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Washington State University
WSU Puyallup Ornamental Plant Pathology

The Council Madrone

The Council Madrone

750_Council madrone“The Council Madrone was located upslope from the Mattole River in Humboldt County, California. In this photo are Dr. Frank A. Lang and Frank Callahan (w/o the sunglasses) along with Frank L.’s dog. This tree’s last measurements before its demise during a wet snow event are given as follows: 13′ DBH Height 100′ and 115′ crown spread. In short the Council Madrone has about twice the wood volume as Washington’s Port Angeles tree.

The largest Pacific madrone that I have ever encountered was a tree that was 14′ DBH growing on Cleveland Ridge, Jackson County, Oregon and was in decline and cut for firewood – the tree (from memory) branched ca. 25′ above the ground into multiple very large trunks. The woodcutters remarked “the tree yielded over 14 cords of wood”. I think the tree was ca. 125′ tall – at the time of its demise. Of interest, this madrone did not have basal sprouts, and the center was hollow exhibiting ca. 4′ x 5′ cavity. We were unable to determine the age of the tree but suspect it was in the 800 year range – as you may know madrone rings are very difficult to count.”

Photo and information about the tree courtesy of Frank Callahan.

Contact: Gary Chastagner, 253-445-4528 | WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center,2606 West Pioneer, Puyallup, WA, 98371-4998 USA

The Oregon Champion madrone

Contact: Gary Chastagner, 253-445-4528 | WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center,2606 West Pioneer, Puyallup, WA, 98371-4998 USA

Champion Trees

Big Trees

Arbutus menziesii


The largest Pacific madrone in Washington State is located in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. It has an interesting history.

The Port Angeles Madrona by James Causton


Oregon Champion tree


The Council Madrone


Vancouver Island Big Trees Blog entry on Arbutus, December 2010

Other Arbutus species


The National Register of Big Trees

Contact: Gary Chastagner, 253-445-4528 | WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center,2606 West Pioneer, Puyallup, WA, 98371-4998 USA

Crowdfunding to start a forest pathology focused citizen science program in South Africa

See below for information about this exciting new citizen science program


My name is Joey Hulbert and I am a forest pathologist in training. I recently completed a MS at Oregon State University and now I am  prepping to move to South Africa for a PhD with Dr. Micahel Wingfield at FABI.

For the PhD, we plan to survey the indigenous forests of South Africa for Phytopthora species with the help of the public. We want to create a citizen science program that teaches the public about forest pathology and invites them to help sample the trees in their communities and near-by forests. The PhD will be funded but we are trying to raise support for starting the citizen science program. To do this we have launched a crowdfunding campaign.
I am reaching out to you with hope that you will share this project with your social networks and anyone who may see the value in this project. Please help us spread the word!
The below link will take you to the project. There is a 5-minute video that I put together to summarize the scope and value.

Discovering plant destroyers in South Africa


National Elm Trial at WSU Puyallup

National Elm Trial at WSU Puyallup


It is important to maximize the genetic diversity of shade trees within the nation’s urban forests because of the increasing threat of exotic pest and pathogens.

The loss of elms to Dutch Elm Disease (DED) has stimulated research to select and breed DED-resistant cultivars, but the performance (e.g. growth and tolerance to other pests and pathogens) of these cultivars need to be studied further to identify the best fit cultivars for each region.

Therefore, the overall goal of the National Elm Trial is to compare the performance of DED-resistant cultivars across a wide range of growing conditions.

About Elms

Valley Forge cultivar

The American Elm is an example of a species that once dominated urban forests across the US, but has essentially disappeared because of the introduction of Dutch Elm Disease.

Dutch Elm Disease

Elm trees in the United States are threatened by DED. The disease has already killed between 30-50 million elm trees throughout the UK (Brasier). Reports in North America range back to the 1920s, but its presence in Washington was not confirmed until 1978 (Maloy and Inglis 1978).

More information about the history, biology and control of DED is available in the Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbook.

Pruning Elms

You can find guidelines and recommendations for pruning elms on this page.

Additional pruning guidelines are available in the Pruning instructions for elms (PDF) shared by J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. 2004

National Elm Trial

The National Elm Trial is a volunteer effort to evaluate and promote the use of Dutch elm disease (DED)-resistant American and hybrid elms.

This nation-wide study has one coordinating and reporting system that is based at Colorado State University. The effort grew out of the NCR-193 Agricultural Experiment Station coordinating committee on insects and diseases of woody ornamentals, a group of researchers and extension specialists from land grant universities around the United States.

The National Elm Trial includes between 15-18 DED-resistant and commercially available elm cultivars planted at seventeen sites in sixteen states. These elm cultivars will be evaluated over a wide range of growing conditions and hardiness zones.

More information about the cultivars used in the National Elm Trial is available in a PDF Table here.

The specific objectives of the National Elm Trial are to:

  1. Determine the growth and horticultural performance of commercially available DED-resistant elm cultivars in various climate regimes in the United States.
  2. Determine the relative disease, insect, and abiotic stress tolerance of these cultivars.
  3. Promote the propagation and use of elms through local, regional, and national reporting of the trial results to wholesale tree propagators and growers, retail nursery and garden center operators, landscaper designers, arborists, and the general public.

More information about the project and all the sites involved is available on the National Elm Trial main site.

Research Outcomes


Resources & Publications

National Elm Trial planting at WSU Puyallup