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Five state champion trees designated in Chatham County

By Al Cooke, Extension Agent, Horticulture
Posted Monday, August 27, 2012

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Pittaboro, NC - Walton Haywood, chair of Grand Trees of Chatham has been advised that four newly recognized state champion trees have been recognized in Chatham County bringing the county total to five. Alan Moore of the North Carolina Forest Service, in an email to Haywood, indicated that the four trees were nominated by someone from Virginia who submits frequent nominations.

The following trees are now listed on the NC Forest Service website:

Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea, on the site of the Veterans Memorial in Siler City at the intersection of Alston Bridge Rd. and S. Second Avenue. The tree was measured at 114 feet tall with an average trunk diameter of 55 inches with a crown spread of 64 feet – largest scarlet oak in the state.

Kentucky coffeettree, Gymnocladus dioicus, on the site of the Chatham County Court Building (former library) next to Suntrust Bank in Pittsboro. The tree was measured at 77 feet tall with an average trunk diameter of 32 inches with a crown spread of 55 feet – co-champion with trees in Jackson and Forsyth Counties.

Carolina laurelcherry, Prunus caroliniana, (aka cherrylaurel) at the residence 106 Pittsboro Elementary School Road in Pittsboro. The tree was measured at 45 feet tall with an average trunk diameter of 27 inches and a crown spread of 50 feet – co-champion with a tree in Richmond County.

American elder, Sambucus canadensis, (aka elderberry) on the south side of US 64 east of Pittsboro and one mile west of Mt. Gilead Church Road. This tree was measured at 16 feet tall with an average trunk diameter of 7 inches and a crown spread of 24 feet – co-champion with a tree in Washington County.

The additional tree which has stood as a champion for some years is a chalk maple, Acer leucoderme, on Corps of Engineers property. From Hanks Chapel Road it stands about ½ mile up Robeson Creek on the south side of the creek. The chalk maple was originally measured at 44 feet tall with an average trunk diameter of 7 inches and a crown spread of 29 feet – largest chalk maple in the state.

Details about these trees may be found on the NC Forest Service website.

While some of these trees are on public property, visitors are always requested to respect the rights of property owners when searching for these or other trees.

Obviously even small species have their champions. Considering the location of the 4 newly recognized trees, it seems possible that the alert nominator may have just driven across the county on US 64 taking time to cruise back streets in Pittsboro and Siler City looking at trees. Who knows what other champion trees may await discovery.

Grand Trees of Chatham invites nominations for county champions (at least 75% the size of state champions) as well as Historic, Landmark, or Meritorious trees. To learn more about qualifications for these trees visit the GTOC website.

Look to the bottom of the page to download a nomination form. Exact measurements are not required for nomination as the evaluation committee will perform exact measurement. For trees nominated in other categories, especially for Historic, documentation is required for the nomination to be considered. Historic trees must be at least 50 years old with verification of association of some historical event or location.

 
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Five state champion trees designated in Chatham County
 
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