My friend, Millie and I took a road trip to Columbus Grove last week. You might say it was a nature tour. Millie has a real love of trees — so do I. Millie can identify all varieties of trees, whereas I know a maple from an oak but I didn’t realize how many oaks there are. We made a special effort to see and study the two huge Baldcypress trees on the front lawn of the VFW Hall in Columbus Grove.
Millie Ruen gives the Columbus Grove tree a measurement with her arm-spread of 63 inches.
The ODNR, Division of Forestry sponsors a program, Ohio Big Trees. We were under the impression that the larger of the two baldcypress in Columbus Grove was the largest of its kind in Ohio until we consulted the internet. We discovered the Champion Baldcypress is in Hamilton County in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. It has a trunk circumference of 196 inches, height of 100 feet and a crown of 56 feet, giving it a total of 310 points. If someone would measure the Columbus Grove tree, it might be a good candidate to challenge the Champion.
Champion trees are determined on the basis of points awarded in the following manner—one point for each inch in circumference, one point for each foot in height and one fourth point for each foot in the average crown spread. Total points give you the tree size. The circumference is measured at 4.5 feet above the ground on the uphill side of the tree. We didn’t have a tape measure but Millie gave it an arms spread measurement. Her arm spread is 63 inches.
A Baldcypress is a Deciduous conifer and considered a native Ohio tree. The baldcypress has miniature needle like leaves that attach to twiglets and these twiglets attach to miniature twigs in a spiraled fashion. In autumn the leaves change from medium green to shades of orange, cinnamon and tan, before the needles and twiglets together absisce from the twig. Its fruits are actually round cones. Triangular seeds are released from the brown cones in autumn and winter.
The more a person learns about trees the more your enjoyment and appreciation for them grows. Trees provide us with shade and beauty and help maintain clean air and water. They enrich and hold the soil and offer food and shelter for wildlife.
Remember what you learned in elementary science class. Trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Maybe we should start planting more trees along our highways and in the median strips. It might help take of this global warming problem.
Ohio has 10 National Champion trees. They are: Arborvitae, Scioto County; Coffeetree, Lake County; Cottonwood, Delaware County; Elm, Ross County; Hawthorn, Madison County; Magnolia, Stark County; Oak, Hamilton County; Plum, Clermont County; Sycamore, Ashland County and White-cedar in Muskingum County.