Union County Great Trees

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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Union County has Great Trees! Union County Cooperative Extension is rolling out a new program – Union County Great Trees. This program seeks to highlight our rich, natural heritage by identifying the largest trees of each species in our County. We already know we have one champion – a willow oak in Marvin is not only a state champion, but a national champion. 

Large trees provide the greatest benefits to people where we work and live, and the benefits accumulate over time. For example, 30 small trees that are only 1 inch diameter provide much less monetary benefits than 1 tree that is 30 inches diameter. Large trees may have nesting cavities and provide habitat that simply cannot be replicated by small trees. Trees increase our property values, save us money by providing shade, and prevent localized flooding by capturing and holding stormwater, then releasing it slowly. Trees also abate noise pollution, and clean the air we breathe. 

Exceptionally large trees are usually exceptionally old, often more than 100 years old. White oaks routinely live for 200-350 years, with some examples up to 600 years old. Bald cypress can live to be 1,000 years old. One living bald cypress near Wilmington is at least 2,600 years old. These trees serve as a living reminder of how large and old a particular species may become. They are an important resource for variety in the gene pool, especially since we know they have survived hurricanes, fires, and other major events. Large old trees provide a sense of permanency and a sense of place. These trees are often historically significant and irreplaceable.

So help celebrate Union County Great Trees by nominating a tree you think deserves to be recognized. Take a few quick measurements yourself to see how your tree compares. If your tree is 80% as large as the state champion for its species we will highlight your tree on the Union County Great Trees website