The National Register of Big Trees and the Virginia Big Tree Program recently bestowed the title of national and state champion to one of Maymont’s Darlington Oak trees, Quercus hemisphaerica, located behind the Nature Center by Dooley Creek. This Darlington Oak is the largest tree on record of its species in the United States, measuring 76 feet tall with a circumference of 261 inches and a crown spread of 108 feet.
Seven additional trees at Maymont were recognized as champions by the Virginia Big Tree Program: False-Golden larch, Psuedolarix amabilis; Nordman fir, Abies nordmanniana; Atlas cedar, Cedrus atlantica; Persian Ironwood, Parrotia persica; Tigertail spruce, Picea polita; Deodar cedar, Cedus deodara; and Yulan magnolia, Magnolia heptapeta.
Inspired by their world travels, James and Sallie Dooley imported more than 200 species of trees and plants in the early 20th century for their estate, creating what is one of the country’s notable arboretums. To help maintain the health of the Dooleys’ precious natural investment, Maymont received a Tree Cooperative grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry in 2011, as well as generous annual tree-care contributions from Davey Tree Expert Company and TrueTimber Tree Service. The Davey Tree Expert Company provides year-round care for 15 of Maymont’s most significant specimens and recently pruned these “Davey Trees.”
Maymont’s champion trees will be celebrated during an upcoming program, “Walk with the Champions,” on Sunday, June 3 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. Guests will tour Maymont’s diverse collection with Peggy Singlemann, Director of Horticulture, and hear about the special features of these magnificent specimens. The program fee is $5; registration is required by June 1. Meet at the Hampton Street Gazebo, located at the Hampton Street entrance at 1700 Hampton Street. Free parking is available. For more information, call 804-358-7166.