The City of Tyler is now recognized as home to the Texas Champion bluejack oak tree (Quercus incana) and is currently awaiting possible National Champion status. This recognition is given to the largest known specimen of its species in the State of Texas.
The specific bluejack oak is located in Lindsey Park and was found during the City of Tyler’s 2016 annual tree inventory by urban forester Cody Goldman and urban forestry intern Aaron Lamb. The tree has a trunk circumference of 102 inches, a height of 54 feet and a crown spread of 54 feet.
Bluejack oaks can be found throughout the southeast, ranging from Texas to Florida in soils with a very high sand content. The bark and leaves have similarities to crosses between live oaks and water oaks. The tree is relatively easy to distinguish from the two by its leaves. The leaves look to have a grayish powder on them and stand out from a distance.
This champion tree gives Smith County the third champion tree and is the first one in the City of Tyler. The other champion trees in Smith County are shortleaf pine and southern magnolia. The shortleaf pine is a national co-champion tree.
“The urban forestry department is very proud to have found this tree during our annual inventory,” said urban forester Cody Goldman. “We hope that this will be another step in educating citizens on the importance and beauty of Tyler’s urban forest.”