August 13, 2015

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

New Champion Trees for 2015 Announced by Alabama Forestry Commission

     As each year passes, the task of discovering trees that are larger than the current state champions is becoming more challenging. Nevertheless, Alabama will crown seven new state champion trees this year. Of these seven new champions, six are outright champions and one is a co-champion. A co-champion is a tree whose total score is in close proximity of the current champion. 

     Even more exciting is that two of the seven new champions have a good chance of being declared national champions next year! The potential new national champions include a post oak and red hickory. Alabama now has a total of 148 champions distributed throughout 49 of its 67 counties. Baldwin County holds claim to the most champions in the state with 17, followed by Madison County with 12, and Wilcox County which has 11 champions. Below is a list of the seven new champion trees for 2015:





Beech, American (co-champion)


Deven Peek

City of Prattville

Buckeye, Red


Keith Niedermeier

Paul Rogers

Hickory, Red


Wayne K. Webb

State of Alabama

Holly, Dahoon


Chan West

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Oak, Post


Karen Smith

Dale and Karen Smith

Oak, Shumard


Chris Chambers

The Westervelt Company



Ben Sherrod

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

     For those unfamiliar with Alabama’s Champion Tree program, its purpose is to discover, recognize, and preserve the largest tree of each species in Alabama. Anyone can nominate a tree for Champion Tree designation; 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. For a tree to be eligible, it must be a species that is recognized as native or naturalized in Alabama. A naturalized tree is from 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. Additionally, AFC county personnel present the nominator with a permanent tree marker to be placed in proximity to the base of the tree. New champions are added to the AFC’s “Champion Trees” publication which can be found on the AFC website.

     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 by completing an on-line form. Visit the AFC website at and click on the “Champion Tree Program” 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 his candidate tree has a chance of defeating the current champion’s score before sending in a nomination. After all, there are millions of “big” trees in Alabama, but to be a CHAMPION, a tree must be THE biggest. Nominations may be sent in year round; however, for a tree to be eligible for Champion Tree designation in 2016, the nomination form must be received by the program coordinator no later than June 1, 2016.

Contact: Brian Hendricks

Telephone: (334) 240-9370


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