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Nebraska Champion Tree Program by Mike Groenewold

If you are bored on a cold, winter day and don’t mind burning some $3 a gallon gas, you might check out some unique, large trees growing in Nebraska. Many Nebraska Communities have extraordinary trees growing in their parks and public right-of-ways. Some are native species while others are long lived, successful introductions. A list of the largest of each species and their location is published by the Nebraska Forest Service within their Nebraska Champion and Heritage Tree Program. This program is a cooperative effort between the Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Community Forestry Council. Along with locations of the largest and unique trees growing in our state, the program highlights the historical significance of the trees.

Most of Nebraska’s Champion Trees are in eastern Nebraska; however, a few are located in central and western Nebraska as well. To learn more about the Program and locate Champion Trees in your area go to: http://nfs.unl.edu/champions

Recently while driving to Beatrice to attend a prairie management workshop, Jon Morgenson and Steve Brey, my co-workers, stopped to visit and photograph our Champion Silver Maple Tree, Acer saccharinum. The tree is located in Chautauqua Park along the Blue River on the south side of town. The tree can be found near the north exit of the park along Hwy 77. The tree is illustrated in these two photos:

Our Champion Silver Maple Tree
Our Champion Silver Maple Tree

Now you don’t have any excuse for boredom this weekend, so get outside and have some fun!

Mike Groenewold is a Horticulturist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

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