From the Director’s Desk: Where to See a Big Tree -- Locally! (Part 1)

By Fred Breglia

So you want to see a “Big Tree” but aren’t sure where to start? As an avid Big Tree Hunter for many years, I have had the thrill of finding several big trees, including some “champion” trees.  To spread my love of big trees and to share my fascination with them, I have come up with a short list of where to find some impressive specimens, many which are close to Landis Arboretum.

Washington Park in Albany is a great place to see several big trees, including the previous NYS Champion red oak (Quercus rubra), which measures over 19’ circumference and towers over several other oak trees in the park.  Multiple specimens of Ginkgo biloba, European beech (Fagus sylvatica), and cultivars of pine and willow are also among the park’s attractions.  

Neahwa Park in Oneonta has an incredible red oak on site.  The park is definitely worth a visit.

The Glen Cemetery in the historic Hamlet of Glen is home to the two largest documented Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) in New York.   Austrian pines that large are rare in the US due to a fungus that wipes them out. These two trees are healthy and huge. There are also some large specimens of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis).

There is a white oak (Quercus alba) located at Royal Oak Farm in Blenheim. This tree is on private property but viewable from the road. There is a public fishing access point with a small parking lot very close by as well. It is the largest white oak in our region and a contender for the NY State champion.

The Johnstown Colonial Cemetery in Johnstown is home to impressive specimens of European larch (Larix decidua) and cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata).   And while in Johnstown, stop by Johnson Hall (1763) to see some impressive black walnut (Juglans nigra) trees, as well as some mighty oaks.

In the neighborhood of North Grand and Chapel Streets in the Village of Cobleskill, there are three large trees on separate properties: a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), a cucumber magnolia, and a Northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa). The catalpa is growing at the Methodist Church. The three trees are easily within 1000 feet of one another.

In Schenectady‘s Central Park, there are several large black oaks (Quercus velutina) , as well as red and white oaks, throughout the biking and hiking trails. These massive trees are exciting to see any time of year.

Lastly, in the neighborhood of Tribes Hill, there is a State Champion silver maple (Acer saccharinum). Though on private property, it grows on the corner of the main road and a side street and can be easily spotted from the road.

If a tree is located on private property, please respect the land owner by getting permission to visit the tree up close. If you know of a big tree and want to share it, please reach out via email at It is best to include a photo of the tree with a person standing beside it to show scale. Bigger is better to a Big Tree Hunter, but size is always relative to the species.

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Summer 2024

Volume 42 , Number 2

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