champion magnolia treeThe Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) has maintained the Champion Trees Program in Mississippi since 1972.

The Mississippi Champion Trees Program records the largest trees of various species growing in the state. Mississippi's parent program, the National Register of Big Trees, was initiated in 1940 by the American Forestry Association (now known as American Forests). Mississippi Champion Trees which score points in excess of those currently listed in the American Forests’ National Register of Big Trees will be forwarded to American Forests for nomination as a national champion. The list of champion trees is constantly changing as people explore new areas or take a closer look at the trees in their own backyards. If you think you may have discovered a champion tree, simply follow the nominating procedure found below.

Procedure for Nominating a Champion Tree 

Any qualified forester may make the official measurements for nominating a Champion Tree.  Only the species listed in the USDA Forest Service publication Checklist of United States Trees (Native and Naturalized) by Elbert L. Little, Jr., are eligible for listing in Champion Tress of Mississippi. Once the nominator has completed the rough measurements, they are to contact the Service Forester for their county to verify their figures and complete the Tree Data form below. Visit our MFC offices page to find the Region Office contact information for your area. 

Mississippi Champion "Big Tree" contest Candidate Tree Data form 

The Service Forester will forward the nomination to Champion Tree Coordinator, Todd Matthews.


Mississippi Champions in the National Register of Big Trees - currently, 163 trees are registered as Mississippi champions, ten of which are also national champions and five are national co-champions.  

How Champion Trees Are Selected 

Champion trees are determined on the basis of points, awarded in the following manner:

  • One (1) point for each inch in circumference at a point 4.5 feet above the ground. 
  • One (1) point for each foot in total height (measured to the nearest foot).
  • One-fourth (1/4) point for each foot in average crown spread (measured to the nearest foot).

The Champion Tree entry with the largest number of total points shall be declared the champion of its species in Mississippi. It will also be recognized in each edition of Champion Trees of Mississippi until a new champion is found or until the tree dies. Co-champions will be listed when totals are within 5 points of another champion tree.

Click here for instructions on How To Measure A Champion Tree.

Once you’ve gotten the rough measurements, write them down and ask the Service Forester for your area to verify your figures and provide you with a nominating form. The forester will be glad to forward your nomination to the Champion Tree Coordinator.

For more information on the Champion Tree program, please contact: 

Todd Matthews
Urban Forestry & Forest Health Coordinator
Cell: (662) 361-4272