OXFORD COUNTY — The Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District has announced that the 2013 Oxford County Big Tree Contest has revealed a big tree for each of 24 native species and several new state champions.

“This has been a good year for the contest,” said Jean E. Federico, administrative assistant at the Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District in Paris, which conducts the annual contest.

The contest asks residents to search out specific native trees in each county. The largeness of the tree is determined by a formula where the total points are reached by adding the tree circumference (in inches) plus the height (in feet) plus one-fourth of the crown spread (in feet.)

At the end of the 2012 season, Federico said Oxford County had 18 county champions, three state champions and six nominees for state champion. Over the 2012-2013 winter two more trees were named to the state big tree list, and two others, including an eastern hemlock in Ordway Grove in Norway, are now being considered for listing.

During the 2012 contest, the discovery of a 95-foot-tall American chestnut tree in Hebron set off excitement nationwide.

Federico said at the beginning of October, the public had an opportunity to visit some of the new and old champion trees on a big tree tour. The tour included an American sycamore in Waterford, where the owners shared the history of their tree, which measures just over 304 inches in circumference. Federico said the crown of the sycamore forms a perfect canopy, and the leaves are 10 or more inches across.

The tour also made a return visit to the 95-foot-tall American chestnut tree in Hebron that was discovered last year and then to the well-known northern red oak in Lovell.

Federico said the surprise of the daylong tour was the view of an uncommon eastern red cedar located in Buckfield. Although not a big tree, it is almost double the size of the usual red cedar, which she said generally doesn’t grow bigger than eight to 12 inches in diameter with a height of about 30 feet. The tree in Buckfield measured 5 feet, 5 inches in circumference and 65 feet tall.

The group also visited Ordway Grove in Norway to view one of the county co-champion eastern white pine trees and an eastern hemlock that is in the running for state champion.

“Both of these trees stand amidst an ancient forest of huge trees and a visit to Ordway Grove is something that will long be remembered as an awe-inspiring experience,” Federico said.

Federico said the contest has become so popular that several other Soil & Water Conservation Districts across the state have added the Big Tree Contest to their programming and a statewide coordinator has been named.

“There’s a great deal of renewed interest and pride in Maine’s big trees, and I’m happy if OCSWCD played even a small part in that,” she said.

The contest begins again in May 2014. For more information about the Oxford County Big Tree Contest or for a list of the 66 native trees included in the contest, call the district at 207-743-5789, ext. 111, or email [email protected]

[email protected]

The following are Oxford County champions for largest tree in its species. Champions or nominees for largest trees in its species on a statewide basis are designated as such.

Species: Total Points, County/State champion/nominee, Location

Ash, White: 350.29 feet, county and state, Waterford

Aspen, Bigtooth: 161.5 feet, county, Norway

Basswood, American: 313.87 feet, county and state, South Waterford

Birch, White: 181.13 feet, county, Stow

Birch, Yellow: 177.63, 177.19 feet, county co-champions, Otisfield, South Paris

Butternut: 267.35 feet, county, Buckfield

Cedar, Northern White: 182.35 feet, county, Buckfield

Chestnut, American: 184.5 feet, county, Hebron

Elm, American: 272.75 feet, county, Waterford

Hemlock, Eastern: 240.9 feet, county champion and state nominee, Norway

Hickory, Shagbark: 191.06 feet, county, Buckfield

Hophornbeam, Eastern: 144.71 feet, county champion and state nominee, Paris

Maple, Silver: 361, 358 feet, county and state co-champions, West Paris, Fryeburg

Maple, Striped: 100.95 feet, county and state, Byron

Maple, Sugar: 263.1 feet, county, Oxford

Oak, Black: 315.38 feet, county and state, Sumner

Oak, Chestnut: 219.63 feet, county, Buckfield

Oak, Northern Red: 357.6 feet, county champion and state nominee, Lovell

Oak, Swamp White: 233 feet, county and state champion, Paris

Oak, White: 174.25 feet, county, Lovell

Pine, Eastern White: 301.3 feet, 305.64 feet, county co-champions, Norway, Fryeburg

Red cedar, Eastern: 139 feet, county and state, Buckfield

Sycamore, American: 304.13 feet, county and state, Waterford

Tamarack: 162.37 feet, county, Buckfield

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