How To Nominate A Tree
1. Determine if your tree is an eligible species.
Species must be recognized as either native or non-native and naturalized in the United States. Hybrids, cultivars, ornamentals and 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 than the current National Champion Tree?
Use American Forests’ “Measuring Guidelines Handbook” to ensure that you are measuring your tree the right way
You will need three measurements to nominate your tree:
- Trunk Circumference (Inches)
- Height (Feet)
- Crown Spread (Feet)
Trees of the same species are compared using the following calculation:
x = Tree Trunk Circumference (Inches)
y = Tree Height (Feet)
z = Tree’s Average Crown Spread (Feet)
x + y + (z/4) = Total Points
See an example of how to calculate a tree’s total points here:
3. Nominate your tree using our online nomination form.
After you have determined that your tree is an eligible species and you have measured it, you can nominate your tree using our online nomination form. Please note that you will need to submit 6 different pictures of your tree as outlined in the online nomination form. Photographs are required or the nomination will be considered incomplete.
The 2020 public nomination period has closed.
The 2021 public nomination period will open October 1, 2020.
4. What’s next? State Coordinator Verification.
After you have submitted a nomination form and photographs of your tree your nomination will not be considered fully eligible until your tree’s health, species identification, and measurements have been verified 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 will work with you to verify your nomination. You can identify your Champion Trees State Coordinator through the following link:
*updated May 26, 2020.
5. National champion trees
If a tree that you have nominated to the National Register of Champion Trees is crowned a National Champion Tree or a National Co-Champion Tree, the tree and your name will be featured on the American Forests website on the online National Register of Champion Trees. Each Champion Tree has its own web-page where its stats and the name of the person (or persons) who nominated the tree can be found. In addition, starting with the 2020 National Register of Champion Trees, you can find your name in a downloadable PDF of the annual National Register of Champion Trees. Printed copies of the National Register of Champion Trees are available upon request.
Starting with the September release of the 2020 National Register of Champion Trees certificates for Champion Trees and Co-Champion Trees will only be available upon request. To request a paper or printable PDF certificate please contact us at (202) 737-1944 or write to us at 1220 L Street NW Suite 750, Washington D.C., 20005.
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 also crowned Co-Champions:
- If the largest trees of a species are under 100 total points, trees will be crowned Co-Champion Trees if they are within 3 total points of each other.
- If the largest trees of a species are over 100 points, they will be Co-Champions Trees if the differential between them is no more than 3% of the larger tree’s total points.
See an example of how we calculate which trees become Champion Trees here:
Trees that were nominated 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 and 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 if they are not re-verified before the release of the 2019 National Register.
There are a number of species that are eligible for the National Register of Champion Trees that are documented to grow in the form of either a shrub or a tree. Nominations must be for species that are growing in the form of a tree. Species growing in shrub form are not eligible for the National Register of Champion 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.
Trees that are standing dead are ineligible for the National Register of Champion Trees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does American Forests share the location of National Champion Trees?
No. In an effort to protect the health and wellbeing of large trees, both privately and publicly 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.
Does the age of a tree qualify it to become a National Champion Tree?
No. The National Register of Champion Trees does not take into consideration the age of trees when crowning trees national champions.
Does the historical value of a tree qualify it to become a National Champion Tree?
No. The National Register of Champion Trees does not take into consideration the historical value of trees when crowning trees national champions.
Does American Forests collect and propagate the seeds of National Champion Trees?
No. American Forests does not collect and/or propagate the seeds of Champion Trees.
Does American Forests sell calendars of National Champion Trees?
No. Unfortunately, due to lack of sponsorship we have discontinued the production of Champion Tree calendars.
Does American Forests clone National Champion Trees?
No. American Forests does not, and has not in the past, cloned National Champion Trees.