Leaving no leaf unturned

Arborist and Modanville resident Martin Soutar had been driving past a hoop pine at Tullera that he thought was pretty big, so he measured it.

“To my surprise it was actually the largest hoop pine on the National Registry of Big Trees in Australia at the moment,” Martin said. “It’s not very tall but because it’s grown in the open, it’s actually the canopy width that’s really the key factor and also the base at the trunk.”

The National Registry of Big Trees is the brainchild of Sydney resident Derek McIntosh, and the web address is http://www.nationa


“I’ve always had a real interest in trees and I’ve always wanted to do a big tree register in Australia but never got round to it. Finally the internet made it possible,” Derek said.

Derek began his project in May last year and so far has a register of 298 “champion” trees. He uses the American Forests points system to judge which trees are the biggest.

“It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve put in most of the trees so far.

“The reason it’s based on the American Forests formula is that Canadians and Americans come look at my register and understand it,” Derek said. “I’ve already had interest from Americans, so when we’ve got a tree circuit going they’ll come and visit.

“It will take years to develop a comprehensive register, the points don’t mean anything as such, it’s a comparative index.”

Martin said he heard about the register from a fellow arborist.

“It’s good for conservation, big trees and trees in general,” he said. “It’s important to conserve trees where appropriate. It’s always a balance with urban interests – you need to find a good medium.”

Derek said he is looking for people to submit possible big trees.

“It’s always interesting finding out which is the biggest tree,” he said. “I’m asking people to nominate trees; the biggest jacaranda tree for instance – there’s a challenge.”

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