What is a Champion Tree?

The last thing ATE’s Dean Ziemienski was expecting to encounter while on a job site last fall was that of a champion tree.

“I was called to a New Berlin home to remove a diseased and potentially hazardous elm tree in the backyard,” recalls Dean. “But another tree caught my eye as soon as we arrived on the property.”

The Chinkapin oak was in good condition. Dean, who is fascinated with giant, mature trees, knew it was an outstanding specimen.

“I have measured many impressive trees in my career that have come up short when compared to Wisconsin’s champion tree database,” says Dean. “It was obvious this one was special.”

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tracks and maintains big tree records of champion trees for all species in the state. Guidelines established by American Forests, the nonprofit conservation organization, follow a point system to determine the largest specimens of each tree species. The point system is based on the circumference, height, and crown spread measurements of each tree.

“It is exciting to think that this tree in New Berlin, which has probably been a champion for a very long time, could finally be known as the largest of its species in the State of Wisconsin,” Dean says.

We’ll keep you posted on the status of Dean’s submission. For more information on champion trees, visit Wisconsin’s DNR website: www.dnr.wi.gov.