Do you have a centennial tree?
If so, the Upper Arlington Tree Commission wants to hear from you by March 31 so your tree can receive recognition as being at least as old as Upper Arlington itself.
"The city's tree commission is initiating a search for majestic old trees, which might have witnessed Upper Arlington's founding in 1918 as its part in the city's centennial celebration," tree commission member Katie Foley said.
"Trees determined to be at least a century old will be provided a temporary marker for this centennial year and will become part of the city's inventory of venerable trees."
Foley said a survey of historic trees completed in 1987 to honor the city's celebration of the U.S. Constitution's 200th anniversary yielded 80 nominations of "spectacular trees" by city homeowners.
A similar call went out in 2000, she said, after the two oldest trees on the 1987 list died.
"That year, the city identified a 330-year-old sycamore at 2140 Cambridge Road as its oldest living treasure," Foley said. "It is still standing."
Other trees on the list have succumbed due to storms, disease and general old age, officials said, providing them another motivation for updating the historic list.
Upper Arlington Parks and Forestry Superintendent Steve Cothrel called the city's oldest trees "heritage trees." He said they're living witness to Upper Arlington's founding as a village on March 20, 1918.
"This is just for fun, and a way to call attention to the grand old trees that we are fortunate enough to have in some neighborhoods," Cothrel said. "This is not a competition -- there will be no winner crowned.
"We will recognize all of the nominated trees if they are 100 or more years old and the owners are agreeable."
Homeowners who believe they have trees at least 100 years old on their properties are asked to provide their names, addresses and phone numbers by March 31 to Cothrel at 614-583-5340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They're also encouraged to submit any information useful in dating the tree, including photos or a mention in a family history.
Hope Weber, the city's tree commissioner, will visit the sites and use an equation that accounts for size, species and site quality to determine the tree's age. She also will identify its species.
Weber said a tree's diameter at chest height, 4.5 feet above the ground, provides a good indicator of age.
"A 100-year old tree is about 25 to 30 inches in diameter, whereas a slower-growing 100-year old tree like an oak might only be 20 to 25 inches in diameter," she said.
Karla Gengler-Nowak of Friends of the UA Parks said many trees were likely planted when a home was built so the age of the tree is often the same as the age of the home.
Likely centennial prospects might be found in the city's historic district.
"Neighborhoods near Fishinger Road, Farleigh Road, Fairfax Drive and Henthorn Road, which were built into existing forests without disturbing trees, are other areas where old trees might be identified," Gengler-Nowak said.
Cothrel estimated there are "several hundred centurion trees in UA," but that total includes trees in parks and wooded ravines.
He said the tree commission and city hope to tag trees 100 or older with Centennial Heritage markers.
"Folks who nominate should keep in mind the tree's visibility and accessibility," Cothrel said. "We want to show these trees off during 2018, so they should be visible to the public with minimal effort.
"Trees at the bottom of an isolated private ravine would not be good candidates."
Foley said while the tree commission is compiling a list of notable trees, it's also issuing a "call to action for the next century."
"Plant a tree today," she said.