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Champion Trees

The ACC (Athens-Clarke County) Community Tree Council (CTC) and the ACC Central Services Department, Landscape Management Division (LMD) jointly sponsor a program to find the County’s Champion Tree for each species of tree that is growing in Clarke County, Georgia. A Champion Tree is simply the largest representative tree of its species in the county.

With the initiation of this program, the CTC will maintain both an updated listing and a historical record of Clarke County Champion Trees. Any tree growing in Clarke CountyDeodar Cedar, whether native or exotic, may be nominated, and anyone can do the nominating. To be accepted for consideration, a complete Clarke County Champion Tree Nomination Form must be submitted to the ACC Community Tree Council. Nominations may be sent either electronically or by mail. Using the point system outlined below, the County Forester will verify the champion status of all qualified nominees. Certificates issued by the CTC will be awarded to both the owner and nominator of all Clarke County Champion Trees.

Purpose:

To create public enthusiasm about conserving Clarke County trees, to educate area citizens about trees, to promote awareness of the environmental benefits that trees provide, and to foster sentiments of respect for the beauty and historical significance that trees possess.

Eligibility:

Any tree growing in Clarke County Georgia, whether native or exotic, may be nominated. The only eligibility requirement is that a tree must be growing in Clarke County and be representative of the species to be nominated as a Clarke County Champion Tree.

Measurements

Trunk Circumference – The circumference of a tree is measured in inches at a point 4 feet above the center of the base of the tree (on a slope, this will be on the up-hill side). If a growth or branch exists on the trunk at this point then the measurement is taken at a point below the growth where the circumference is least.

Vertical Height – The height of a tree is measured in feet of vertical distance from the base of the tree to the top of the upper-most twig. It is difficult to get an accurate height measurement without specialized equipment; therefore, an estimate of tree height should be made. An accurate height measurement will be made later by a qualified forestry professional.

Average Crown Spread – To determine the average crown spread of a tree, make a measure of the crown width in feet at the widest spread and a second measurement at the narrowest spread, use the center of the trunk’s core as an imaginary axis point for making both measurements. Add these two measurements together and divide by two to arrive at the average crown spread.

Scoring:

The champion tree of each species will be determined by a point system figured as follows: one point will be awarded for each inch of trunk circumference, plus one point for each foot of vertical height, plus one point for every four feet of crown spread. The tree with the highest score for each species will be declared Champion. Trees within five points of each other will be declared Co-Champions. Tree identification and all measurements must be verified by the CTC before any tree is declared to be a Champion, or a Co-Champion.

It should be remembered that all the trees named as Champion as of this date were done so by personal nomination. It does not mean that that the tree nominated is necessarily the largest tree, but only the largest tree so far nominated. All citizens are encouraged to find a tree to replace a champion. Below is a nomination form for Champions you can fill out and send in if you find a tree species that (1) is not on the list, or (2) scores higher than the one on the list.