North Dakota Champion Cottonwood

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Jimmy McDonald
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North Dakota Champion Cottonwood

Post by Jimmy McDonald » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:27 pm

I have been working in North Dakota lately and I decided to take a little detour on my way home back to Minnesota. I read on the North Dakota Champion trees that there was quite a large Cottonwood in Horace. 26'8". I saw a few pictures online of it. It has a name even Uncle Johns Cottonwood. It is a two trunked tree, or something like that I'm still confused as to when it's one tree or two or has two trunks. But here are some photos and I'll be interested to hear what you guys have to say about it. I gave it a measure and found it to be 28'7" cbh. You may be able to get a smaller measurement due to its shape.

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Re: North Dakota Champion Cottonwood

Post by edfrank » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:46 am


For measurement purposes a tree with a single trunk is considered to be a different class of tree, than those with two or more trunks even of the tree with the multiple trunks spring from the same root system. For champion tree purposes only those trees with a single trunk - meaning it would have only a single pith at ground level should be considered as a champion tree for the species. I would like to see a separate list maintained for multitrunk trees, but for now by definition only single trunk trees should be counted as champions. There is a caveat - A single individual trunk of a multitrunk tree would be eligible to be a species champion if it was the largest known individual trunk for the species. The other trunks in the multitrunk clump would not be considered in its point calculation for girth, height, or crown spread, only the largest trunk itself.

It is a nice and impressive tree. Thanks for taking the time to visit the tree and measure it, and to post it to the BBS. I like to see large trees like this documented even if they are multitrunk specimens. They just should not be compared with single trunk individuals for champion tree purposes.


"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Re: North Dakota Champion Cottonwood

Post by ElijahW » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:26 am


I'll echo what Ed wrote. The tree certainly is large, and has an attractive form, especially for a cottonwood, from a distance (your first photo). I haven't seen the tree in person, nor been to that area of ND, but I'm assuming it sticks out quite a bit from its neighboring trees. I would consider that attribute alone makes it a popular champion, along with it having a name. But if it's an eastern cottonwood, many trees back east have it beat points- and circumference-wise, even those of the single-trunk variety. Thanks for sharing the tree with us.

"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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Re: North Dakota Champion Cottonwood

Post by Chris » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:10 pm

Very nice form in the first photo.

To be fair, it is probably Plains Cottonwood (a different subspecies from the eastern variety most of us are familiar with). The American Forest's register lists the largest in the amusingly named 'Hygiene, CO'. It is clearly multi-trunk too [in fact more so than this ND one].

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