Group of Big Tree Measurers around large silver maple in Manchester

What a beautiful first day of December it was as a team of Hillsborough County Big Tree measurers (County Forester Mike Gagnon, Big Tree Program Coordinator Mary Tebo Davis, Mike Callaghan - Belmont, Carol Mamczak - Temple, and Susan Strickler, NRS '21 - Manchester) met in a Manchester neighborhood to measure a newly nominated silver maple. The homeowner, Ron P., enthusiastically joined in measuring the big old maple that he loves so much, which hangs over the whole neighborhood.

 Needless to say, to measure it we had to knock on doors and haul the tape measure over fences to get all the measurements we needed. It was worth it as the tree came out 4 points ahead of the current county champion. This put the new silver maple in a virtual tie with another Manchester champion, giving us Hillsborough County co-champions! Another exciting fact is that both of those Manchester trees and another in Sullivan County are all within 10 points of our national champion in Coos County. So truly NH has a number of the largest silver maples in the whole country.

Our second stop emphasized how varied the landscape is in Hillsborough County as we hiked through the forests on Mt. Uncanoonnuc in Goffstown to find an eastern hemlock. From the sidewalks and rooftops in Manchester, to slightly steep and icy trails, next to a very well-done timber harvest, we almost gave up as all the hemlocks we were finding seemed a bit small. But then Mike Callaghan went ahead and found the big one right along the trail! It was definitely bigger than the others with a 9’+ circumference. A great old tree, though it has a broken top. We took the measurements but decided not to submit them into the database yet, as the team figures that there may be bigger ones in Sheldrick Forest in Wilton.

The afternoon sun made our last stop very comfortable as we walked across one of the large mowed fields at Joppa Hill Farm in Bedford. Mike Gagnon introduced us to an old craggy red maple that he had found a number of years ago. Although the tree has seen better days, even after losing a tree-sized branch it still beat out all the other red maples in NH to become the new state champion.

If you would like to join in the fun hunting and measuring the biggest trees of each species in the state, contact Mary Tebo Davis who will put you in touch with your local county Big Tree Measuring Team.


Urban and Community Natural Resources Field Specialist
Extension Field Specialist, Urban & Community Forestry
Phone: (603) 641-6060
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824