A nonprofit tree planting and education organization recently recognized people who identified the largest trees in almost every county in Michigan.
ReLeaf Michigan also recognized the largest tree in the state, the largest white pine – which is Michigan’s state tree – and the largest tree reported by a “tree hunter” 15 years or younger.
More than 700 entries were submitted from 80 of the state’s 83 counties. The winning entry for each county was verified on-site by professional arborists, foresters from tree services, consulting firms and government agencies throughout Michigan.
The November ceremony was attended by nearly 100 people from across the state, according to Melinda Jones, ReLeaf executive director.
“The interactions were priceless. It’s moments like this that remind us why we have such a passion for what we do,” Jones said in a news release.
The state’s largest tree, submitted by James Wegner, is a red oak measuring 384 inches around the base located in the city of Marion in Osceola County.
The largest white pine measured 204 inches around and is located in Askel in Houghton County. It was submitted by Heather Sewell.
Stephanie and Patrick Bushey submitted the largest tree by an individual who is 15 or younger. The cottonwood growing in Saline measures 312 inches around.
The ceremony also honored 23 submissions that qualified as new state champion trees.
The largest trees in the tri-county area of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties were:
- DeWitt resident Rae Frederickson submitted a silver maple that measured 191 inches around, which is the largest tree in Clinton County.
- Eaton County’s largest tree is a basswood submitted by Lisa Lawitzke of Bellevue, measuring 221 inches around.
- A willow tree measuring 294 inches around was the Ingham County winner, submitted by Devin Bennett of Stockbridge.
ReLeaf Michigan began the Michigan Big Tree Hunt in 1993 to celebrate Michigan’s beauty and create a fun way to gather information about the state’s biggest trees, according to the news release.
The contest also helps discover trees eligible for the National Register of Big Trees, which is updated every spring and fall by American Forests.
Sponsors for the event were the Arboriculture Society of Michigan, Consumers Energy Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation, the Michigan Botanical Foundation, AdventureKEEN, and the Urban and Community Forestry Program of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Certificates and prizes were awarded to people who submitted the largest tree in their county.
The next biennial contest will begin in spring 2020 and conclude in winter 2021. For information on Michigan’s Big Tree contest, visit the website here. Since 1988, ReLeaf Michigan has worked in more than 400 communities across the state, planting nearly 30,000 trees on public property in Michigan’s cities, townships and villages.