Typically, 5% of any given tree is made up of leaves, 15% of the tree is made up of the stems, 60% of the tree is made up of the trunk, and 20% of the tree is made up of roots. Because of a process called photosynthesis, trees are able to remove pollutants from the air such as ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

According to the Nature Conservancy, “smarter management of trees, plants, and soil in the U.S. alone could store the equivalent carbon of taking 57 million cars off the road”. Since older, larger trees store a lot more carbon than young trees, conserving and protecting the largest trees is a top priority.

In 1925, ​​the Big Tree Program began in the state of Maryland. The program serves to reward owners of big trees, provide a baseline for scientific studies, show trends for big tree distribution, and provide locations for rare and unusual tree species.

The program is managed by a volunteer group called the Maryland State Association of Forest Conservancy District Board and is mostly funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service for Urban and Community Programming. Partial funding is provided by grants from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Fred Besley, Maryland’s first forester, developed the formula used today to measure trees:

Circumference in inches + Height in feet + ¼ of the average crown spread = TOTAL POINTS

Garrett County is home to a list of big trees and the big tree website provides information on the active trees in the database. There are also legacy, deceased, and inactive trees from Garrett County found on this website.