Seven Winners in 2016 Durham’s Finest Trees (DFT) Competition-Nominate A Tree for This Year by October 1, 2017

Durham’s Finest Trees awarded recognition to seven trees in the spring as part of the Trees Over Durham Forum on April 25, 2017 held at the Durham Arts Council.  The trees, located across the city and county, included a white ash, two dawn redwoods, an osage orange, catalpa, Eastern cottonwood and a loblolly pine.

Parkwood Cottonwood  May 18, 2017 Photo by Wendy Diaz

Last fall, these beautiful trees were nominated by their owners and were evaluated by The Extension Durham Master Gardener volunteers and volunteer certified arborists, Katie Rose Levin and Jack Romeyn. Mike Lewis and Chris Hirni, certified arborists and rangers with the NC Forest Service, measured and confirmed the tree heights on March 14, 2017. The 2016 Durham’s Finest Tree winners were:

Lemur Center Dawn Redwood– Large/Historical category (private property, view from street/parking lot),  3705 Erwin Road/Duke Lemur Center (

  • 94 feet high, 102 inch circumference, 61 feet canopy;

Cranford Rd. Dawn Redwood – Large category (private property, view from street), 2260 Cranford Road/Duke Lemur Center (

  • 106 feet high, 110.5 inch circumference, 57 feet canopy;

Virginia Av. Loblolly Pine – Large Category, 2244 W. Club Blvd & Virginia Ave.

  • 99 feet high, 103 inch circumference, 52 feet canopy;

Main Street Ash – Historical Category, 403 E. Main St.

  • 54 feet high, 146 inch circumference, 65 feet canopy;

Parkwood East. Cottonwood – Large Category (view from the street/parking lot), beside Parkwood baseball field

  • 68 feet high, 98.5 inches circumference, 66 feet canopy

Parkwood Catalpa – Large Category, in front of Parkwood Manor & east side of Revere Rd.

  • 43 feet high, 85 inches circumference, 44 feet canopy;

Stagville Plantation Osage Orange – Historical Category (4 trunks), 5828 Old Oxford Hwy.

  • 701 feet high, 45 inches circumference, 50 feet canopy;
Steve Schewel and Alec Motten (Main Street Ash) Photographer William Tanner, April 25, 2017


For more information about the trees visit the Master Gardener Blog links as provided; more tree profiles will be published throughout the summer and fall under the title “Biography of Durham’s Finest Tree”.  Please respect private property and view the trees from the street.

Duke Lemur Center Dawn Redwood May 28, 2017 Photo by Wendy Diaz

This initiative is a partnership between Trees Across Durham and Durham County Extension Master Gardeners. Do you want to nominate your own tree this year? Submit your nomination form starting now and up until the deadline of October 1, 2017 at  Feel free to send an email to the Extension Master Gardeners at, if you have any questions about the program.

  1. Height measurements were estimate based on visual inspection only.
  2. Durham’s Finest Trees program recognizes significant trees in Durham County, promotes discovery and ability to identify trees, and helps preserve the best examples of specific tree species, particularly native and those trees well adapted to Durham County. The program also promotes awareness of trees in our community and hopes to catalog fine examples of magnificent specimens of trees due to their size, setting, historical importance, or significant feature. Durham naturalists and tree lovers of all ages are invited to submit their nominations for significant trees in Durham County now through October 1, 2017. Trees on private or public property can be nominated in each of the three categories: largest, historical, or meritorious. Preference will be given to native North Carolina tree species. Non-native trees may be considered if they are of a species, subspecies, variety or cultivar proven to be relatively long-lived and well-adapted to North Carolina. Winning trees will be recognized on Arbor Day 2018. Please read the official rules before submitting a nomination.

by Wendy Diaz, EMGV

Learn With Us, week of January 17

Native Plants for Your Gardens – Durham Garden Forum
Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Where: Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson Street, Durham, NC

Beyond hardiness & seasonal color, native plants work with the insects, birds, amphibians & mammals to make a healthy environment. Add some native to your garden with information from this presentation. Presented by Charlotte Glen, Extension Agent, Agriculture-Horticulture, Chatham County.
$10.00 fee per class or annual membership fee.
No pre-registration necessary.

Tree Care 101 Workshop
Saturday, January 23, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to noon
Northgate Park, 300 W. Club Blvd.

Trees Across Durham is hosting a free tree care workshop to provide volunteers with hands-on experience while planting and tending to the trees along the Ellerbe Creek Stream Restoration Project, which runs through Northgate Park.

Participants will learn about tree planting, pruning, and other tree care topics. They will also discover the critical role played by trees and forests for stream health and water quality. Tools and gloves for the workshop will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own if possible. Participants should also dress appropriately for the weather and bring water to drink.
Workshop partners include Keep Durham Beautiful, City of Durham General Services Department Urban Forestry Division, Durham City-County Sustainability Office, City of
Durham Public Works Department Stormwater & GIS Services Division, and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Mitigation Services.

For additional information or to register for this workshop, visit the Registration Web page or call (919) 560-7993.
Additional tree planting volunteer events are being held throughout January and February 2016. Information on all upcoming events is available on Greener Durham’s website.

Trees Across Durham is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees; the education of tree caretakers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees; and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to the environment and community.

Trees Across Durham

From the City of Durham Website:

Trees Across Durham

Keepin’ it Shady!

Trees planted as of April 30, 2015 = 2,000.
Trees Across Durham is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees, the education of tree care-takers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees, and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to our environment and community.
You can contribute to the effort by planting your own tree,volunteering, taking a class, or participating in our “Water into Trees” program. Water for Trees lets you donate money to Durham’s Urban Forestry program through your water bill. You can round up each bill, give a one time lump sum, or a flat donation each billing cycle.
Some of the projects we have worked on include planting over 600 trees at public schools, giving away 1,600 tree seedlings to the public, offering a 15-hour Tree Keeper training​, and launching a major effort to control cankerworms​.
Check back to get updates and follow us on Facebook or Twitter​.
If you would like to get involved, fill out this form ​or email​ us.​
Download the Trees Across Durham brochure​.
Trees Across Durham is an effort included in both the City Strategic Plan and the County Strategic Plan​.