2018-07-11 / Front Page

Campaign Begins to Certify Spooner Tree as Largest Single Trunk Live Oak In the World


Roger Spooner’s giant Live Oak tree located south of Iron City. Roger Spooner’s giant Live Oak tree located south of Iron City. Roger Spooner’s giant live oak tree, located just south of Iron City in Seminole County, is considered by the Georgia Forestry Commission as a co-champion in Georgia’s Champion Tree Program, along with “Village Sentinel” live oak in Waycross. However, some believe the Spooner tree should be in a class of its own and that the co-champion status needs to be updated.

On a recent visit to view the monumental botanical marvel. USDA Botanist Dr. Douglas Goldman commented, “This tree may be the largest tree of its kind in the world. It still shocks me every time I look at pictures of it. Anyone I’ve shown these pictures to are similarly amazed. If it’s not the national and world champion among live aaks, it’s certainly pretty close!”

This colossal live oak tree is like no other.

It’s 89 feet tall, with a crown spreading more than 140 feet, and a circumference of 34 feet, three inches. The Georgia Forestry Commission believes the tree is more than 300 years old.

It’s unique for more than just its massive size. Experts believe it should be certified in a class of its own because it is a single trunk tree. “I think it deserves its single trunk status,” said David Edwards, certified arborist.

The Seven Sisters Oak in Mandeville, Louisiana, is currently listed as the largest certified southern live oak tree in the country. Its trunk measures 38.9 feet with a height of 68 feet. This oak is also the National Champion on the National Register of Big Trees and the Champion Oak of Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Forestry Association; however, with its seven individual trunks, it is not a single-trunk tree.

The “Village Sentinel” live oak in Waycross, currently co-champion with the Spooner oak as the largest live oak tree in Georgia, stands almost 80 feet tall with a circumference 34 feet. It is estimated to be at least 250 years old; however, similar to the Seven Sisters tree, it is not a single-trunk specimen like the Spooner live oak.

The Waycross live oak is an official “State Champion Tree,” which means it is native to Georgia, and is currently the largest known tree of its species, and is registered in the Georgia Champion Tree Program.

In comparison, one of the most famous live oak trees in the South Georgia area, the big oak in Thomasville, wilts when compared to the massive size of the Spooner oak. Thomasville’s big oak’s trunk circumference is just over 26.5 feet, and the tree reaches a less than impressive 68 feet in height.

“I believe the Spooner tree is the biggest single trunk of live oak in the world, and we are going to take steps to prove just that,” commented Iron City’s Steve Cross, local live oak tree expert.

A local campaign has begun to officially designate the Spooner tree as the one that should be the champion and in a class of its own. Within the next few weeks, a delegation led by Cross and consisting of local foresters and state officials will be re-measuring the tree, using the American Forest Champion Trees Measuring Guidelines Handbook.

Once these numbers are verified, official registration efforts will be made to certify and accurately proclaim the monumental statement that Seminole County’s Spooner tree is the largest single trunk live oak tree in the state, in the nation and in the world. The campaign begins to certify the Spooner tree as largest single trunk live oak in the world!

Return to top