What are Champion trees?
Champion trees are the largest of its kind, in that species. Some species, like oaks and maples, get much larger than species like dogwoods and serviceberries, so we measure each species in its own class.
Measurement is done by professionals and volunteers all over the state. They involve three key measurements:
- Height of the tree from the base to the top
- Circumference of the trunk at 4.5 feet (also known as circumference at breast height, CBH)
- The average width of the crown.
One adds the height, the circumference, and 1/4 of the canopy spread. This gives you a number, which you can compare with other large trees, to see if it’s the largest in the county, state, or nation.
Does Arlington have Champion trees?
Because we have such dedicated volunteers, and a strong history in preserving trees, Arlington has some amazing champion trees, including state champions and one national champion! One tree we recently re-measured is the state champion Dawn Redwood (http://bigtree.cnre.vt.edu/detail.cfm?AutofieldforPrimaryKey=1838), which is a whopping 114 ft tall, and has a giant trunk. This tree is native to China, but finds our soil to be as suitable as its home country. Like our native baldcypress, it’s a deciduous conifer, and loses its leaves in the winter. Check out the picture on the left for this beauty, which can’t even fit in a single picture.
Where can I find them?
We have 1 National Co-champion (a Dwarf Hackberry), 49 State Champions, and 59 County champion trees. While some trees are on private property, and you need permission to view them, many of them are on county land. Check out the maps and registers below, for locations and more information:
http://gis.arlingtonva.us/gallery/index.html – GIS Gallery of all our maps, including Champion trees.
http://bigtree.cnre.vt.edu/ – State register of Virginia big trees.
http://www.americanforests.org/explore-forests/americas-biggest-trees/champion-trees-national-register/ National register of champion trees.