Big Tree Champion Crowned in West Virginia

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Big Tree Champion Crowned in West Virginia

FARMINGTON, W.Va. – American Forests’ newly released National Register of Big Trees named Monongalia County’s Virginia pine the largest of its species on record in the nation. The tree, scientific name Pinus virginiana, grows near Smithtown. It is 65 feet tall, has a 125-inch circumference at breast height (4 feet) and has a 63-foot crown spread. The Virginia pine has been listed on West Virginia’s Big Tree Register since 1999.

"With forests covering approximately 749 million acres in the U.S., it’s a special honor to have a tree recognized as the biggest of its kind," says Bob Hannah, urban and community forestry coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Forestry. "In a year with 14 different billion-dollar weather disasters, America’s biggest trees proved that they’re survivors. For trees to grow bigger than their competition, it usually means that they’ve been protected and nurtured over the years. And, they’ve been lucky. Having grown into large, healthy trees, they now do their own job of protecting and nurturing the plants, trees, wildlife and even humans in their habitats."

Every year, big-tree hunters and enthusiasts across the state and nation nominate hundreds of trees to become the champion of their species. The 2012 national register recognizes almost 100 new champion trees. These champions are decided by a point system, determined by a simple equation: circumference (in inches) + height (in feet) + 1/4 of the average crown spread (in feet) = total points. Monongalia County’s Virginia pine has a score of 206 points. West Virginia’s next-largest Virginia pine, which grows in Parkersburg, is a distant second with 161 points.

Anyone can nominate a big tree. To see if a tree measures up to national standards, visit American Forests’ website at To view West Virginia’s Big Tree Register, visit


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Leslie Fitzwater, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102,

Bob Hannah, Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator 304-825-6983,