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CECIL COUNTY, Md. (November 18, 2011) -- The Eder Park silver maple located in Elkton has lost its title as Maryland’s Largest Tree after being severely damaged by the nor-easter that pummeled Maryland with high winds last week. An American sycamore in Montgomery County now holds the title.
“This tree had two leaders arising from a huge trunk, and the larger leader split off just above the fork, leaving a gaping hole in the center of trunk,” said Dori Murphy, Maryland Big Tree Program volunteer and photographer. “Further investigation revealed that the trunk was mostly rotten and hollow, with only a few inches of living wood supporting the massive weight of the large leader.”
The Eder Park silver maple was officially named Maryland's Largest Tree in 2006. The tree replaced the Wye Oak, which was blown over in a storm in 2002.
In April 2011, the silver maple was re-measured by members of the Maryland Big Tree Program. It had grown from 464 points in 2006 to 479 points in 2011.
“At that size, it was in a virtual tie for the largest silver maple in the United States, and was expected to be recognized as a National Co-Champion once confirmed by representatives of American Forests, which maintain the National Register of Champion Trees,” said John Bennett, Program coordinator. “Due to the severe damage, it will no longer be in consideration for that honor, and in fact is no longer Maryland's Largest Tree.”
The title has now been passed down to an American sycamore located in the C&O Canal National Historical Park, about 300 feet from the bank of the Potomac River, in Montgomery County. It was recently measured by Program volunteers and found to have a total point value of 470. There is another American sycamore in Frederick County with a total point value of 468; therefore, both trees may be considered co-champions. The Montgomery tree is available for public visitation. The Frederick tree is privately owned and is not open to the public.
The Maryland Big Tree Program is now run by volunteers from the Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards with the support and sponsorship of the Maryland DNR Forest Service. Big tree owners who wish to nominate their own big tree may access this program at dnr.maryland.gov/forests/trees/bigtree.asp.
The universal point system was developed by Maryland’s first State Forester, Fred Besley. The formula is: circumference in inches + height in feet + one fourth of the average crown spread in feet.
Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources