Great American Tree Competition

This year’s Great American Tree competition had some absolutely beautiful nominations, many of which exemplify this year's theme of unique fall color. Our top five trees with the most member votes were Bessemer City’s Cedar Tree, Largest Tree in Arkansas, White Oak of Wisconsin, Rancho Cucamonga’s Live Oak, and Ginkgo of Agnes Scott College.

Click a photo below to learn more about each unique entry.

Rancho Cucamonga's Live Oak

Species: Vercus Chrysolepis

Size: 13 feet in circumference

Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA

This Canyon Live Oak is the most important tree in my hometown of Rancho Cucamonga, California - the largest and oldest native tree in the entire city, it has been recognized as an official historic landmark for decades now. Sadly the past several years of drought crippled its health, and neglect once left its surroundings in a debris-filled, degraded condition. But in the spring of 2015, as a high school senior, I led a project to get this tree all the tender loving care it had been so sorely needed. Thanks to the assistance of city officials, certified arborists, and a small army of student volunteers, we were able to improve the tree’s location to encourage visitors and rehabilitate its constitution with mulch, nutrients, and several doses of supplementary water from the fire department. The Canyon Live Oak’s beloved place in the community has now been restored, and every school break when I return home to San Bernardino County I am pleased to see its health improve with new growth and vigor, while I keep a watchful eye on construction in the neighboring lots, and gently badger my old contacts to ensure the tree is not at risk. This tree has meant a great deal to me in my life - I have watched it nobly struggle against the passage of time in my childhood, picnicked in it’s shade with my grandmother and felt ashamed at its lack of veneration, and been inspired to my first experiences in civic action in all my efforts to keep it safe for all the years it may have left. To me this Oak is perhaps the greatest tree in all of America, and I feel that the time I have spent with it represents all of the best qualities that America has to offer. Were the Canyon Live Oak to win, I would donate the money to the City of Rancho Cucamonga to pay for a commemorative plaque and a set of benches for a park on the site - components which lack funds in the current municipal budget, and which I was unable to procure in my original project.

Nominated by: Mathew Ramirez

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Comments

  • Visiting this tree with family is always a delight, and sitting under the shade of its branches is bliss. I've yet to see a more beautiful tree in the city; I think it would be so wonderful if it won!
  • So much was done to save Rancho Cucamonga's Live Oak that I'd love to see benches and plaque around it to help others appreciate what it's been through and enjoy its enduring beauty.
  • This tree's quiet beauty and power has done so much to bring a community together - it more than deserves to win. (#^_^#)
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2016's Winner

The Largest Tree in Arkansas, a champion bald cypress, was voted The 2016 Great American Tree.