Great American Tree 2017

2017 Great American Tree

This year’s Great American Tree competition had 30 charming nominations, all who uniquely defined what it means to be a summer tree. Our top five trees with the most member votes were Memorable Magnoila, Rhea Water Oak, White Oak of Tennessee, Pentz Pecan, and Magnolia Macrophylla.

Thanks to all the tree-enthusiast throughout our nation who contributed entries to our 3nd annual competition. Your participation is important to our organization dedicated to flourishing urban forests.

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

This huge White Oak was a well-known meeting place for weary settlers in the history of the state.  Travelers on the Old Kentucky Trail (which traversed through North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee) would wait sometimes for many weeks under the tree to meet members of their party and the tree was an established landmark for this trail.  Sometimes the travelers would linger because of bad weather or lack of supplies.  Local families recount stories of grandparents who knew someone born under the branches of the tree due to the extended delays.  Many family meetings were also held throughout history due to its prominence in the landscape.  At one time it was thought to have been part of the infamous Trail of Tears, although more recent research indicates the trail was several miles south of here.

The tree is known to be over 200 years old.  In 2012 a developer bought the surrounding property and fearing damage or removal of the famous tree, the City of McMInnville negotiated to purchase the footprint of the tree from the developer.  The Birthing Tree now enjoys protection from the local municipality.



Diameter:  80 inches

Height:  81 feet

Average Crown Spread:  130 feet

Nominated by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council and listed as the “Birthing Tree” in the Tennessee Landmark & Historic Tree Registry.

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First Place goes to Pentz Pecan (or softshell hickory) from Sommerville, Tennessee. 

2nd place goes to Magnolia Macrophylla from Woodland's garden in Atlanta Georgia

3rd place awarded to a Tennessee White Oak