Picture Ohio! – Biggest Tree in the Buckeye State!

American Sycamore, Near Jeromesville, Wayne County, Ohio
American Sycamore, Near Jeromesville, Ashland County, Ohio

The photograph above shows the largest American Sycamore in Ohio. It’s also the National Champion, bigger than any other sycamore in the United States. This behemoth measures more than 48 feet around its base, and its largest single trunk is over 35 feet in circumference. The tree stands 129 feet tall and its average crown spread is 105 feet, giving a total of 577 points, more than any other tree in the Buckeye State. Its closest rival in Ohio is the giant Eastern Cottonwood in Delaware County, with 540 points, that I described about a year ago in another blog article. Here’s the link:    http://ianadamsphotography.com/2011/03/

Even with a very wide-angle lens, you need to stand some distance from this sycamore to be able to include the entire tree in a photograph, and the image above only hints at the huge scale of the tree. In order to truly appreciate the tree’s enormous dimensions, I needed to take a photograph with something that would provide a reference from a size viewpoint. With this in mind, I set my Sony A850 on a tripod, activated the self-timer, and sprinted over to the tree as fast as my mid-sixties body could cover the distance.

American Sycamore and photographer, Jeromesville, Ohio
American Sycamore and photographer, Jeromesville, Ohio

I stand around 5 feet 11 inches and top the scales (to my chagrin) at about 240 pounds, yet I take on the dimensions of an insect when compared to this monumental tree. The large cavity in the base of the trunk next to the out-of-breath photographer has enough space for a dozen people to fit inside.

Ohio forester and big tree expert Brian Riley has compared these two majestic trees in an article, “Tree Talk with Brian Riley”, published in the Fall, 2010 issue of The Ohio Woodland Journal. The American Sycamore in Wayne County is several hundred years old, and Riley estimates that the Delaware County Eastern Cottonwood is 150-200 years in age. One of these two giants is without question the largest living thing in the Buckeye State.

As a photographer, I found the American Sycamore to be much more challenging to photograph. The Eastern Cottonwood is very accessible and makes a great image from virtually any viewpoint around its huge, almost symmetrical, trunk. The sprawling multiple trunks of the American Sycamore are hard to photograph from any angle. Sycamore foliage is not very attractive, but the light gray and white trunks and upper branches contrast well with a blue sky in winter.

The American Sycamore stands near a creek in a privately owned woodland south of Jeromesville, near the intersection of SR 30 and SR 89. The new owners have indicated that the woodland is NOT open to the public and trespassers will be prosecuted.     

 

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Looks great! The American Sycamore Tree is my favorite. How can i see it? Thank you, Michael. Do you know of other large Sycamore trees in Ohio?

  2. I am a International Society of Arboriculture certified Arborist and am currently in the process of climbing the top 20 state champion trees of Ohio. This is an attempt to both showcase the trees themselves, but also to interview people whose land the tree sits on in order to get a better feel for the history as well as what the tree means to different individuals. I have had a little trouble finding information to contact William Noogle, the individual who owns the land, or Mr. and Mrs. Latimer, the individuals who nominated the tree. I was hoping that you might be able to help with contacting those people. Thanks for any help and I look forward to a reply.

    Tim Ascher
    614-286-4517

  3. FOR ANYONE WANTING TO SEE THE SYCAMORE TREE ,THE VILLAGE OF JEROMESVILLE AS A DAY JUST FOR THE TREE.TOMMORROW SAT OCT 5 2013 ,THERE WILL BE HAY RIDES TO THE TREE WITH ACTIVITIES BOTH AT THE CITY PARK AND AT THE TREE.COME AND JOIN US FROM 11AM -6PM.

  4. Hello.
    How exciting to see “Our Tree” or, “The Tree” as the subject of your blog. For as far back as I can remember, the tree, which is located at our family farm, has always been a fascinating piece of nature. My grandfather, William Noggle, has resided in Canton, Oh for the majority of his life; however, he was born and raised in Jeromesville. As a family, we tried to visit the farm and the tree once a year—we have many pictures of us (similar to yours, Ian) of us nestled into the giant’s branches. I can even recall one year receiving our cousins’ traditional, yearly Christmas portrait. It was the four of them sitting in the tree on a gorgeous fall afternoon!

