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The original item was published from 9/15/2021 4:30:05 PM to 10/16/2021 12:00:06 AM.

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Public Works - Forestry

Posted on: September 14, 2021

[ARCHIVED] City seeks out Bismarck Champion trees

Cottonwood Tree champion candidate

BISMARCK, N.D. – Susan Wefald and Nancy Willis, volunteers with the Bismarck Forestry Division, would like the public to help them find very large trees, or ‘Champion’ trees in Bismarck. They are looking for the largest, American elm, linden, cottonwood, ash and burr oak trees in the city.

According to Doug Wiles, Bismarck City Forester, “Champion trees are something truly special….they are the tallest, strongest and oldest of their species. They have withstood the tough environmental conditions that exist in our city to provide incredible benefits to our citizens. The larger the tree the more benefits they produce and these giants produce the most. They intercept the most stormwater, provide more energy savings for residents,   sequester more carbon dioxide, produce more oxygen and make our city beautiful.” 


Starting in January 2021, Wefald and Willis have walked and driven through the city, looking for ‘Champion’ trees and measuring ones they have found. “First, I measure the circumference, and then if the tree looks promising, we measure the height and spread of the branches.   Property owners have been very interested in the project, and very cooperative,” stated Wefald.


Wefald and Willis are looking for cottonwood trees that are over 16 feet in circumference (measuring around the trunk, 4.5 feet from the ground); American Elms that are over 13 feet in circumference; Linden trees that are over 9 feet in circumference; Burr Oak that are over 7 feet in circumference; and Ash trees that are over 9 feet in circumference. 


The trees must be in Bismarck or in parks managed by Bismarck Parks and Recreation, such as General Sibley Park. “We have found some very large cottonwood trees in General Sibley Park and Sertoma Riverside Park,” Willis noted.  “We are hoping both homeowners who have large trees on their property and the general public will contact us to help us find the ‘Champion’ trees of Bismarck,” she added.


People who wish to report a large tree should contact the Bismarck Forestry Division at 701-355-1700, option 3, or email: dwiles@bismarcknd.gov before October 15, 2021.


Wefald and Willis are doing the project to increase interest in Bismarck’s trees. Bismarck has been recognized as a “Tree City USA” for 44 years. Wefald plans to work with the city Forestry Division and develop a map so that people can view the magnificent trees that are on public property. “Many are on the boulevards or in our parks,” she noted.  

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