Iowa Champion Tree Found Toppled on Arbor Day


On this Arbor Day, there’s discouraging news that one of Iowa’s two national champion trees is damaged beyond repair.

A team of tree experts went to a remote area near Pikes Peak State Park in northeast Iowa this week, intending to save the black ash tree and instead, found it broken into pieces. Mark Rouw says he was stunned.

“I was really kind of in disbelief, but there’s no denying it, it was down, it’s gone,” Rouw says. “We’ve lost a national champion in Iowa and we don’t have many of those. Very disappointing.”

Two arborists, a state forester and a tree historian had gone to the isolated ravine near the Mississippi River to save the 114-foot-tall black ash. The plan was to inject it with chemicals to fight off the emerald ash borer.

University of Iowa arborist Andy Dahl says they arrived to find the top blown off and about a 30-foot stump.