Today, we are launching a new project “Great Trees of the Bluegrass” to locate and identify important trees in our region. We have a new Facebook Group: Great Trees of the Bluegrass for you to contribute your own observations, and we are also creating a new web-based identification and mapping tool for your use. The purpose of this project is to identify, map and evaluate the important trees of the Bluegrass and to tell their stories. We will later be extending this to the Nashville Basin.
The Great Trees are based on my book Venerable Trees: History, Biology and Conservation in the Bluegrass. The Bluegrass is home to the largest number of ancient hardwoods – trees that predate the existence of Lexington, of Kentucky, and even of the United States.
The criteria for listing Great Trees of the Bluegrass are: 1) the tree should be native to the Bluegrass; 2) the tree must be publicly available – either on public property or accessible to the public; 3) the tree must be old and large – we will start with a minimum of 100 inches circumference (32 inches diameter). Of course, we don’t know how old most of these trees are, but we can recognize the very old ones that are likely to predate the establishment of Lexington in 1779.
To get us started, here are 10 of Great Trees of the Bluegrass. Each tree will eventually have its own page. For now, the link will show you a larger version of the photograph.
The Ingleside Oak on Harrodsburg Road near Red Mile
The St. Joe’s Oak
The Henry Clay Basswood
The Castlewood Park Giant Blue Ash
The Kissing Tree at Transylvania University
The Coldstream Bur Oak
The Veteran’s Park Oak
The Kirklevington Oak
The Old Schoolhouse Oak