Conservation Connection: Missouri Champion Tree program
(KPLR) – As fall colors start to appear all around us, trees capture our attention in autumn. The Missouri Department of Conservation maintains a State Champion Tree program that recognizes the most outstanding examples in Missouri. Urban Foresters Mark Grueber and Perry Eckhardt talked with John Fuller about the program, and some state champions right here in St. Louis.
Q. What is the Missouri State Champion Tree Program?
- It identifies the largest trees in Missouri, by species
- To be eligible for listing, a tree must be native or naturalized
- The process starts with someone noticing a good candidate tree and submitting a nomination form, along with a photo if possible
Q. How is the championship determination made?
- Determining Missouri’s Champion Trees is based on a formula which gives the tree a point value.
- Points are determined by a tree’s height, crown spread and trunk size.
- The formula adds the circumference in inches (measured at a point 4.5 feet above the ground) to the height in feet to one-fourth of the average crown spread.
Q. We actually have a number of state champions right here in St. Louis. Can you name some standouts?
- Red Buckeye in Forest Park (Aesculus pavia)
- Circumference: 72”
- Height: 35’
- Spread: 33’
- Red flowers in the spring attract hummingbirds
- Found in southeast Missouri
- The powdered seeds have been used in ponds and slow-moving water to catch fish, which become groggy and float to the surface.
- The name “buckeye” was given to the big shiny brown seed, which, with the pale scar on one side, appeared like the detached eye of a deer
- Shingle Oak in Bellefontaine Cemetery (Quercus imbricaria)
- Circumference: 174”
- Height: 125’
- Spread: 91’
- Usually holds its leaves during the winter.
- Found along old fence rows, farm fields, and other disturbed areas.
- Early settlers made shingles from this tree.
- Pecan in St. Louis County along Butler Hill Road(Caryaillinoinensis)
- Circumference: 193”
- Height: 132’
- Spread: 112’
- Typically found in bottomlands
- One of the most important cultivated nuts of North America.
- It is an Algonquin word which means “hard –shelled nut”
- Black Walnut in Matson Hill County Park (St. Charles) (Juglans nigra)
- Circumference: 196”
- Height: 72’
- Spread: 118’
- Generally can be found in moist woods.
- Wood is used for furniture, cabinets, veneer, etc.
For more information, complete listing and nomination form, go to www.MDC.mo.gov and search “champion trees”
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