    As we have gotten older, unfortunately the trips are less frequent. I live in Columbus, so luckily, every time I drive back to Canton for a visit I am able to drive past the farm on route 30 and, from the front seat of my car, pay the massive tree my respect—generally in the form of a thumbs up (my husband thinks this is a bit odd, but it has become something I MUST do every time I pass it, tradition, superstition, something along those lines).
    Thanks for posting such great information about the tree and the farm! And for the gentleman who requested information about my grandfather, please feel free to contact me. I will pass any info along to my grandfather.

  5. Hi Tara,

    I’m delighted that you enjoyed my article on “The Tree”. I would like to include it in my new book, A Photographer’s Guide to Ohio – Volume 2, which will be released in Spring, 2015 by Ohio University Press.
    However, I need your family’s permission because the tree is on private land, and I don’t know your phone
    number or email address. You can reach me at (330)-920-7401 or via email at: ian@ianadamsphotography.com.

    I hope we can talk more about this spectacular tree in the near future.

    Best,

    Ian Adams

  6. I have planted over 70 Norways and Canadian Hemlocks on my property over past 11 yrs. I have a few much older Canadian Hemlocks that were here when I moved in, one is appox.100 feet tall and is in perfect shape and still growing strong. I have never seen another as large. Richfield,Ohio

  7. The last time I was there, the intersection of 89 and 30 was in Ashland County, not Wayne County.

  8. Kathy,

    Thank you! Indeed the tree is in Ashland County, and I have updated the post accordingly.

    Ian Adams

  9. I’ve hunted and trapped this river bottom nearly all my life, I’ve been in the position to find my self feeling small in comparison to many sycamores along the Jerome fork, such a majestic stretch, also to us locals, the many eagles nested and creating life along this river is the best part of all, we keep them under the hat in hopes that to much traffic and trespasses do not disturb these amazing birds of prey, thanks for putting our one horse town in the spotlight.

  10. I think I have one bigger on my farm…

  11. John:

    If so, you may want to contact the Ohio Division of Forestry to arrange to have your tree measured for the Ohio Big Tree Registry.

    Ian Adams

  12. I seen a sycamore tree at the base of the tree it’s about seven to eight feet bigger round it’s straight up no limbs or branches for about 300 ft or higher than that not too sure how tall this tree is and it’s still standing today seems to like water

  13. Larry, that sounds like an impressive sycamore. Yes, sycamores like to grow near rivers or other wet places.

    Ian

  14. This is an amazing tree! Wow. I have a question. How was it determined that this is one tree instead of several trunks that have grown together? I enjoy learning as much about trees as I can, and this one peaked my interest because of the nature of the various trunks. Thanks!

  15. There is a Sycamore tree on Proctors farm in Barlow Ohio that was 31 feet in circumference in 1970. It has a single trunk and is wide for 80 feet up the tree.

  16. Hi Davin,

    Thanks for your note. I have driven through Barlow, on State Route 550, many times on my way from Marietta to Athens, Ohio.

    Is the Sycamore tree on the Proctor Farm still standing, fifty years after it was measured in 1970? If you would be willing to share information on its location, or a contact at the Proctor Farm, I would like to view and photograph the tree on my next trip to the Marietta area.

    Be well,

    Ian Adams

  17. Hi!
    This tree is now owned by new owners who are having a time with people trespassing to see the tree. The woods is leased for private use and all trespassers will be charged.

    While it is a beautiful tree and we are blessed to now own the land, we do not want strangers on our land.

    Thank you

  18. Dear Karla,

    Thank you for letting me know that the giant American Sycamore is now owned by new owners who do not wish to have people visiting the tree. I assume that the woods are now appropriately posted with No Trespassing signs. I have updated my blog article, which was written in March, 2012, to notify readers of the change in ownership and the visitation wishes of your family.

    Best,

    Ian Adams

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