Our 5th annual Great American Tree compeition received 25 nominations! We have tallied over 6,000 votes on outstanding trees that each uniquely represent our nation's beautiful and diverse canopy. Our top 3 trees with the most member votes are (in no particular order): Quamal the douglas fir, Rosa the ponderosa pine, and the cottonwood trees.

The 2019 Great American Tree is... Rosa the Ponderosa Pine of the Black Hills of South Dakota! This tree embodies the American spirit with her resilience and stature. She is a testament to the ever-lasting legacy trees can leave on their community. Rosa has overcome many environmental changes and challenges throughout her 738 years. This tree has stood tall after a lightning strike, bug infestations and the consequences of climate change. Her adaptations and resilience have taught scientists many things about landscape changes in her community. "We have a lot to learn from this great American tree that has been there through all of our histories as a Nation and for so much of history of the Black Hills." Nominated by Rachel Ormseth and Frank Carroll. More here.

We are also happy to announce the cottonwood trees planted by "Pa" Ingalls as our first runner up! These five trees have rich historic roots in South Dakota. More here.

Quamal, one of the world's largest known Douglas firs in the Olympic National Forest in Washington state, is our second runner up. More here

Thanks for your participation in the Great American Tree Competition!

Top Three Member Voted Trees

The Cottonwood Trees that Charles “Pa” Ingalls planted is submitted by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society. There is a small town in South Dakota where the pages of the famous “Little House” books come to life. Popular children’s author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, describes her family’s travels west and her childhood in the “Little Town on the Prairie,” otherwise known as De Smet, South Dakota.

In 1880, Charles Ingalls filed for a homestead claim one mile southeast of De Smet, Dakota Territory. That spring the Ingalls family moved out to the 160-acre homestead and built a small claim shanty. Not long after, “Pa” planted five cottonwood trees, one for his wife, Caroline, and his four daughters Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace.

Today, visitors from around the world come to De Smet to see the original homes and cottonwood trees of the Ingalls family.

The five Populus deltoides aka cottonwoods are located on the first acre of the Ingalls Homestead at the corner of 208th St. and Homestead Rd (44°22'07.1"N 97°32'29.5"W).

Listed below are the estimated height and diameter of the five cottonwood trees as measured by Jon Livermore, an urban forester in Watertown, SD.

1- 60ft tall and diameter of 58.5 inches

2- 61ft tall and diameter of 44 inches

3- 68ft tall and diameter of 38 inches

4- 65ft tall and diameter of 44.5 inches

5- 60ft tall and diameter of 43.5 inches


Nominated by: Tessa Flak

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2019's Great American Tree is.. Rosa the ponderosa pine! Read more about her here.

Winner announced on July 4th!

GRAND PRIZE: 500$

SECOND PLACE: 250$

THIRD PLACE: 100$