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Eight New Champion Trees Gain Recognition in Arboretum


Published September 19, 2023

During the 2023 summer arboriculture intern, UMass graduate student Tes Siarnacki took on the project of surveying the Botanic Garden of Smith College arboretum to identify potential champion trees growing on campus. In the past, the campus has held as many as 10 trees with champion status at once and currently had six on the list. 

Siarnacki identified eight new trees by using the big tree score (see below). The trees have been given the official champion tree designation by the state and will be added to the Massachusetts Tree Legacy Program list this winter. This will bring the total state champions trees in the arboretum to 14.

The newly-designated champion trees are:

  • Mountain Silverbell (Halesia monticola) by the President’s House

  • Honey Locust (Gleditsia) by Scales House

  • River Birch (Betula nigra) by Scales House

  • Chinese Fringe Tree (Chionanthus retusus) by Duckett House

  • Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) by Dewey House 

  • Camperdown Elm (Ulmus glabra camperdownii) by Lyman

  • Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora) by Smith Turf Field

  • American Holly (Ilex opaca) behind the Smith College Campus School 


The big tree score or Champion Tree formula is: Trunk Circumference (inches) + Height (feet) + ¼ Average Crown Spread (feet) = Total Points.