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Big Trees and Where to Find Them


trees

The state of Florida is well known for preserving its population of native trees, plants and animals. This southern state is made up of four different climatic zones; tropical rainforest, tropical monsoon, tropical savanna, and humid subtropical.

Because of these zones the wildlife population in Florida is incredibly diverse, the temperature and growing conditions drastically effects plant-life from the North to the South and, comparatively, West to East. Florida’s hottest temperatures bring about tropical plants and trees, such as Orange, Lemon, or Palm Trees and in the North we find native Oaks, Figs, Maples, Pines, Dogwoods, Plums, and Myrtles.

Native trees and water basin in Florida at sunrise.

Species that are native to a location are critical for the survival of surrounding ecosystems. Forests and trees are important for wild animals, other plants, and humans because they help clean the air by trapping debris in their canopies, provide food and shelter, and also prevent soil erosion. American Forests is a non-profit conservation organization that helps protect and restore healthy forest communities throughout the world, especially in the United States. They focus on critical issues with tree sustainability surrounding water, wildlife, climate change, recreation, and cities.


Big trees are measured by crown spread, height, width, and health condition.

“Two mature trees provide enough oxygen for one person to breathe over the course of a year.”

-American Forests

Since 1940 American Forests has managed The National Big Tree program which recognizes and catalogs the largest of each tree species in the United States. Every year an updated list of our largest trees is published by dimensions of species, location, circumference, crown spread, height, and total points.

“One large tree can capture and filter up to 36,500 gallons of water per year”  

Tall trees reach heights in the sky.

 

The total points earned by each tree is calculated by this formula: 

(circumference in inches) + (height in feet) + (1/4 of the crown diameter in feet)

 

TO NOMINATE A TREE FOR THE NATIONAL BIG TREE PROGRAM

  • Name of the tree being nominated
  • Circumference of the tree in inches, measured 4.5 feet above the ground
  • Height to the nearest foot
  • Average diameter of the canopy (crown) to the nearest foot
  • Location of the tree
  • Date measured and by whom
  • Name and address of property owner
  • Photograph of the tree and the date taken
  • Description of the tree’s physical condition

Here are a few noteworthy champs, the largest of their species
Douglas-fir: 327 feet tall, Coos County, OR
Sequoia: 274 feet tall, Sequoia National Park, CA
Live oak: 68 feet tall, St. Tammany Parish, LA
Flowering dogwood: 67 feet tall, Clarke County, GA
Pussy willow: 30 feet tall, Page County, VA
Southern crabapple: 27 feet tall, Kent County, MD
American elderberry: 21 feet tall, Lake County FL

Visit americanforests.org for more about their work and the registry of our champion trees. And, next time you go out for a walk, maybe you’ll find a giant tree in your neck of the woods!

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