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Forester looking for Maine's largest trees

3:42 PM, Nov 22, 2010   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Every two years, Maine creates a register of its largest trees.  A forester in charge of the program is calling on Mainers to place trees in nomination for the register by December 31.

Jan Santerre notes that there is one big hole on the list.  Herbie, the largest American Elm in New England was cut down in January.  "We have a few nominations for American Elm to replace Herbie," she told NEWS CENTER. "We have a couple of nominations from Castine which has a large population of beautiful old American Elm trees.  I've heard word that there may be a tree coming in from Kennebunkport."

Four measurements are used in determining trees in this competition.  The circumference of the trunk is measured in inches, four and a half feet off the ground.  The height of the tree is measured in feet.  These two numbers are added.

The crown of the tree is measured at its widest and narrowest spots.  These numbers are averaged and multiplied by .25.  The resulting number (the product) is added to the circumference and height.

A yellow birch in Wayne is Maine's only national champion.  A branch has fallen off, but it is expected to retain its title.  "Maine is a great place for yellow birch," says Santerre.  "This is not the first yellow birch from Maine to be the national champion."

Many people think the biggest trees will be in the big woods. That's not always the case.  Many of Maine's largest trees are in cities, parks and cemeteries.    Portland City Arborist Jeff Tarling says, "They have enough space and light, they're normally cared for and in places like Deering Oaks, we have trees that were planted 150 years ago."  Also, exotic species are often planted in these places.

Anyone who would like to submit a nominee should go to the Department of Conservation website.  See the link to the right.

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