State measures tree — now it’s just waiting
It's all but official -- the biggest known silver maple tree in the state of Kansas may be in Shawnee.
Kansas District Forester Kim Bomberger traveled to western Shawnee Tuesday to measure three silver maples in the area, two on Debbie and David Hanson's property and one on the edge of their property, technically belonging to Mark and Cheryl White, to determine if one could become the "champion" silver maple -- the biggest of its kind in the state.
Debbie Hanson said Bomberger took meticulous measurements and found two of the trees should be in contention for the champion tree. But before it can be official, Bomberger will have to re-measure the current champion tree.
"She can't declare it on the spot, unfortunately," Hanson said Tuesday.
Trees are rated with a point system: one point is awarded for each inch of the trunk's circumference four and a half feet from the ground, one point per foot of height and one-fourth of a point is given per foot of crown spread. Crown spread is the distance, in feet, from the end of the branches on one side of the tree, through the trunk, to the ends of the branches on the opposite side.
The Hansons nominated the trees for the state's champion program at the suggestion of some friendly carpet installers. Each of the trees seemed like they could surpass the size of the current champion silver maple, which is located at Timberlake Girl Scout Camp in Stillwell. With a 20-foot, 5-inch circumference, a 94-foot height and a crown spread of 110 feet, it has 367 total points.
Hanson said two trees were contenders because one had the widest trunk, and the other was taller. She said the tree with the largest circumference was 23 feet, while the other tree was between 90 and 95 feet tall. The tree with the biggest crown spread measured 111 feet, though Hanson wasn't sure which tree had the bigger spread.
The state will add up the points for each tree and see if one can surpass the current champion once it is remeasured. Hanson said if one of the Shawnee trees is within five points of the current champion, they could be co-champions.