Montana’s Biggest Trees Registry

The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation keeps records on the largest trees in the state. These trees have been cataloged as the largest representatives of their particular species discovered so far. From looking at past registries, it appears that most of these record trees are located in the northwestern part of the state.

However, many species of Montana trees have not yet been nominated and there is a special category for urban trees. There is no funding to support this program; its success is mostly dependent on the volunteer efforts.

Forms and technical directions on how to measure a tree for nomination can be found on-line

Biggest trees 3 2017 eedition/page-a/ page_64df6c88-bfb5-519c -a021-742ebfb67aeb.html



Maybe like me, this will perk your interest in becoming a “Big Tree Hunter”. Is there a “specimen big tree” in your yard or neighborhood? Or, will one of us find a tree to nominate in one of our outdoor adventures across the state?

(By the way, if you really get into this, there is also a national big tree registry. http:// )

An excellent reference book on trees: Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.

Submitted by Elaine Allard


Using ½ inch PVC pipe, an easy to use and store tomato cage can be assembled. Build it to match your method of tomato growing. I plant in pots so the cages are made into two foot spacings to fit around my pots. These cages can be built as high and wide as needed. Using the two foot spacing I usually go to about five feet high to hold indeterminate tomatoes. These PVC cages set up quickly and easily and just as easy to tear down. They need little space for storage. I think they may last forever.

Submitted by Corry Mordeaux

A Tour at the Montana Audubon Center

On July 16, 2016, we were in for a treat. As we made our way to the Montana Audubon Center, a group of early birdwatchers were ready with binoculars for a morning of viewing and identifying our feathered friends. We too were ready to take in the sweet smell of sage and the songs of birds calling from the trees.

We were met by Trinity Pierce, Land Stewardship Coordinator and former Master Gardener, who invited us to pick a variety of mint leaves to tear apart and place in a jar of sun tea for refreshment after the tour. A woman in our group also used the leaves on her legs as a bug repellant.

Since 1998, volunteers have been reclaiming an old gravel mine, planting 65,000 native trees, shrubs, and grasses just of of South Billings Boulevard. The Center is a cooperative partnership with YRPA, YVAS and the Montana Audubon. The Center was build with conservation and place-based education in mind for people of all ages to learn about the birds, plants, bugs, and aquatic creatures of the Yellowstone River riparian area. Children go there for field trips, classes, summer camps, and after school programs, and adults can enjoy the Center on Sun-days, when they offer canoeing, bird watching, and other fund activities. Nearby Norm Schoenthal‘s Island is a great place to walks dogs, explore the trails, or cross-country ski in the winter.

Trinity and her volunteers have done a great job preserving the natural landscape and native plants, encouraging them through much mulching and coaxing. There were clusters of beautiful Blanket Flowers, Echinacea, Cone-flowers, Blue Flax, Mustard and many other wildflowers to attract pollinators. Trinity took us to the three ponds where children can conduct research, enjoy the thrills of canoeing, and may be experience a turtle or two. Giant cottonwoods and willows surround the water, providing habitat for many varieties of wildlife.

As we savored our herbal tea, Trinity showed us the Center, named after the dedicated Norm Schoenthal, she told us that it recycles water as it is used inside. Children use the Center as a lab, and gain hands-on experience with identification of plants and animals. A lot of respect and hard work has gone into the reclaiming and healing of this area of the Yellowstone. It is a hopeful place. The tea was delicious too! A combination of chocolate, pineapple, and apple mint leaves, fragrant and cool.

Submitted by: Julie Osslund