The Sierra Club’s Mammoth Cave Group measured Bowling Green trees’ biggest trunks, widest canopies and tallest limbs this past weekend.

This marked the first official step of the “Big Trees of BG” project, which is a new effort between the Mammoth Cave Group and the Bowling Green Tree Advisory Board to record the various benefits of the city’s largest trees.

“The purpose of measuring the trees is so that we can enter them into a database and see what is the working value of these trees,” said Eleanor Bower, chair of the Mammoth Cave Group. “Every tree is a working tree.”

In the eastern part of the city, a pecan tree measured the tallest and widest at 107 feet and 100 feet, respectively. At the Garvin House, Bowling Green’s biggest Osage orange tree – which happens to be already recognized as a state champion tree – had the thickest trunk with a 20-foot circumference.

Trees create oxygen, absorb air pollution, reduce stormwater runoff, provide shade and wind reduction, provide psychological benefits to people and house insects, lizards, butterflies and birds. The larger the tree, the greater the benefits.

Trees and vegetation also affect the property value in neighborhoods, according to Bower.

“One place doesn’t have any green – (poorer neighborhoods) are just buildings and parking lots,” Bower said. “The nice areas of town where people like to live are green, shaded. There’s sidewalks. There’s no trash. … People pay higher rents near parks.”

After the tree-measuring concluded Saturday, Bower observed that many people felt a little different after directly interacting with the trees.

“These silent beings … they’re something living,” Bower said.

Over the next few months, the Sierra Club will work with the city to create a database with the tree’s dimensions, as well as their various quantifiable benefits, including the estimated amount of oxygen they produce, pollution they absorb and the dollars they give back to the community. The team will also compare the tree sizes to the state register of champion trees.

The Sierra Club will also create small booklets and plaques for each tree and hopes to share the trees’ stories at a public reception in the fall.

Next year, the Sierra Club will measure a dozen more trees. They’ve already picked out three trees and want people to reach out if they know about big trees not included in the initial roundup.

If interested in participating or sharing a potential big tree, contact Bowling Green city aborist Jared Weaver at 270-393-3111.

“We just hope from this effort that people will take a second and a third look at their trees,” Bower said, especially before cutting them down.

On Saturday, the team was unable to measure the dogwood tree it picked out but will try to connect with the owners at a different time.

Bowling Green’s Big Trees

Ash, Lehman Avenue

Circumference: 16 feet

Height: 80 feet

Crown: 80 feet

Pin oak, 1528 Highland Way

Circumference: 11 feet

Height: 62.5 feet

Crown: 80 feet

Tulip, Fairview Cemetery

Circumference: 16 feet

Height: 101 feet

Crown: 78 feet

Ginko, 930 Nutwood St.

Circumference: 11 feet

Height: 60 feet

Crown: 66 feet

Osage orange, 221 Fort Webb Drive

Circumference: 20 feet

Height: 73 feet

Crown: 74 feet

Elm, Preston Miller Park

Circumference: 14.3 feet

Height: 90 feet

Crown: 95 feet

Tilia (Linden), 2003 Nashville Road

Circumference: 12.5 feet

Height: 80 feet

Crown: 71 feet

Catalpa, 1913 Nashville Road

Circumference: 16.2 feet

Height: 71.5 feet

Crown: 51 feet

Black walnut, Smallhouse and Elrod roads

Circumference: 12.5 feet

Height: 71 feet

Crown: 70.5 feet

Magnolia, Eighth Street and Magnolia Avenue

Circumference: 9.7 feet

Height: 35 feet

Crown: 34.5 feet (Storm damage and subsequent pruning in May reduced the tree by an estimated 10 feet in height and 15 feet in canopy)

Pecan, 500 Traditions Boulevard

Circumference: 16 feet

Height: 107 feet

Crown: 100 feet

– Follow reporter Caroline Eggers on Twitter @eggersdailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

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