Champion Trees of Garden City
Have you ever noticed a particularly remarkable tree and wondered if it was the biggest example of its kind? If so, you’re not alone. All around the world, trees are measured and recorded to find the best example of each species. These are called champion trees.
In this blog, we’ll look into what makes a Kansas State champion tree and describe the champion trees located right here in Garden City. Let’s dive in.
Kansas State Champion Trees Explained
A Kansas State champion tree is an exceptional example of a tree here in Kansas. All across the state, amateurs and professionals alike locate and measure the best examples of tree species and submit their findings to the Kansas State Champion Tree Program.
The champion tree program uses three main criteria to determine champion status:
- Circumference is the distance (in inches) measured around the trunk of the tree at a point 4.5 feet off the ground.
- Height is the distance (in feet) from the base of the trunk to the highest branch.
- Crownspread is the average distance (in feet) of the two widest perpendicular horizontal points of the branches.
Once all measurements are taken, the figures are totaled to create a score. As circumference is measured in inches, it’s the most important factor in determining a champion tree. Next most important is height, then crownspread.
The person who found the tree, called a nominator, then submits the score along with photographic evidence to the champion tree program. The scores are then added to the state database and compared to other examples of the same tree species.
The highest score gets crowned as a champion tree!
Are There Champion Trees in Garden City?
Yes! In fact, Garden City is home to two Kansas State Champion trees, an Austrian Pine and a Southwestern White Pine. Interestingly, both trees are not native to Kansas – just another feature that makes Garden City unique.
The Austrian Pine is a large coniferous evergreen originally from the Mediterranean area. It now only lives in two main regions: the Mediterranean and the American Midwest. This tree can grow up to 180 feet tall, and examples have been found that are over 500 years old.
- Scientific Name: Pinus nigra
- Total Points: 193
- Year Designated: 2021
- Location: Lee Richardson Zoo
- Nominator: Kris Aronson
Southwestern White Pine
The Southwestern White Pine is typically found in the American Southwest and Mexico, so it’s unusual to find an example as far north as Garden City. Despite being straight and slender, this tree species can grow to a height of almost 100 feet.
- Scientific Name: Pinus strobiformis
- Total Points: 147
- Year Designated: 2018
- Location: Finnup Park
- Nominator: Mike Ramsey
Check Them Out
If you find yourself in the mood to see something special, go check out Garden City’s Champion Trees. You can find the Austrian Pine at Lee Richardson Zoo, and the Southwestern Pine can be found at Finnup Park. Both parks are free to the public.