A 2010 National Champion American basswood tree was found fallen in Charles County.
The Chapman State Park tree was named 2010 National Champion of its species by the Big Tree Program, a national conservation organization. The American basswood was named champion based on measurements of height and width.
Local biologist Roderick Simmons measured the tree at 135 feet tall and a little over 20 feet around, with a crown spread of 90 feet in 2010. “I believe this huge specimen was likely at least 200 years old,” Simmons said.
When the tree was found fallen by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, it measured out to be 150 feet tall, 15 feet taller than originally reported.
Simmons believed the tree fell due to harsh weather conditions. “Unfortunately it couldn’t withstand the combination of Hurricane Irene in August and the unusually heavy rainfall that followed in early September.”
Although the American Basswood or Tilia Americana is native to some counties in Maryland, the state no longer holds the national title for the tree species.
The Big Tree Program began in Maryland in 1925 and became a national program in 1940. American Forests currently runs the program with coordinators in every state. They collect data from measuring trees and submit any potential national champions to American Forests biannually.