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.

Seven Mile Bend Oak

The “Seven Mile Bend Oak” grows in a well-kept 12,000 square green space and is the cornerstone of River Oaks Condo’s located off the Ogeechee River in Bryan County.  This tree gets its name from the Seven Mile Bend area of the Ogeechee River. According to online sources, journals dating back to the 1700s make reference to bend as the “Elbow of the Great Ogeechee.” The Seven-Mile Bend conveniently resembles the letter “R” and even helped City of Richmond Hill create a new logo in 2014. The enclosed part of the “R” in the bend was once a Guale Indian village. The wreckage of a Civil War blockade runner, the CSS Nashville, aka the Rattlesnake, also lies beneath the black water. “Seven Mile Bend” was once part of the Richmond Plantation, which was burned by General William T. Sherman's army at the conclusion of the "March to the Sea". The actual bend was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972! You can only see the bend by boat but historical markers and artifacts found in the area can be viewed at nearby Fort McAllister State Historic Park Museum and on the Coastal Bryan Heritage Trail. This area also has a historical connection to industrialist Henry Ford. Ford used the town, formerly known as Ways Station, as a winter home and philanthropic social experiment. In the early 1930’s, Ford began building the complex known as the Ford Farms all along the Ogeechee River including the “Seven Mile Bend”. Ford's holdings totaled 85,000 acres of agricultural and timber lands, much of this land is now owned by the State of Georgia, timber companies, or private subdivisions which include the River Oaks Condos. This 350 year old tree has endured over the past centuries and has survived war, the “live oaking” years, agriculture, industrialization, and even urbanization. I strongly feel that this is a “Great American Tree”. This Live Oak’s  dimensions are: circumference – 277” (88.2” DBH); height -78’; average crown spread – 114’; crown ratio – 80%. The tree has a few bad pruning cuts that have developed some rot in the upper crown but over all its very healthy.

Nominated by: Mark McClellan

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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