Dawn Redwood tree at Wilson Park deemed largest in state

Staff photo

A Dawn Redwood tree located near the castle at Wilson Park has been deemed the largest of its species in the state, Fayetteville officials announced.

The tree is located just to the southeast of the castle, and was planted in 1999 by horticulturalist Lisa Netherland.

“I was simultaneously excited and a bit nervous because I knew how fast it would attain its magnificent size,” Netherland wrote in a recent Facebook post.

The Dawn Redwood was recently confirmed as an Arkansas State Champion tree, an award decided by using a “Bigness Index” formula, which calculates the circumference, height, and 25% of the crown width.

The Dawn Redwood tree at Wilson Park is 54 feet tall, and has a crown width of 4 feet, and a trunk circumference of 9 feet for a “Bigness Index” of 172.

From the city:

The Dawn Redwood tree was thought to be extinct for five million years until it was rediscovered in China in the early 1940s. The seeds were brought to the United States in 1947 and distributed to botanical gardens and universities across the country. It has been cultivated as a popular ornamental tree ever since. Fossil records indicate that this species of tree has existed for 50 million years.

Fayetteville grounds crew leader and certified arborist Nathan Albertson nominated the tree for the award. Albertson also nominated the Persimmon tree, located in Wilson Park, that was named a State Champion tree in October.

Parks and Recreation staff plan to place a plaque near the tree to celebrate the award.