Michigan Big Tree Hunt seeks state's largest tree

Do you know where the biggest tree in Michigan

That's the question on the minds of the managers behind the Michigan Big Tree Hunt, the annual competition that asks the public to identify the state's largest woody landmarks. The biggest trees identified will be entered into a register that tracks the country's largest trunks.

The contest raises the question about how to calculate the size of a tree. Is it measured in girth? Height? The complexity of its root structure? And what about age?

All factors are considered when comparing Michigan's biggest trees. There are three rules to follow:

  1. The tree must be living and accessible to be verified
  2. The tree's size is determined by circumference (the measurement around the trunk)
  3. Submissions are due Aug. 19, 2022. 

Any trees that have already made it onto the Michigan Big Tree Register are not eligible for prizes. The database, which is monitored by the nonprofit ReLeaf Michigan, includes hundreds of different submissions. 

Many of the submissions on the list are found in the state's more isolated regions - like the western end of the Upper Peninsula. One of the largest trees identified was a non-native White Willow in Ingham County. 

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An awards ceremony for the largest tree submissions is planned for late 2022. Prizes for the contest include:

  1. Largest tree found by a Big Tree Hunter age 16 or older
  2. Largest tree found by a Big Tree Hunter age 15 or younger
  3. Largest White Pine (Michigan’s State Tree), any age
  4. Largest tree found for each county in Michigan
  5. Tree (of any species) that is larger than the current registered Michigan State Champion​ (Note: four species currently have no registered state champion, so any size submitted could be a potential winner - striped maple, mountain maple, choke cherry, and white/paper birch.)

The submission form for the contest is here