People have called wanting to make bowls and furniture. But it’s going first to the siblings, then other family members,” said Buxton, who has five living siblings. “Then to whoever wants a piece.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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