20 Atlanta Trees You Should Know

The "Climbing Magnolia" in Piedmont Park is one of the city's most recognizable — and most photographed — trees. Here's a Who's Who of metro Atlanta trees and why you should know who they are.

The “Climbing Magnolia” in Piedmont Park is one of the city’s most recognizable — and most photographed — trees. Here’s a Who’s Who of metro Atlanta trees and why you should know who they are.


In Atlanta, the “City in a Forest,” our trees play the roles of landmarks, friends, celebrities, teachers and time capsules.

Many are survivors – of war, tornadoes, fires and living room additions. Sprawl is a frenemy, clearing wide swaths in some parts of town and in others, sparing pockets of forest that would be more densely developed in other cities.

Since 2009, ecologist Eli Dickerson has been a volunteer for the Trees Atlanta Champion Tree Program list, a sort-of Who’s Who of metro Atlanta’s most significant trees (he also maps them). The champion trees program has been in place in Atlanta since the 1990s and follows national guidelines. Trees are measured on a points system and the grandest are declared “champions” for their species and their region. Trees Atlanta just released its updated database of champions.

This Arbor Day, the AJC went searching for trees with special connections to their communities. To assemble our list, we consulted a Dream Team of local arborists, ecologists and enthusiasts, including: Dickerson, ecologist at the Fernbank Museum; Greg Levine, co-executive director of Trees Atlanta; Neil Norton, executive director of the Georgia Arborists Association; Peter Jenkins, founder of Tree Climbers International; Kathryn Kolb, director of EcoAddendum; Gary Peiffer, a UGA extension agent for DeKalb County; Tom Coffin, a neighborhood activist and tree advocate; and the Arborist Division of the City of Atlanta.

Here then, are 20 metro Atlanta trees with stories to tell. (All photos by Pete Corson / unless otherwise noted.)

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See the list at