Remarkable Trees of Virginia

2019-20 Champion Big Trees of Virginia Update!

Check out the Virginia Big Tree Program Quick Facts

The Virginia Big Tree Program is affiliated with the American Forests Big Tree Program, which has curated the national register of champion trees since 1940. In 2017, Virginia was ranked third in the country with 74 national champion and co-champion trees.  David Formella's main responsibility as the 2017 Big Tree Intern  was the measurement and certification of trees in the Virginia Big Tree Register (VBTR) that were last measured in 2007 or earlier. All trees in the VBTR need to be recertified every ten years to maintain their listing on the register. I was also responsible for processing new nominations sent in from VBTP volunteers and other tree enthusiasts. David managed the recertification of roughly 180 trees.

Virginia Big Tree Program

New State Champion Shingle Oak! At a recent Waynesboro Tree Workshop, sponsored by the City of Waynesboro, the Virginia Department of Forestry and Trees Virginia, Dr. Eric Wiseman, Coordinator of the Virginia Big Tree Program, gave a lecture and field demonstration about the Virginia Big Tree Register.  During the field demo, the attendees measured and nominated a new state champion shingle oak (Queruc imbricaria) in Ridgeview Park.  Information about the tree is available on the Virginia Big Tree website

Check out the redesigned Virginia Big Tree Program website! The redesign was made possible by a grant from the Virginia Forestry Education Foundation.  The team at Virginia Tech is excited and think that users will find this website to be much more user friendly, particularly on mobile devices.  Here is a news article that Virginia Tech ran as a front page story about the website:

Virginia’s big trees are those that are the largest of their species, measured by height, trunk circumference, and crown spread. The website lists the five largest trees of more than 300 different species and includes photographs of the honored trees as well as their location, the names of the individuals who nominated them, and in some cases, the name of landowner.

Virginia ranks fourth on the National Big Tree Register with 63 national champion trees. Having that many national champions is notable because, through its history, some of Virginia’s major economic development was through farming and logging operations, which removed many of the state’s largest trees. Today, urbanization and extreme weather are the greatest threats to big trees.

Dr. Eric Wiseman in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech has coordinated the Virginia Big Tree Program since 2013. 

Trees Virginia (Virginia Urban Forest Council) and the Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation provide financial support for the Big Tree register, and Trees Virginia also supports the work of the Big Tree intern. The Virginia Big Tree Program began as a 4-H and FFA project in 1970. Today citizens of all ages participate by nominating and re-measuring trees.  For questions, please contact us.



Remarkable Trees of Virginia Program

Virginia Tech Emeritus Professor and Extension Specialist Jeffrey Kirwan and outdoor author/lecturer Nancy Ross Hugo were the driving force behind the four-year effort to find and document Virginia's largest, oldest, most historic, beautiful and beloved trees.

Dr. Kirwan said, "We asked citizens to search their communities and natural areas for trees that are remarkable because of age, size, beauty, uniqueness, connection to the community, or historical and cultural significance. We were searching for trees that have unusual forms or interesting stories associated with them."

The effort culminated with a keepsake book highlighting Virginia's top 100 trees. The 176-page book, published in 2008, and now in its fourth printing, includes full-color photographs taken by internationally-known photographer Robert Llewellyn from Charlottesville VA. 

Trees Virginia, served as the project's coordinating sponsor. Additional support was provided by Bartlett Tree Experts, the Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation, and the Virginia Tech Department of Forestry.  Individuals also contributed to the project.

Dr. Kirwan and Ms. Hugo, who have worked together previously to develop and maintain Virginia's Big Tree Program, invited children, adults, professional tree experts and amateur tree lovers to participate in the project by nominating remarkable trees from their communities. The project organizers also looked for "tree places,"- parks, arboreta, and gardens where the public can visit remarkable trees. 
"We contacted schools, 4-H clubs, and scouting groups throughout the state to try and get youth involved with the project," Dr. Kirwan said.  Hugo added that, "the project encourages children to connect not just to trees in general but to specific trees. We want them to look carefully at the trees in their neighborhoods, so that they'll begin to feel connected to specific trees and their habitats, not just to anonymous nature."

For more information visit the Remarkable Trees of Virginia website.


Did You Know:

  • Every state has an official State Tree. Virginia adopted the flowering dogwood Cornaceae Cornus floridaas the State Tree on February 24, 1956.  The dogwood is well distributed throughout the...

  • Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and save 20-50 percent in heating energy.

  • Most tree roots are in the top 12 inches of soil.

  • Most trees do not have a tap root.

  • Trees are some of the oldest living organisms on earth: some bristle-cone pines are thought to be more than 5000 years old.

  • A mature tree removes almost 70 times more pollution than a newly planted tree.

  • Well-maintained trees and shrubs can increase property value by up to 14%.

  • A birdhouse hung on a young tree branch, does not move up the tree as the tree grows.

  • One large tree can provide a supply of oxygen for two people.

  • Trees are the largest living organisms on earth: some coastal redwoods are more than 360 feet tall.

  • In one day, one large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air.

Contact Trees Virginia

(434) 295 6401

900 Natural Resources Drive, Ste 800
Charlottesville, VA 22903

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American Grove     Virginia Department of Forestry     Mid-Atlantic Chapter International Society of Arboriculture