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Champion Tree Program

Champion Trees of Mississippi is the official publication of the Mississippi Champion Tree Program.  It is a listing of the largest reported trees of various species growing in the state. The list has been maintained by the Mississippi Forestry Commission since the program's beginning in 1972.  Mississippi's parent program, the National Register of Big Trees, was initiated in 1940 by the American Forestry Association (now known as American Forests). All trees submitted to the Mississippi Champion Tree Program are compared to the most current edition of the National Register of Big Trees.


The list of champion trees is constantly changing as people explore new areas or take a good look at the trees in their own backyards.  If you thing you may have discovered a champion tree, simply follow the nominating procedure found below.



Mississippi Champions in the National Register of Big Trees

Currently, 163 trees are registered as Mississippi champions, ten of which are also national champions and five are national co-champions.  



Read about the State and National Champion Longleaf Pine in Jasper County, Mississippi.


Procedure for Nominating a Champion Tree

Nominations should be made through the service forester's office in the county in which the candidate tree is located.  Arrangements for taking official measurements can also be made by writing Rick Olson, Champion Tree Coordinator. 


Any qualified forester may make the official measurements for nominating a Champion Tree.  Only these species listed in the USDA Forest Service publication Checklist of United States Trees (Native and Naturalized), by Elbert L. Little, Jr., are eligible for listing in Champion Tress of Mississippi.


To submit a tree in the "Big Tree" contest, complete the form below and mail to:

Todd Matthews

Urban & Community Forestry

13463 Highway 12 West
Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 361-4272 cell


Mississippi Champion "Big Tree" contest Candidate Tree Data form





How Champion Trees Are Selected

Champion trees are determined on the basis of points, awarded in the following manner:


  • One (1) point for each inch in circumference at a point 4.5 feet above the ground. (Check with the local service forester’s office for unusually shaped trees, multiple stems, etc.)
  • One (1) point for each foot in total height (measured to the nearest foot).
  • One-fourth (1/4) point for each foot in average crown spread (measured to the nearest foot).

The Champion Tree entry with the largest number of total points shall be declared the champion of its species in Mississippi and shall be recognized as such in each edition of Champion Trees of Mississippi until a new champion is found or until the tree dies. Co-champions will be listed in the case of very close point totals (within 5 total points).



Mississippi’s Champion Trees which score points in excess of those currently listed in the American Forests’ National Register of Big Trees will be forwarded to American Forests for nomination as a national champion.

Click here for instructions on How To Measure A Champion Tree

Once you’ve gotten the rough measurements, jot them down and ask your Service Forester to verify your figures and provide you with a nominating form. The forester will be glad to forward your nomination to the Champion Tree Coordinator.



For more information on The Champion Tree  program, contact:


Todd Matthews

Urban & Community Forestry

13463 Highway 12 West
Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 361-4272 cell



champion trees