Heritage & Specimen Trees

"In 1976, as part of the state celebration of the American Revolution Bicentennial, a survey was conducted to locate oaks within an eight mile radius of the state capitol that were at least 200 years old. Walter Scott, former assistant to the secretary of the State Department of Natural Resources, conducted the survey. Walter was very familiar with heritage trees, having maintained the records of big trees in the state since 1941." (Bruce Allison, Dane County Tree Board, 2006)

Heritage / Specimen Tree Inventory

The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has a citywide heritage and specimen tree inventory. We are trying to relocate the trees of the original survey and identify new ones. Identification of these trees makes the community aware of these historical and natural resources and brings us one step closer to their protection. To date, we have identified 115 heritage trees and 93 specimen or potential specimen trees.  To view these trees check out our Inventory Map.

Please help us identify additional heritage and specimen trees. Contact us if you are interested in determining if you have heritage or specimen trees on your property.

Heritage Trees

Heritage trees are those estimated to be 200 years or older, as determined by their size. To be classified as heritage trees, white or bur oaks need a trunk circumference measured at 4.5 feet above ground level of at least 10 feet, and pin, black, and red oaks need a trunk circumference of 11 feet.

Specimen Trees

Specimen trees are those 15 inches or greater in diameter that display superior quality and characteristics when compared to trees of the same species.