Florida’s Champion Tree Program
The Champion Tree Program was created by the American Forests organization in 1940 to recognize the largest known tree of each species in the United States. American Forests publishes their “National Register of Big Trees” every two years. The 2008 edition of the Register includes 89 Florida species, many of which are only found in the tropical region of the state. Florida trails only Arizona as the state with the most national champs.
A copy of the Register can be viewed and downloaded from the American Forests National Register of Big Trees web page. The largest National Champion tree in Florida is a native Florida Strangler Fig located in Dade County. This tree measures 360 inches in circumference, stands 63 feet tall, and carries a crown spread of 72 feet.
Florida began keeping a state register in 1975 to recognize the largest tree of each species within this state. It now contains hundreds of tree species, including the national champs. All native and non-invasive naturalized tree species are eligible for nomination.
The largest tree in the Florida Champion Tree register is a non-native Cluster Fig (not eligible for national certification) located in Broward County. It measures 649 inches (54 feet, one inch) in circumference, 102 feet in height and its crown spans 95 feet. The Florida Champion Bald Cypress in Seminole County is the largest native tree in Florida measuring 425 inches in circumference, 118 feet in height with a 57 foot crown spread.
The public can receive information on particular trees by contacting the Urban Forestry Coordinator at 850-681-5881 or Lou.Shepherd@freshfromflorida.com.
Nominating a Champion Tree
Anyone can nominate a tree, whether it is located on public or private land. However, the owner’s written permission must be obtained for privately-owned trees. To nominate a tree, please download the Florida Champion Tree Record nomination form. Also, the measurements need to be verified by the local Florida Forest Service forester. For specific directions for measuring a champion tree, please download the Nomination of a Tree to the Florida Champion Tree Record form. More specific guidelines for measuring champion trees can be found on the American Forests website.
Completed nominations with digital photos should be sent to:
Urban Forestry Coordinator
Florida Forest Service
3125 Conner Boulevard, C-25
Tallahassee, FL 32399
If a tree is a candidate for consideration as a National Champion, the Florida Forest Service will forward the nomination to American Forests.