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Tracking the biggest trees in Virginia

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Faculty and student tree enthusiasts are increasing the care and appreciation of trees across the Commonwealth through the Virginia Big Tree Program, coordinated by the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. To learn more, including how to nominate a tree, visit
So the Virginia Big Tree Program is an extension program. And what this program does is it documents the largest trees found in Virginia. We take three different types of measurements. We take a circumference measurement, so we measure how many inches are in the tree circumference. We take a total height measurement in which we use a laser to measure the height up and down the tree. And then we do a crown spread measurement where we find the two widest side of the trees crowned. And then measure horizontally that distance. The national champion tulp that we visited earlier today has a height that exceeds 130 ft. The trunk girth over 29 ft, and then the crown spread is over 120 ft in diameter. We've then ended up being in Botta County, in the town of Thin Castle, where we are visiting with our state and national champion honey locust tree. People love big trees and it becomes a bit of a competition or bragging rights for people. But big trees are interesting and important for ecology as well. Having big trees in our environment is really important for anything from carbon capture to wildlife habitat. And there's some scientific value as well for knowing where the biggest trees are. Our state program is then affiliated with the National Champion Big Tree Program. State coordinators, like myself, we will report trees to the national program and then trees can contend to be the national champion of their species.