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.

The American Sycamore in the picture is the famous “moon tree” in the Tennessee Landmark & Historic Tree Registry.  It was a seed on the Apollo 14 moon flight with Alan Shephard, Ed Mitchell, and Stuart Roosa.  Each astronaut was allowed to take some personal items aboard, including Commander Shephard’s historic golf club.  Command Module Pilot Roosa, at one time a smoke jumper with the United States Forest Service, took aboard seeds from redwoods, Douglas Firs, sycamores, loblolly pines, and sweetgums to research the effects of weightlessness on the growth of tree species.  The seeds circled the moon 34 times in the Kitty Hawk capsule.  Upon his return to Earth, Roosa gave the tree seeds to the U.S. Forest Service, where they were planted in nurseries in Mississippi and California.  In 1976 the seedlings were distributed in celebration of the Bicentennial to many states.  The State of Tennessee received four of these Apollo 14 seedlings, three of which are still alive today. 

The pictured American Sycamore was planted at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee after a ceremony in 1976.  NASA still maintains a website documenting all of the “moon trees” and which of the 23 states they were planted in and if they are still alive.


This particular sycamore is:

Diameter:  22 inches

Height:  75 feet

Average Crown Spread:  60 feet

Nomination by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council

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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