Cham­pion trees found in county

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS [email protected]­times.com

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] mary­land.gov for meet­ing times and lo­ca­tion.

MD BIG TREE PRO­GRAM

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.

MD BIG TREE PRO­GRAM

The Mary­land Big Tree Pro­gram is search­ing for more in­for­ma­tion on this large Siberian Elm planted in front of the his­toric Cen­tre­ville court­house. The record mea­sur­ing tree has a cir­cum­fer­ence of 204 inches, spread of 97.5 feet, and height of 92 feet.

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