Champion trees found in county
CENTREVILLE — This fall, volunteers from the Maryland Big Tree Program, in cooperation with the Queen Anne’s County Forestry Board, measured 13 trees in four locations in Queen Anne’s County — four of those trees are new state champions. They include a Siberian elm, a laurel oak, an Amur corktree, and a red mulberry.
Six other trees were recorded as Queen Anne’s County champions. Those trees include a black walnut, silver maple, Sugarberry, black cherry, loblolly pine and a southern bayberry.
According to MD Big Tree official John Bennett, one other tree has yet to be positively identified. “It is some new species of oak and will likely become a new Maryland State Champion once the ID is confirmed,” said Bennett.
The Siberian elm shares the Maryland title with trees in Baltimore and Montgomery counties. It is located in front of the courthouse in Centreville. Volunteers are searching for information about this tree. An early black and white photo shows a different tree growing in that spot, said Bennett.
Joli Mccathran is the volunteer who photographed all the trees that were measured and re-measured in Queen Anne’s, said Bennett. Trees are re-measured every 10 years, although some of the trees recorded this year were newly spotted this season.
Mccathran spotted and nominated the big elm at the courthouse. Unfortunately the only accurate way to determine age is with old photographs and/or oral history from owners or previous owners, said Bennett. He said he has written to the Queen Anne’s Historical Society in hopes of obtaining the history of the elm at the courthouse.
“There is an old photo of the courthouse on line that shows a different tree, so the elm must be a fairly new addition — certainly within the past 70 years,” said Bennett.
In the old photo a large tree is on the right, he said, and a smaller tree on the left. In the recent photo it shows the current tree on the left, but in a slightly different location, but the big tree on the right is gone, he said.
Volunteers will re-visit this tree in the spring to take fresh flower bud and leaf sample to confirm the identification.
UMES Professor Jim Bardsley was with the group of volunteers this year and spotted several new species of trees growing at a private residence in Centreville. The new state champion laurel oak grows on private property in Centreville and was planted, as it is not a native Maryland plant, said Bennett. There is recorded a smaller example growing in Baltimore City.
The state champion Amur corktree was spotted and nominated by a member of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. The Amur corktree grows on private property in Queen Anne and was planted. It is a non-native species to Maryland, and there are two documented smaller examples in Howard County, as well.
The red mulberry grows along the east branch of the Terrapin Nature Trail in Stevensville. This species is native to Maryland, but extremely rare as the invasive white mulberry has displaced the native red mulberry in most locations, said Bennett. Also along that portion of the trail are the county champion black cherry, loblolly pine and southern bayberry. GPS locations and photos of these trees will be posted on the Maryland Big Tree website, www.mdbigtrees.com.
The six trees re-measured this year at Terrapin Nature Park were first spotted and nominated in 2008 by a husband and wife who are amateur botanists.
“We have many volunteers who are always looking for new and unusual tree species, as well as common species that are unusual for their size,” said Bennett.
Members of the Queen Anne’s County Forestry Board are volunteers working to promote sustainable forestry. The Board promotes the Arbor Day Poster Contest for 5th-graders and the Natural Resources Career Camp in the summer. Contact Teri Batchelor at teri.batche[email protected]land.gov for meeting times and location.
Recorded this year, a Willow Oak at Terrapin Nature Trail, Stevensville, by measuring crew: Joli Mccathran, John Bennett, Sandra Drew, Robin Sprague. The oak has a circumference of 183 inches, height of 101 feet, and spread of 86 feet. Robin Sprague, left, with Sandra Drew.