Carp Hills’ Biggest Tree Contest Winners

Owen with Greg’s winning Red Oak treeThirteen trees with arboreal brawn were submitted for the championship title of Biggest Tree in the Carp Hills:  6 sugar maples, 3 bur oaks, 2 red oaks, 1 elm, and 1 basswood.  Our top five winners by circumference are:

1.   Red Oak, 156 inches, near Donald B. Munro Drive, submitted by Greg LeBlanc.
2.  Sugar Maple, 151 inches, near Glenncastle Drive, submitted by Andy Oswald.
3.  Sugar Maple, 146 inches, near Donald B. Munro Drive, submitted by Greg LeBlanc.
4.  Sugar Maple, 138 inches, near Carp Road, submitted by Jim Lougheed.
5.  Sugar Maple, 136 inches, near Murphy Side Road, submitted by Chris Busby.

Our expert judge, Dr. Owen Clarkin, measured the seven largest tree submissions and is pictured with the champion red oak.  Our 13 entries are pictured below.  Thank you to everyone who entered.

Honourable mention also goes to two trees that were not in, but very near, the Carp Hills and thus not eligible for the contest:  a Basswood, 184 inches in circumference off Carp Road (estimated to be 200-250 years old by Owen), and a Sugar Maple 171 inches in circumference on Baird Side Road.  We’ve got some venerable old trees in this area!

Mother Trees – “Avatar on Earth”

Did you know that large, old trees may be “mother trees” that beneficially affect the health of the forest around them, similar to the giant tree in Avatar?  They communicate through a network of underground fungal filaments that spread across the forest floor.  To find out more, check out the research being done by Suzanne Simard at UBC.

Contest Rules

  • The tree must be alive and growing in the Carp Hills between March Road, Marchurst Road, Carp Road, and Kinburn Side Road.
  • If the tree is not on your land or on City land, then you need to obtain the permission of the landowner to enter the tree.
  • Tree size will be judged based on its “circumference at chest height”; i.e. measured at 5 feet (152 cm) from the ground.  This is a standard measure in the forestry industry (usually expressed as “DBH” or diameter at breast height.)
  • Entries must be received by 28 November 2014.


Our judge is tree expert Dr. Owen Clarkin, conservation committee chair in the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club.   He has been studying the trees of Eastern Ontario as a dedicated amateur since the age of 4. After finishing a conventional education in the natural sciences (a PhD in chemistry), he has begun more seriously to explore topics in tree ecology from an Eastern Ontario perspective.  Dr. Clarkin recently led a bio-thon in Constance Bay in the Torbolton Sandhill wetlands in partnership with the Macnamara Field Naturalists Club of Arnprior.