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Monday, January 16, 2012

The Ann Arbor Big Tree Registry -- circa 1995

The Forestry Department at the city of Ann Arbor once maintained a listing of the city's largest trees. The owner and the nominator both received certificates stamped with the official city seal and signed by highly-placed bureaucrats. That effort was discontinued when the forestry department was 'streamlined' and the offices were moved out of the old building on West Washington. In fact the records themselves, while existing somewhere in city cyberspace, have been unavailable for many years. Recently a veteran employee dug up an early iteration of the registry (dated April, 1995) and covertly passed it over to investigative reporter. I now share it with you.

Fagus sylvatica (copper beech):
809-811 Oxford (88' height, 149" circ, 68' crown spread)

Sassafras albidum:
1766 Glenwood (72' height, 58" circ, 12.5' crown spread)

Quercus alba (white oak):
Arbor Hills Sub on Green Rd: (67' height, 187" circ, 80' crown)

Quercus velutina (black oak)
114 Grandview (77' height, 149" circ, 82' crown spread)

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)
804 Gott (74' height, 212" circ, 74.5' crown spread)

Quercus robur (English oak)
2631 Devonshire (37' height, 36" circ, 28' crown spread)

Quercus palustris (pin oak)
936 Aberdeen (83' height, 101' circ, 68" crown spread)

Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Tappan St, U-M Law School (52' h, 51" c, 46' crown spread)

Quercus imbricaria (shingle oak)
901 S Forest (75' height, 102" circ, 73' crown spread)

Ulmus procera (English oak)
2100 Devonshire (76' height, 179" circ, 48" crown spread)

Ulmus pumila (siberian elm)
2119 Devonshire (85' height, 179" circ, 84' crown spread)

In addition to the above, there are listings for the largest elm and the largest red oak. Both specimens have died since 1995. It seems suspicious that nine species of oak are included but not a single maple. There must be a page missing. Also Paul Bairley and I measured many more species that are on this list. They would be included in a later iteration of the list, but those records haven't yet resurfaced. And a final note: we did not measure any of the trees in Nichols Arboretum. We figured it was hardly fair to include 'museum' specimens.

I hereby declare myself official keeper of the records. My first pronouncement is to open the field so as to include Nichols Arboretum and territories outside the city limits proper. Let me know if you want to join me in measuring some trees, or if you know of candidates that deserve consideration.

1 comment:

  1. The Fagus sylvatica is really huge. I think red oak is of high value. Other related oaks are also cut and marketed as red oak, although their wood is not always of as high a quality.

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