Nominate a Tree

How to Nominate a Tree

1. Determine if your tree is an eligible species.

Eligible Species:

Species must be recognized as either native, non-native and naturalized or a recognized naturally occurring variety in the United States. Hybrids, cultivars, ornamentals and unclassified varieties are excluded. American Forests has based this list on sources such as the USDA Plants Database and the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Note: The classification of various species as invasive is not consistent across state boundaries, since each species does not always exhibit invasive characteristics in every location. State coordinators shall decide whether a nominated tree fits the definition of invasive in their state and therefore exclude that species from nomination to the National Register.

2. Determine if your tree has a fighting chance: measure it!

Measure your tree and compare it to the current National Champion for your tree’s species. (View the current National Register of Champion Trees.) Does your tree have close to or more total points that the current National Champion?

Use American Forests Champion Trees Measuring Guidelines Handbook to ensure you’re measuring your tree the right way.

Measuring Guidelines Handbook;

You’ll need three measurements to nominate your tree:

  • Trunk Circumference
  • Height
  • Crown Spread

Trees of the same species are compared using the following calculation:

Trunk Circumference (inches) + Height (feet) + ¼ Average Crown Spread (feet) = Total Points

3. Nominate your tree using our online nomination form.

Once you’ve determined that your tree is an eligible species, and you’ve measured it and think it has a fighting chance to take the top spot as a National Champion Tree you can nominate your tree using our online nomination form found here:

Online Nomination Form

Please note that you’ll need to take certain pictures of your tree, upload them, and attach them to the online nomination form before submitting your nomination. Photographs are required.

4. What’s next? State Coordinator Verification.

Once you have nominated your tree it will not be considered fully eligible for Champion consideration until its health, species identification, and measurements have been confirmed by an expert. The National Register of Champion Trees works with Champion Tree State Coordinators across the country to confirm these aspects of each nomination to ensure the validity of nominations and the credibility of the National Register.

Please contact your Champion Trees State Coordinator to notify them that you have nominated a tree to the National Register of Champion Trees. They’ll work with you to verify your nomination. You can identify your Champion Trees State Coordinator through the following link:

Champion Trees State Coordinator List

5. Crowning

If your tree is crowned a National Champion Tree or a National Co-Champion Tree you will receive a certificate in the mail from American Forests. Please watch for the release of the annual register to see if your tree has been crowned a National Champion Tree.

Rules

Champions and Co-Champions

Trees are crowned Champions if they are the largest tree of their species nominated to the National Register of Champion Trees.

Trees are crowned Co-Champions if their point totals are within 3% or 3 points of each other – whichever is larger.

  • If two trees are under 100 points, trees will be co-champions if they are within 3 points of each other.
  • If they are over 100 points, it will be 3% of the larger tree’s point total.

10 Year Rule

Trees that were nominated to and trees that were crowned National Champions on American Forests’ National Register of Champion Trees must be re-verified by State Coordinators that they are still living every 10 years. In addition, new tree measurements and photographs of the tree must be submitted. Failure to re-verify trees, submit new measurements and photographs will render a tree ineligible for Champion consideration and/or will result in the dethroning of a current National Champion.

For example: Champions last measured in 2009 will be dethroned after December 31, 2019 if they have not been re-verified as standing living, and new measurements and photographs submitted.

Snag Rule

Trees that are standing dead are ineligible for the National Register of Champion Trees.

Misidentified Trees

If a tree is found to have been misidentified and the tree is an ineligible species to the National Register of Champion Trees the nomination will be considered disqualified.

If a tree is found to have been misidentified and the tree is an eligible species to the National Register the nomination is still considered eligible.

If a Champion Tree is found to have been misidentified, but is still an eligible species it will remain a Champion if it is the largest tree nominated to the National Register of its correct species.

Frequently Asked Questions

Champion Tree Locations

In an effort to protect the health and wellbeing of large trees, both privately and publically owned, American Forests will not disclose to the public the exact location of any tree nominated to or listed on the National Register of Champion Trees. Written and verbal inquiries requesting the location information of Champion Trees will be declined.

Champion Trees Home Page

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