Champion winged elm rooted in Marietta soil
by Hannah Morgan
February 21, 2014 04:00 AM | 2231 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb County Parks and Recreation maintenance worker Joseph Heggs uses a chainsaw to cut out undergrowth and fallen trees around the newest attraction inside Larry Bell Park on South Fairground Street: a winged elm tree being recognized today as Georgia’s largest. <br> Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Cobb County Parks and Recreation maintenance worker Joseph Heggs uses a chainsaw to cut out undergrowth and fallen trees around the newest attraction inside Larry Bell Park on South Fairground Street: a winged elm tree being recognized today as Georgia’s largest.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — In a park, overlooking a baseball field and busy four-lane road, sits a champion tree.

Georgia’s largest winged elm, one of an estimated three remaining trees of its kind in the state, will be honored in a brief ceremony today at Perry Parham Ball Park off Fairground Street.

“It’s a state champion for its species,” said Joe Burgess, senior forester and certified arborist with the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Trees are crowned as champions when they can be documented as the largest of their species in the state.

The winged elm is recognized by the rectangular wing-like attachments on the stems, spreading across the branches of the tree.

According to the Georgia Champion Tree Register, the previous champion winged elm tree sits in Jeff Davis County. It was determined this particular tree was the true champion in size in late October, Burgess said.

The tree is roughly 80 years old, he said.

Marietta is home to a number of Georgia Champion trees, including a magnolia soulangeana on Freyer Drive and a western incense cedar in the yard of the Cole family on the corner of Cole and the North Loop, said self-professed “tree hugger” and Marietta resident Jim Morris.

The event today begins at 11 a.m. in the picnic pavilion area at Ball Park and Burgess is expected to present a certificate stating the tree’s importance to County Commissioner Helen Goreham.

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