A Japanese Bigleaf Magnolia tree (Magnolia obovata) located at the Schmidt House was formally designated as a heritage tree during Tumwater’s city council meeting on Monday, July 31.
Measuring 50 feet (15.2 meters) in height and 35 inches (0.9 meters) in diameter at breast height, it may be one of the largest recorded specimens of its species if compared with other trees listed on the website of Monumental Trees.
Currently, the Japanese Bigleaf Magnolia tree with the largest girth measures 3.07 meters when recorded at a height of 60 cm. In terms of height, the tallest tree of the species measures 20 meters.
Jim Sedore of the city’s Tree Board nominated the tree and would submit it to Monumental Trees to see if it would make it on the site. If accepted, the tree would be the third tallest specimen of the species.
Sound Urban Forestry, which the city contracted to inspect the tree, agreed with Sedore’s information that the tree is likely around 83 years old.
Sedore got this information from Karen Johnson, a curator of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, who said that a long-time caretaker of the Schmidt House had been informed by the Schmidt family that the tree was transplanted onto the site in 1947. The Schmidt family of the Olympia Brewing Company supposedly planted trees as a birthday gift to family members.
The tree had already been six feet when it was transplanted, so it would already have been several years old in 1947.
If the tree is indeed 83 years old, it would make it the oldest Japanese Bigleaf Magnolia tree. According to Monumental Trees, the oldest recorded tree of the species is 73 years old, give or take ten years.