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Fred Besley was Maryland’s first forester, serving from 1906 to 1942. He developed the formula used today to measure trees:
Height in feet +
¼ of the average crown spread =
Frederick County Big Tree Program
The Maryland Big Tree Program has been in place for a number of years. There are three National Champion Trees located in Frederick County: the English Elm, the Boxelder, and the Honeylocust trees. This page of the FCFB Web site contains information relating to the big trees in our county.
Below are some photos of the two trees in Frederick County that John Bennett and Dori Murphy measured on 3/24/2013. The first two are of a 290 point northern red oak, Frederick County co-champion, in Mt. Airy (about 1 mile west of the Carroll/Frederick line).
Frederick County co-champion northern red oak view 1 (photo by Dori Murphy)
The following photo shows the Frederick co-champion white ash, at 307 points. It is located east of Myersville, on a steep hillside, on the bank of a swiftly running stream.
On October 20, 2016, a Buckeystown black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) was designated a Frederick County Big Tree Champion. The 106' tall tree is shown below. At a total of 276 points, this black walnut tree is #10 in the state and the largest of its kind in Western Region.
In October 2013 two new Frederick County trees have been nominated by the Maryland Big Tree Program. A white oak, Quercus alba, is at 281 points, in Adamstown (see first photo below). Curiously, there are two white oaks now in Adamstown, one at 282, the new one at 281 (see second photo below). A hackberry, Celtis occidentalis, at 226 points was also nominated (see third photo below). The photos and measurements were the work of John Bennett and Dori Murphy. The volunteer site manager, Mark Kulis (shown in the third photo).
Newest white oak nominee with John Bennett
Similar sized white oak also in Adamstown
On April 3, 2012 Michelle Donahue of the Frederick County Forestry Board and other volunteers measured 13 trees that have become Frederick County champion trees. Read the Frederick News-Post article entitled "Fourteen new Big Tree champions in county" (shown below) to learn more details. The article was written by John Bennett of the Big Tree Champions of Maryland.
Photos of the new champion trees by Dori Murphy are shown below:
BT 2387 Though it is missing several large branches, this American elm (Ulmus americana) seems very healthy where it grows near several small streams. It is located in a lot that is to be developed into a park near the water treatment plant on North Market Street.
BT 2390 The new county champion silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is on private property in the City of Frederick.
BT 2381 The owners of this county champion sugar maple (Acer saccharum) estimate it has been growing on their property for over 90 years.
BT 2383 New county champion eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), located on private property in the City of Frederick.
BT 2382 Almost perfectly symmetrical, this flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) holds the title of county co-champion along with another specimen elsewhere in the county.
BT 2384 Weeping willows (Salix babylonica) are a common sight along Carroll Creek in the City of Frederick, but this one, located near the bridge at N. College Street in Baker Park, is the largest, and the new county champion.
BT 2385 Along with holding the title of current county champ, this Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) has the largest crown spread of any Siberian elm in the big tree registry, and is the second largest of its type in Maryland. It is located in Memorial Park in the City of Frederick.
BT 2388 Also in Memorial Park is this unusually shaped English oak (Quercus robur), the first time the species has been recorded in Frederick County. It is one of only a handful of registered English oaks in the state.
BT - 2389 Another Memorial Park tree, this northern red oak (Quercus rubra) replaces the previous county champion, at a height of 85 feet and average crown spread of 86 feet.
BT 2380 Though not normally found in Frederick County, the new champion loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) is located in a neighborhood west of Frederick city along I-70. The tree's owner said she has observed that any seedlings that do manage to sprout never survive the winter, and the group of loblollies in the neighborhood were probably planted all together as larger saplings.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2012 MBTP Volunteer Coordinator John Bennett and another Cecil County volunteer, Dori Murphy, joined 2 new Frederick County MBTP volunteers, Michelle Donahue and Joan McCrumb, and Frederick County Forestry Board member Lynne Marquess on another tree measuring mission. Eight big trees, of which half were white oaks, were measured and several other potential candidates were noted. During this trip the Frederick County Champion dogwood was registered in Ijamsville.
A week later on February 1, 2012 Michelle and Lynne traveled to a Jefferson farm to measure a magnificent hackberry which is also a Frederick County Champion and the 4th largest hackberry in the state. They also measured a 60-year-old American holly which if confirmed will become another county champion.
