In 1940, the American Forests organization began a search of the largest specimen of each species of American trees. This list, now called the National Registry of Big Trees, contains the names of more than 870 species. Kentucky has eleven national champions or co-champions.
The Division of Forestry began compiling a list of state champion trees in 1968. The first list contained 51 species. Only trees referenced in the book Trees & Shrubs of Kentucky by Mary E. Wharton & Roger W. Barbour are considered for the Kentucky Champion Tree Program. The list is continually changing as new species are added and former champions are replaced either because they die or a larger specimen is nominated.
Kentucky has several trees on the National Registry of Big Trees. Check them out here.
Species Without State Champions:
Ash, green (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
Basswood, white (Tilia floridana)
Buckeye, Ohio (Aesculus glabra)
Chestnut, dwarf (Castanea pumila)
Cottonwood, swamp (Populus heterophylla)
Dogwood, silky (Cornus amomum)
Dogwood, rough-leaf (Cornus drummondi)
Elm, water (Planera aquatica)
Fringe-tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Gum, Tupelo (sour gum) (Nyssa aquatica)
Hackberry, smooth (sugarberry) (Celtis laevigata)
Hawthorn, cockspur thorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
Hickory, mockernut (Carya tomentosa)
Linden (Tilia floridana)
Plum, wild (Prunus americana)
Sweetgum (Liquidamber styraciflua)
Willow, heart-leaf (Salix rigida)
Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Yew, American (Taxus canadensis)