Champion & Heritage Tree Programs

About Champion Tree

The Champion Tree Program is administered by the Nebraska Forest Service. The purpose of the program is to promote public awareness of Nebraska's forest and tree resources by searching for the state’s largest trees.

To nominate a champion tree in Nebraska, first view the nomination guidelines including directions on how to measure the tree. You may submit nominations online or mail a completed form and a photo of the tree. The form can be printed directly from your computer.

Champion Tree Register

The Nebraska Champion Tree Register lists the most common native and introduced tree species in Nebraska. Most of the listed species are described in Trees of Nebraska (Nebraska Cooperative Extension EC 92-1774-X). The register annotates Native Nebraska trees, State Co-Champions and Nebraska trees that are National Champions.
National Champions

With Nebraska’s harsh weather, trees may not grow as large here as in other parts of the country. But Nebraska still has some large specimens, including two National Champions.

In October 2013 a cottonwood tree 10 miles northeast of Beatrice was named the National Champion, the largest known species of its kind in the country. It measures 88 feet high with a 108-foot canopy spread and a trunk circumference of 36 feet and nine inches. It joins Nebraska’s other national co-champions, a pair of dwarf chinkapin oaks in Salem, Neb.

Heritage Tree Program

The Nebraska Register of Heritage Trees is unique because it is a collection of trees that have served as living witnesses in the state of Nebraska. The register includes tales, photographs and a journey into Nebraska’s past through the special accounts of these famous storytellers.

Nominating a distinctive tree for the register gives every community across the state an excellent opportunity to celebrate our Nebraska heritage.

The Nebraska Heritage Tree Program is a cooperative effort between the Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Community Forestry Council.

Guidelines for Nomination

  • The tree is figurative in legend, lore or common perception.
  • The tree stands at the home of a person who played a role in Nebraska history as a leader, writer or other significant contribution.
  • The tree stands at or near where an event occurred that affected Nebraska’s development and citizens.
  • The tree was planted by an individual or group whose experience is of significance.
  • The tree is illustrated in sketches, journals, photographs or writings related to a historical event.

Anyone can nominate a tree for inclusion in Nebraska’s Heritage Tree Program. If you would like to nominate a tree for consideration, download the nomination form and send the completed nomination and photograph to:

Nebraska Forest Service
PO Box 830815 Forestry Hall
Lincoln, NE 68583-0815

For more information call (402) 472 2944 or email:

In 2013, this eastern cottonwood near Beatrice was recognized as largest of its kind in the United States. 

New Champions

  • Colorado Blue Spruce, Chadron, 2016
  • Hackberry, Ponca, 2016
  • Saucer Magnolia, Falls City, 2016
  • White Spruce, Chadron, 2016

Nebraska's Heritage Trees