Frederick County Champion Hackberry - Jefferson
Frederick County Champion Holly - Jefferson
Frederick County Forestry Board member Jim Arnold stands near the base of the National Champion English Elm next to Frederick High School.
The National Champion Honeylocust pictured below is located in Ijamsville and has a circumference of ~ 20 feet (exact measurement not possible due to heavy vine around trunk), height of 96 feet, and average crown spread of 73.25 feet.
The new nominee for National Champion White Ash (pictured below) is a Frederick County Champion White Ash located in Myersville. It has a circumference of 17 feet 5 inches, height of 78 feet, and an average crown spread of 79.5 feet.
Below is a picture of a beautiful large white oak tree located just west of Middletown on the Bill Wilson property. This tree was re-measured in 2008 by the Frederick County Forestry Board for the Maryland Big Tree Program, taking dimensions on the tree’s circumference, height, and average crown spread. The total points scored is calculated using these measurements and used to compare its size to other large white oak trees throughout the county, state, and nation. This tree was near the top of the Maryland competition for champion white oak trees. It has now been replaced as the Frederick County Champion White Oak by another tree recently re-measured in Braddock Heights.
Frederick County has the two largest eastern cottonwood trees eastern in the state! Shown below is the new Maryland State Champion Eastern Cottonwood, located at Middletown High School and moves the large pecan tree at Pryor's Orchards into second place. To learn more about this local champion see the Gazette.Net article entitled ' Middletown tree towers over others in Maryland '.
The tree shown below is located in Frederick and shares the title of Maryland State Co-Champion Pecan tree with a pecan tree in Anne Arundel County (trees are considered co-champions if they are within 5 points of each other). See the recent article in the Frederick News-Post entitled "Pecan tree ties for biggest in state" for more information about the co-champion pecan tree in Frederick County.
Frederick County’s champion white oak tree has grown in Braddock Heights for an estimated 350 years. To learn more see the article in the FNP entitled "Casting a broad shadow: Braddock Heights white oak makes state registry".
Braddock Heights white oak (Photo by Adam Fried)
In response to Karen Gardner's article "Casting a Broad Shadow" on the Frederick County champion white oak in the 20-NOV-2011 edition of the Frederick News-Post, several county property owners notified the Maryland Big Tree Program Volunteer Coordinator John Bennett to nominate their big trees. One of these nominations resulted in discovering another Frederick County champion in the city of Frederick. See photo below.
On October 22, 2011, three Maryland Big Tree Program (MBTP) volunteers from Cecil County and two Frederick County Forestry Board volunteer members set out to measure several big trees in Frederick County. It was a productive day that uncovered many county champions: white oak, Eastern red cedar, black cherry, redbud, and sycamore. The latter tree is also the Maryland state champion sycamore and a contender for the largest tree of any species in the state.
Frederick County Champion white oak - Braddock Heights
Frederick County Champion redbud - Ballenger Creek Park
Mr. and Mrs. Zittle of Thurmont measure the circumference of the Frederick County champion Bitternut Hickory. This tree is the second largest hickory tree in Maryland.
The Maryland Champion Tree List contains the latest state champion trees as of January 2013 from all Maryland counties.
The good folks of the Maryland Big Tree Program have issued a 2012 State Big Tree Summary report. The two page document summaries the many important activities conducted in 2012 that this group conducted to support interest in forestry state wide.
Do you know of a very large tree in Frederick County and want to nominate as a local champion? The Frederick County Forestry Board has a Maryland Big Tree Nomination form which you can use to nominate a tree for consideration. Click on the thumbnail image below to download the one-page nomination form as a PDF file. The form contains return mailing instructions as well as contact information for answering questions about the program, the form, and the nomination process.
A tri-fold brochure of the Maryland Big Tree Program for Frederick County shown below is available as a PDF by clicking on the thumbnail image below.
John Bennett, Head of the Maryland Big Tree Program, recommends Great Eastern Trees, Past and Present as an extensive article on the Maryland Big Trees by Dr. Colby Rucker back in 2004--just before Dr. Rucker passed away unexpectedly. It is the definitive resource about big trees in Maryland.