July 28, 2014

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

AFC Announces New Champion Trees for 2014

The quest to find “champion” trees continued to be a high priority for many Alabamians in 2014 as a total of 45 new trees were nominated for this prestigious honor. Of the 45 nominations, 11 trees achieved the status of CHAMPION in 2014. One of the new champions, a southern shagbark hickory, has a good chance of being declared a national champion later this year! 

With the addition of these new champion trees and the subtraction of champions that had died, Alabama now has a total of 147 champions distributed throughout 48 of its 67 counties. Baldwin County holds claim to the most champions in the state with 16, followed by Madison and Wilcox counties which have 12 champions each.

Of the 11 new champions, eight are outright champions while three are co-champions. Co-champions are trees whose total scores are in close proximity of each other. The new 2014 champion trees, along with their nominators and owners, are listed below:






Birch, River


Patrick Thompson

Michael Murray

Elm, Siberian


Daniel Green

Joseph West

Hickory, Mockernut


John Goff

John T. Goff Family LLC

Hickory, Shagbark


Charles LeCroy

Charles & Jamie LeCroy

Hickory, Southern Shagbark


Wayne Webb

Tommy & Jeanell Lawler

Magnolia, Bigleaf


Tommy Lawler

Tommy & Jeanell Lawler

Magnolia, Southern


Teresa Lee

Reuben Gardner

Oak, Chestnut


Nick Jordan

Lamar Dewberry

Oak, Georgia


Patrick Thompson

Davis Arboretum at
Auburn University

Pine, Virginia


Jason Shelton

DeSoto State Park



Wayne Webb

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The purpose of the Champion Tree program is to discover, recognize, and preserve the largest tree of each species in Alabama. Anyone can nominate a tree for Champion Tree designation
by completing an on-line nomination form; however, an Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) forester is responsible for collecting the tree’s measurements.

When determining a champion, three of the tree’s components are taken into consideration: circumference, height, and crown spread. The formula used to determine the size of a tree is as follows: one point for each inch of circumference, plus one point for each foot of height, plus one point for each four feet of the average crown spread.

For a tree to be eligible for the Champion Tree program, it must be a species that is recognized as native or naturalized in Alabama. A naturalized tree is an “introduced” species that has established itself in the wild, reproducing naturally and spreading. 

Once a new champion is identified, both its owner and nominator receive a certificate. The nominator is also presented with a permanent tree marker that is to be placed in proximity to the base of the tree. New champions are added to the Champion Trees of Alabama publication which can be found on the AFC website at: www.forestry.alabama.gov.

If you know of a tree that you think might be the largest of its species in the state, you are encouraged to send in a nomination. To complete a nomination form on-line, visit the AFC website and click on the “Champion Tree Program” fast link found on the home page.

Due to limited AFC resources, a nominator is strongly encouraged to review the measurements of the current champion to get an idea if the candidate tree’s score has a chance of defeating it before sending a nomination. After all, there are millions of “big” trees in Alabama, but to be a CHAMPION it must be THE “biggest!” Nominations may be sent in year-round, but for a tree to be eligible for Champion Tree designation in 2015 the forms must be received by the program coordinator no later than June 1, 2015.

The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. To learn more about the AFC or the Champion Tree program, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.

  • For more information, visit http://forestry.alabama.gov
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