A Swamp Chestnut Oak tree at the Stumpy Lake Natural Area has been named a national champion by the American Forests organization and is now listed in its Champion Tree National Register.
Based on height, circumference,and crown measurements, Virginia Beach’s Swamp Chestnut Oak (scientific name Quercus Michauxii), received a total number of 426 points, making it a state and a national champion.
It is located in a wooded area close to Stumpy Lake Golf Course.
The natural area is a 1,400-acre city property, managed by the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department.
Originally identified in 1990 as a potential champion by “big tree hunters” Byron Carmean and Gary Williamson, it was re-measured this year by Mik Lestyan, Byron Carmean and city arborist Susan French.
Lestyan and Carmean are members of the Urban Forest Trailblazers, an active volunteer group that maintains trails at several local sites.
Dr. Eric Wiseman, from Virginia Tech, submitted the nominations into the Virginia Big Tree database and to American Forests.
By recognizing champion trees, American Forests and the city of Virginia Beach hope to focus public attention on the aesthetic beauty and critical ecosystem services provided by our largest and oldest trees.
Here are some facts about the tree:
Common Name: swamp chestnut oak.
Scientific Name: Quercus michauxii.
Native/Naturalized: Native to Virginia.
National Champion: yes.
Virginia Champion: yes.
Circumference: 276 in.
Height: 123 ft.
Crown: 109 ft.
Date Last Measured: 2017.
Last Measured by: Mik Lestyan, Susan French, Byron Carmean.
Date First Measured: 1990.
Comments: Tree appears healthy. National champ in 2017.