Georgia's Champion Tree Program

Live Oak

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) oversees the Champion Tree Program in Georgia. A champion tree is defined as the largest known tree of a particular species.

For a tree to be considered it must meet all of the following criteria.

  1. The tree must have an erect woody perennial stem, or trunk, at least
    9.5 inches in circumference measured 4.5 feet from the ground, with a definitely formed crown of foliage, and be at least 13 feet in total height.

  2. To be eligible for the Georgia Champion Tree Program, a species must be recognized as native or naturalized in the continental United States. To determine eligibility, the Georgia Forestry Commission uses Elbert L. Little Jr.'s Checklist of United States Trees (Native and Naturalized), published in 1979 as U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Handbook 541. There are species currently on Georgia's Champion Tree list not listed in the Handbook because in the past any tree species was accepted. The goal is to remove these species over time as these champions cease to exist. Any naturalized tree species considered invasive will not be considered. A complete list of Georgia invasive trees can be viewed at Gainvasives.org.


For further information contact your local GFC office or Program Coordinator Scott Griffin at sgriffin@gfc.state.ga.us or 770.538.2666.



National Register of Big Trees

Congaree Cypress Nominations that appear to be eligible will be forwarded to the National Register of Big Trees maintained by American Forests in Washington DC. The same system of scoring is used in both programs and if accepted in the National Register the tree will be listed as a National champion in Georgia's Champion Tree Register.