TUSCALOOSA, AL – A Southern Magnolia tree located on the Bryce Preserve at The University of Alabama was recognized as the current largest of that species in the state during an event held on campus March 9 making it an Alabama Champion Tree.
Katie Wiswall with the Alabama Forestry Commission measured the tree as part of Alabama’s Champion Tree Program, which aims to discover, recognize and preserve the largest trees of each species in the state.
“Unless someone submits a much taller tree, and I don’t see that happening, you all have a Champion tree,” Wiswall said.
The team used an industrial tape measure for circumference and crown spread and a clinometer to measure height.
The tree measured 292 inches in circumference, 70 feet in height and had an average crown spread of 72 feet. County forester Sam Boswell and forestry ranger Roy Davis assisted with the measurements as did students David Phillips and Aurora Baker.
Barring a larger Southern Magnolia tree being submitted to the Alabama Forestry Commission by the end of July, UA’s tree will be officially declared an Alabama Champion and a permanent marker will be placed at the base of the tree in August.
The University of Alabama was also recognized during the event as a “Tree Campus USA” for the eighth consecutive year. The designation, given by the Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes colleges and universities that promote healthy trees and conservation efforts.
Jennifer Brady, UA Strategic Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org