An American elm tree in western Missouri now holds the state champion crown for its species. The elm in northeast Johnson County entered the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) record book with a total score of 353 based on height, circumference and crown spread.

This American elm grew up in a fence line in Johnson County, avoided Dutch elm disease, and is now crowned a Missouri State Champion Tree for its species.

The Kansas City area tree toppled the old record of an elm in St. Louis that had a score of 342.

Chuck Conner, MDC community forester, measured the tree in April. The tree was 85 feet tall, with a trunk 236 inches in circumference at a spot 4.5 feet from the ground, and it had a crown spread of 126 feet.

Those measurements go into a formula used for determining state champion trees.

Dutch elm disease often kills elms before they reach large sizes. But some large elms in the Kansas City area have escaped the disease, Conner said.

This elm grew up in a fencerow on a property line, giving two different landowners claim to a champion tree. The landowners and precise location are not being released since the tree is on private ground.

For a complete list of Missouri’s state champion trees, how to nominate them and how they are scored, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/trees-plants/missouri-state-champion-trees.

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