Ed Buschmann looks Friday at the giant Norway spruce tree that towers over his home in Lewiston. The Maine Forest Service has determined it is the largest of its kind in Maine. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — The largest specimen of Norway spruce in the state can be found in Lewiston at 80 Dyer Road. 

The champion tree, determined by the Maine Forest Service to be the largest of its kind in the state, resides in a 30-acre woodlot, referred to as Old Dyer Farm by property owner Ed Buschmann, who has lived there since 1964. 

The tree, however, goes way back, further than when Buschmann’s father, a professor of German at Bates College in Lewiston, bought the property in 1939. Buschmann said his father believed the tree had been planted in the late 1800s by the previous owners. 

Buschmann, a retiree who owns Dun Roamin Tree Farm on the property, had been curious about the size of the tree for a while, eventually getting around to measuring it with his son when he came to visit one day. 

“It certainly looked bigger than anything I had ever seen,” Buschmann said. 

After taking measurements, he contacted a forester from the Maine Forest Products Council, who became intrigued once he heard the measurements. 

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“A lot of the finding of this tree was through the help of Fred Huntress, who’s always worked with me on managing the timberland and the Christmas trees. He helped me get this Norway spruce tree approved by the Maine Forest Service once we got the specifications together,” Buschmann said. 

The Maine Forest Service measures the circumference of the trunk from 4.5 feet off the ground, its height in feet, and a quarter of the spread of the crown, which is the total area of the branches and leaves, and gives it a point total. 

Compared with the previous record-setter — it’s on Cobbossee Lake in Manchester and measures at 162 inches in circumference, 112 feet in height and a crown spread of about 14 feet — Buschmann’s spruce is 186 inches in circumference, 103 feet tall, and has an crown spread of  about 13 feet. The Manchester tree had a total of 288 points; the Lewiston tree had 302.

 Points are used to determine whether the tree is a champion, or largest of its species, and is found by adding the measurements together and seeing where the number lies in comparison to other trees in a registry.  If the number exceeds or falls within 10 points of the largest on record, it may be a winner. 

The Lewiston spruce, however, does not appear on the annual list of tallest trees by species in Maine because the Maine Forest Service only documents trees indigenous to North America. While very common in Maine and the Northeast, the Norway spruce is European in origin, native to Norway and Poland, as well as some countries in Eastern Europe. 

Undeterred, Buschmann considers his record-setting spruce a symbol of his personal affinity for the outdoors and passion for his current line of work.

“Christmas tree farming and taking care of the woodland is my hobby,” he said. “I’ve sold firewood and Christmas trees since I retired in 2004. Kind of a crazy hobby to have in your retirement, but I love it and I like the outdoors and taking care of it.”


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