Search begins for Michigan’s biggest trees

A past winner for largest white pine was this ReLeaf Michigan entry submitted by Heather Sewell. It measured 204 inches around and is located in the community of Askel in Houghton County.

ANN ARBOR — ReLeaf Michigan, the only statewide non-profit tree planting and education organization in Michigan, has launched its 15th biennial Michigan Big Tree Hunt contest.

The contest, which offers prizes for identifying the biggest trees in Michigan, is open to participants of all ages.

The largest trees in the state can be found anywhere: a backyard, a local park, or a hiking trail. Certificates and prizes are awarded for the largest tree submitted from each county, for the overall largest tree in different age groups, and for potential state champion trees. Even if the tree submitted is not as large as the currently listed state champion of that species, it’s important to still submit, since the current champion may have died or since been removed.

ReLeaf Michigan started the Michigan Big Tree Hunt in 1993 to celebrate the state’s beauty and create a fun way to gather information about Michigan’s biggest trees. The contest is an opportunity for all age groups to help track these vital historical living landmarks.

The contest is also a way to discover eligible trees for the National Register of Big Trees, which is updated every spring and fall by American Forests. American Forests tracks “Champion Trees,” which are the biggest tree of their species reported to American Forests in a given year.

As recently as 2012, Michigan had 23 registered champion trees, but today there is only one registered. Since there are hundreds of tree species that don’t yet have registered champions, the Big Tree Hunt is a great opportunity to add to this list and get Michigan trees noticed nationwide.

More contest details and the entry form are available online at bigtreehunt.com. T

he contest will accept submissions until the deadline of Aug. 19, 2022. This deadline was extended an additional year due to the impact of COVID-19.

If you have a question not answered on the website, email bigtreehunt@releafmichigan.org or call 1-800-642-7353.

ReLeaf Michigan’s Big Tree Hunt contest is possible thanks to the support of its sponsors. The Premiere Sponsor of this year’s contest is Nissan. Other sponsors include Consumers Energy Foundation, the Michigan Botanical Foundation, the Michigan Botanical Club, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources-Urban and Community Forestry Program.


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