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Champion Trees

Image of sycamore tree.
The trunk and crown of the American sycamore. This is the largest known tree in Maryland.

champion tree is the largest known tree of a given species in a particular geographic area. Some champions are very large trees and some champions are rather small. The largest known tree in Maryland, an American sycamore, is more than eight feet across. The largest known pawpaw in the United States is just ten inches across. Both of these trees are in Montgomery County.

In Montgomery County, the Forestry Board keeps track of and measures more than 300 large and significant trees. They use this information to identify the Montgomery County Champion of each species. The Forestry Board has kept a list of champions since 1989.







Image of a champion tree
Click here for the video
Watch a video about Champion Trees in Montgomery County
produced by the Gazette newspaper.


Measuring Champions

Champion trees are measured and given points. The tree with the most points is considered the largest. The formula for the points is:

Trunk Circumference (inches) + Height (feet) + 1/4 Average Crown Spread (feet) = Total Points 

Champion trees in Montgomery County are measured using the same guidelines used by the American Forests National Big Tree Program. Each tree must be measured at least once every ten years to maintain its champion status.

This Champion Tree Measurement Formula was developed by Fred Besley, Maryland's first State Forester. With some modifications, it was later adopted nationwide and is still used today. Mr. Besley began keeping records of "notable trees" in Maryland in 1925.


Image of a tape measure around the circumference of a tree.
A measuring tape around the trunk of the champion American
sycamore showing it’s circumference.





       Image of Measuring a Champion TreeImage of two people measuring a champion tree.
  Forestry Board members measuring the circumference  of a nominated tree.



Current Champion Trees  


Registers of Montgomery County Champion Trees

The Montgomery County Forestry Board publishes a new list of Champion Trees every odd-numbered year.

                                               Image of 2015-16 Register of Trees Cover                                           


The 2015-2016 Register of Champion Trees, Montgomery County, Maryland is available in several formats.

► View the 2015-2016 Champion Tree Register, digital version,  (PDF, 3.8MB)


Past Registers of Champion Trees in Montgomery County are available. 

► View the 2013 Champion Tree Register, digital version (PDF, 5.7MB)

► View the 2013 Champion Tree Register, hard-copy version  (PDF, 4.5MB

View the 2011 Champion Tree Register, digital version (PDF12.9MB)

 View the 2011 Champion Tree Register, hard-copy version  (PDF12.8MB)

View the 2009 Champion Tree Register, digital version (PDF11.4MB)

View the 2009 Champion Tree Register, hard-copy version  (PDF, 11.5MB)

View the 2007 Champion Tree Register,  (PDF, 9.2MB)

View the 2005 Champion Tree Register,  (PDF, 7.5MB)

View the 2003 Champion Tree Register,  (PDF, 5.5MB)



You Can Nominate a Tree

Do you know of a great tree? Do you think you found a champion? You can nominate it. The Forestry Board accepts nominations at any time. Complete the nomination form below or call the local office of the Maryland Forest Service at 301.854.6060.