In Search of Geauga County’s Biggest Black Cherry Tree!

The Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is excited to announce the 2021 Geauga County BIG TREE Contest and is currently seeking nominations!  This voluntary contest promotes the beauty and benefits provided by our county’s biggest and oldest trees, along with their contributions to clean water and healthy soil.  The 2021 featured tree species is the Black Cherry (Prunus serotina).  Easily recognized by its dark, flaky bark, the Black Cherry trunk is often described as covered in burnt cornflakes.  It’s gorgeous, fine-grained, mahogany heartwood is in high demand for furniture, flooring, and cabinets.  Named for its ripened black cherries relished by birds and mammals in late summer, the enormous ecological benefits this native tree provides is truly the cherry on top!  It’s nectar and pollen sustain countless insects and pollinators, and it serves as a critical host plant to over 450 species of butterflies and moths!  Their caterpillars depend on Black Cherry leaves and, in turn, these caterpillars are the mainstay of most North America birds.  Though currently common throughout the state, the US Forest Service predicts an unfortunate decline of the Black Cherry species in Northeast Ohio due to the impacts of climate change.

Participants will submit a nomination for a Black Cherry tree which they believe might be the largest in the county.  After all nominations are submitted, qualified personnel will verify the measurements using the ODNR Division of Forestry’s Champion Tree Program procedures.  Each tree will receive a score based on trunk circumference, crown spread, and total height to determine the winner.  In addition, the District will consider each tree’s ability to capture stormwater along with other economic benefits.  For example, one Black Cherry with a diameter of 45 inches can absorb as much as 1,074 gallons of stormwater runoff each year.

The objectives of this contest are:

  • To engage residents in the management and enhancement of our county’s tree populations
  • To showcase the critical roles that trees play in sustaining healthy soil and clean water
  • To recognize that each healthy tree in our county reduces flooding and improves water quality


BIG TREE Contest Guidelines:

  • Nominated trees must be Black Cherry trees located in Geauga County.

(Visit to review characteristics.)

  • Only one nomination per individual tree.  The first nomination received will be the official entry.
  • The tree does not have to be on the property of the nominator; however, permission from the landowner must be obtained prior to nomination.
  • Nominations must be submitted to Geauga SWCD no later than Tuesday, September 7th.  Please email to or submit in person or through the mail to the Geauga SWCD, PO Box 410, 14269 Claridon-Troy Road, Burton, OH 44021.
  • Qualified District personnel will verify all nominated tree measurements and use the tree benefits calculator ( to provide the stormwater runoff reduction capability.  The decision of the District will be final.
  • Geauga County’s Biggest Tree will be recognized and awarded at the District’s Annual Meeting in the fall.  If on public land, the biggest tree on private land will also be recognized.

Questions?  Contact, 440-834-1122, or


Geauga News
Author: Geauga News