Perhaps in that spirit, Swarth holds up the red marker he has brought and waves it toward Reaves.

"You know, I don't think we need to put this on the tree," he says. "Why don't we create a marker for the walk that says, 'state champion pumpkin ash to your west'? I think people can figure it out for themselves."

That seems to be fine with Reaves, though it's hard to tell. He's still busy gazing up at the pumpkin ash, running his hand along its rough trunk.

"I always thought there was only one ash [species] in Anne Arundel," he says. "Now there are two. Sure gives you something to think about."

County champions

Anne Arundel County boasts 12 state champion trees, four of which are also national champions. Trees are measured by an American Forests standard formula that incorporates height, circumference and crown.

Yellow poplar (tuliptree): 110 feet high, 429 points

*American beech: 112 feet tall, 428 points

*Chestnut oak: 99 feet high, 406 points

Southern red oak: 109 feet high, 396 points

Pecan: 106 feet high, 320 points

*Shagbark hickory: 98 feet tall, 309 points

Sassafras: 57 feet high, 262 points

Fraser fir: 76 feet tall, 160 points

Pumpkin ash: 58 feet, 108 points

Devils-Walkingstick: 39 feet tall, 63 points

Catawba rhododendron: 18 feet high, 40 points

*Poison sumac: 30 feet high, 53 points

* indicates a national champion

SOURCE: The Maryland Big Tree Program

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