Guide for Healthy Trees
Glossary of Terms
OHIO BIG TREES
Big Trees Program
Measuring a Tree
Nominate a Big Tree
OHIO BIG TREE CHAMPIONS
Ohio's National Champions
National Register Big Trees
Ohio State Plant Facts
What Tree Is It?
America's forestry movement actually started in Ohio with the creation of the American Forestry Association in Cincinnati in 1875.
Lisa Bowers, (614) 728-4210
Division of Forestry
2045 Morse Rd.
Columbus, OH 43229
There are three measurements required to nominate a champion tree:
The circumference of the tree is to be measured at 4.5 feet above the ground on the uphill side of the tree. If the tree forks below 4.5 feet then measure the circumference of the largest stem at 4.5 feet. If the tree forks at 4.5 feet, then measure the circumference at the smallest place below the fork.
The best tool to use to measure circumference is a flexible tape measure or one can use a non-stretch string and a ruler. To ensure an accurate measurement make sure the tape or string is perpendicular to the axis of the trunk and is not twisted. Remember that all circumference measurements need to be made in inches.
The total height of the tree is considered to be the distance between the base of the tree trunk and the topmost twig. The most reliable measuring tools are the Abney hand level, clinometer, or transit. If these tools are not available, one can measure the tree’s height with a straight stick.
Average Crown Spread
For the crown spread, you will need two sets of measurements to get an average. First, step away from the tree and take a look at the tree’s crown. More than likely the tree is not symmetrical, and it has a narrow and a wide side. Measure from the outermost branch on one side to the outermost branch on the other side of a tree. The measurement should be to the nearest foot and be done for both the narrow spread and the wide spread.
Then average these two measurements by adding them together and dividing by two:
(wide spread + narrow spread) / 2 = Average Crown Spread
Scoring Your Tree
Champion trees are determined on the basis of points awarded in the following manner:
Once you have the total points of your tree, compare it with its species on the Ohio Tree List and if your tree scores higher than the current champion or is close in points to a current champion, submit your nomination.
If you have difficulty in measuring a Big Tree, measure the tree to the best of your ability and note on the nomination form that you have estimated or were unable to measure.
All State and National champion trees will be checked by a big tree program representative.