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More than 70 new American Forests Champion Trees crowned

Posted: October 30, 2014 

Washington, D.C. (October 29, 2014) — American Forests has crowned 72 new national champion and co-champion trees in its fall 2014 update to the national register of American Forests Champion Trees. There are now 798 national champions — the largest trees of their species — listed in the register, available online at www.americanforests.org/bigtrees.

Highlights include:

  • The states with the most champions are Florida (131), Texas (90), Arizona (75), Virginia (69) and California (56).
  • Oregon has gained the most new national champions, adding nine national champions to its list.
  • Virginia lost the greatest number of champions. Six of its national champions were dethroned: two flowering dogwoods, two southern bayberries, a Norway spruce and a pecan that was dethroned by a pecan in Kentucky. Virginia also gained six new national champions this year, maintaining its total of 69 champions.
  • This year, a total of 20 champions were dethroned, including three co-champion flowering dogwoods, all dethroned by a new champion flowering dogwood in Georgia. 

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“The development of my first American Forests Champion Trees list for fall 2014 was a very exciting and rewarding process,” said Bryant Smith, coordinator of American Forests National Big Tree Program. “It is encouraging to witness such terrific support for the program. I look forward to continued interaction with the big tree community and to the development of the 2015 list of American Forests Champion Trees.”

The American Forests Champion Trees national register, sponsored by The Davey Tree Expert Company, accepts nominations for national champions year round, and American Forests releases an updated version of the register twice a year. This record of the largest trees of each species in the United States is based on height, circumference and average crown spread.

This October’s release also coincides with The Davey Tree Expert Company’s publication of a 2015 wall calendar celebrating 75 years of the program and 25 years of the partnership with American Forests. The calendar will feature photographs of current and former champion trees from throughout the program’s history and will be available to new members of American Forests.

“More than a century ago, The Davey Tree Expert Company was founded with the goal of making sure trees receive the best care available,” said Sandra Reid, vice president of corporate communications and strategic planning. “We understand that the maintenance of healthy trees and forests today helps ensure their survival for generations to come. By supporting the National Big Tree Program for 25 years, Davey has been able to bring into focus the value of all trees and the environment in which they live and thrive.”

American Forests is also debuting its first comprehensive Big Tree Measuring Guidelines Handbook today, available online at www.americanforests.org/bigtrees. The guidelines, laid out for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of expertise, were developed over the last two years by the American Forests Big Tree Measuring Guidelines Working Group, headed by Robert Leverett of the Native Tree Society and Don Bertolette of the Alaska Big Tree Program, along with American Forests’ staff. The handbook was created to help ensure that all champion trees have been accurately measured to confirm they are the biggest of their species. The guidelines define and describe the techniques for accurate measurement of big trees of all sizes and how to handle challenges such as trees growing on slopes, multi-stemmed trees and obscured views of a tree’s crown, among others.

Since 1940, American Forests National Big Tree Program has promoted the importance of planting and caring for trees and forests in helping to sustain healthy ecosystems and life on Earth. The program has campaigned to locate, protect and save the biggest specimens of every native and naturalized tree species in the United States.



American Forests protects and restores urban and rural forests. Founded in 1875, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country has served as a catalyst for many of the most important milestones in the conservation movement, including the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the national forest and national park systems and literally thousands of forest ecosystem restoration projects and public education efforts. Since 1990, American Forests has planted nearly 50 million trees in forests throughout the U.S. and in 44 countries, resulting in cleaner air and drinking water, restored habitat for wildlife and fish, and the removal of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Learn more at www.americanforests.org.


The Davey Tree Expert Company’s more than 8,000 employees provide tree care, grounds maintenance and environmental consulting services for the residential, utility, commercial and government markets in more than 47 states and 5 Canadian provinces. Davey has provided Proven Solutions for a Growing World since 1880, and 2014 marks 35 years of employee ownership. For more information, visit www.davey.com.

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