Famous Trees of Texas – Burges Oak

 “When I am forever from this life,
Erect no marble shaft for me,
But plant, somewhere upon a dusty road
An acorn in my memory.”

This is the first stanza of a poem that’s attributed to Richard F. Burges, a WWI army officer, attorney, advocate and state legislator from El Paso. In 1915, Burges, a tree advocate, bought a sapling live oak from California. He planted it in his backyard. He did this against the common wisdom of the day which said that oak trees could not survive the harsh desert climate of El Paso.

Also in 1915, Burges, who was a state legislator, introduced a bill to create a new agency to govern and nurture the forests of Texas. With the support of forestry advocates such as W. Goodrich Jones, the bill passed and was made into law. Thus, the Texas Forest Service was created and it’s still in operation today.

With the same commitment Mr. Burges gave to all his causes, he nurtured his live oak to maturity. El Paso residents saw what he did and followed suit. Pretty soon, live oaks were thriving throughout the community. The Burges Oak still stands and remains a living testament to the tenacity of live oaks and the early residents of Texas.

We thank folks like Mr. Burges for believing in trees and working to improve their care throughout our state. He was an active advocate for trees and proved many people wrong. We, at Austin Tree, admire his spirit and encourage you, if you’re ever in El Paso, to go visit the Burges Oak or just enjoy the live oak trees lining the streets. You can thank Mr. Burges for his tenacity and diligence. We hope to carry on his spirit by caring for Texas trees as he would have done. We are happy to take care of your trees. Give us a call at 512-341-8888 today. We are happy to help you.