Instruction Guide

Thank you for participating in the Champion Tree Hunt.  The following guide will help you identify and measure your tree.   Once this is done please fill out the nomination form and submit to Landscape Ontario (either on-line or email). 

How to identify your tree

Use the following books as reference: 

Tree Identification Websites

How to measure your tree:

1. Measuring Circumference

Use a measuring tape to determine the tree’s circumference and record the result in inches.  If it is a very large tree, have someone help you keep the tape level.

If the tree has a single trunk, your measurement needs to be made about the tree 4 ½ feet above the ground at mid-slope.  If the tree forks below or bulges at 4 ½ feet, measure the circumference at the point below 4 ½ feet where the tree tapers to normal size.

If the tree has multiple trunks, you only measure one.  Measure the largest single trunk at a point 4 ½ feet above the ground mid slope.

For a very large tree sitting on a very steep slope, it may be necessary to measure its circumference above the 4 ½ foot mid-slope point.  In this instance, attempt to measure the tree as near as possible to the ground level on the uphill side.  Then measure the number of feet above the mid-slope point where the circumference measurement was taken and record this information.

2. Measuring Height

Measure the height from the ground level to the highest point.  You can measure height with an instrument such as an Abney hand level, hypsometer or transit.  Otherwise, use a straight stick that has been cut to the exact length of your arm.  Walk away from the tree to a point where, by holding the stick vertically at arm’s length, the entire tree’s vertical centerline is hidden behind the stick.  Drive a stake into the ground where you are standing, then measure in a straight, level line the number of feet between the stake and the base of the tree.  This will give you the tree’s approximate height.

3. Measuring Crown Spread

To find the tree’s average crown spread, you first must find the points in the tree’s crown that widest and narrowest.  Walk around underneath the tree and visually assess where the tree’s branches extend the farthest from the trunk.  Drive a stake into the ground directly beneath this point, and following a line directly through the center of the tree’s base, find the opposite side of the crown’s widest point and drive a second stake into the ground.  Follow the same process to mark the narrowest spread in the tree’s crown.  Now you are ready to measure (n feet) the widest and the narrowest dimensions of the crown.  Add these two measurements together and divide by two, and the result is the tree’s average crown spread.

Click here for more information from the Champion Trees of Pennsylvania:

Checklist of items to bring with you:

  • Long Tape Measure
  • Nomination Form
  • Measuring  Information Page 
  • A Tree ID Book
  • Digital Camera (optional)
  • Stick (cut to the length of your arm for measuring tree height)
  • Sample bags (for collecting leaves or fruit for Identification purposes
  • Calculator
Be sure to get the owner's permission