Can you find Wyoming’s biggest bur oak?

By Sarah Pridgeon

(Wes Pridgeon photo) Wyoming State Forester Jeremy Dedic hopes to prove the biggest bur oak in the state can be found in this county.
(Wes Pridgeon photo) Wyoming State Forester Jeremy Dedic hopes to prove the biggest bur oak in the state can be found in this county.

Bur oaks are native to Crook County, so how come we don’t hold the record for the biggest specimen in Wyoming? It’s a question that has been troubling Jeremy Dedic, State Forester, and an issue he’s hoping the community will help him remedy.

“Anywhere, there could be a bigger tree,” Dedic says, explaining he has already spotted one or two examples that he believes could beat the Wyoming Champion Tree record.

Dedic is asking Crook County residents to keep their eyes peeled for particularly large bur oaks. It doesn’t matter whether they are located on private or public land, he says, as long as permission can be obtained to go onto the land and measure the tree.

“It’s got to be gargantuan to beat the record,” Dedic warns, asking anyone who thinks they may have identified a candidate to email Jeremy.dedic@wyo.gov with a snapshot of the tree and its circumference at a height 4.5 feet off the ground. If you have any questions, contact Wyoming State Forestry at 307-746-4261.

The current record is held by a bur oak located in Buffalo. The size of the tree is measured on a point system that takes into account: circumference of the trunk at a point 4.5 feet off the ground; the height of the tree; and its crown spread.

The current record holder has a circumference of ten feet (or 120 inches), a height of 70 feet and a crown spread of 71.5 feet. It was originally nominated in 2016.

At the present time, Crook County only boasts one Champion Tree, a quaking Aspen nominated in 2017. Convinced that our bur oaks have the potential to beat the competition, Dedic encourages the community to keep their eyes peeled for a tree that could steal the crown.

A prize for finding the champion bur oak will be donated by the Wyoming Tree Farm Program, says Dedic.

For more information about identifying candidates for the Champion Tree program and properly measuring a bur oak you believe may qualify, visit wsfd.wyo.gov/forestry-assistance-programs/community-forestry/champion-tree-program.