Johnson County home to 27 champion trees in 2024

Large tree with green, red and orange leaves

Arbor Day is all about the trees, and this year, it takes place Friday, April 26. According to the Kansas Forest Service, Johnson County is home to 27 champion trees out of a total of 144 recognized champions across the state of Kansas for 2024.

Kansas champion trees are determined by a point system that includes height, crown, spread and trunk size. Circumference plays a huge role in deciding the which tree takes home the title. Each tree goes head-to-head against other trees of the same species.

The champion trees include seven species of oak, three species of pine, two species of birch along with species of ash, birch, cherry, elm, hazelnut, hemlock, jujube, larch, magnolia, maple, soapberry, sweetgum, tupelo, walnut and willow.

Olathe has the most local champion trees with seven. Six trees are located in Prairie Village, and four in Overland Park. Leawood has three trees; Mission Hills and Shawnee each have two trees; and there is one designated tree in Stilwell, De Soto and Westwood.

When it comes to size, some champion trees dominate in height, while others rule in trunk circumference. The tallest champ in Johnson County is a swamp white oak, with a height of 99 feet, in Prairie Village. That seems pretty tall until you see the 139-foot-tall pecan tree at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas’ tallest tree for the 2024 list. For short champions, that title belongs to a 21-foot-tall dwarf chinkapin oak in Brown County. Johnson County’s shortest champion is Carolina silverbell measuring 28 feet tall.

The Kansas champion of width is an eastern cottonwood tree in Sheridan County measuring an incredible 37 feet, seven inches in circumference. In Johnson County, a 25-foot, six-inch silver maple in Stillwell is the widest tree for 2024.

View the 2024 list of Champion Trees.


K-State Research and Extension