From the Maryland Big Tree Program:
The Maryland Big Tree Program is pleased to announce that four trees in Harford County have been identified as the largest of their species, and therefore become Maryland State Champions. They are European Larch, Gray Birch, Sweet Birch, Washington Hawthorn. All have been measured and photographed by Harford based volunteer Dan Wilson.
The European Larch has been the #2 tree in Maryland for some time, and it was recently discovered that the State Champion larch in Baltimore County was deceased. This tree then moves into the top spot. This tree is located in Bel Air at a local church, with a circumference of 9’ 7”, a height of 91’ and a crown spread of 45’. The total points are 217.
There has not been a Gray Birch identified on the Maryland Champion Tree List since 1990. It is not native to Maryland; the native range is about 60 miles north and east in PA and NJ. This tree is privately owned in Street and was planted by the owner 42 years ago. It has a circumference of 3’ 2”, a height of 49’, and a crown spread of 45.5’. The point value is 98.
The Sweet Birch was recently discovered in Gunpowder Falls State Park by Mr. Wilson. It is a native tree and is naturally occurring. It replaces a slightly smaller tree in Cecil County. It is the biggest tree of the 4, with a circumference of 10’ 1”, a height of 115’ and a crown spread of 45’. The total points are 247. This tree is just slightly smaller than the U. S. Champion in New Hampshire, and may be the tallest tree of its species in the United States.
The Washington Hawthorn was planted in a median in a local plaza in Forest Hill, and has now grown to the point that it can be considered a “tree” for the MBTP. It is native to all of Maryland, and is recommended by the Department of Natural Resources as a native tree that should be more widely planted for small areas. It has a circumference of 2’ 2”, a height of 22’ and the crown spread of 28’. The total points are 55. It is currently full of berries, which makes winter identification fairly easy.
The Big Tree Program originated in Maryland in 1925, went national in 1940, and is run by American Forests, www.americanforests.org. Each state has a State Coordinator who collects data, measures trees, and biannually submits certain trees to American Forests as potential National Champions. For more information, visit dnr.state.md.us/forests/trees/bigtree.asp. The universal “point” system was developed by Maryland’s first State Forester, Fred Besley. The formula is: circumference in inches + height in feet + one fourth of the average crown spread in feet. If you think you have a Harford County Big Tree, or if you wish to have a copy of the Harford County Big Tree List, contact John Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org., or call 410-287-5980.