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Vandals kill champ. (Clippings).

Vandals have killed the nation's largest longbeak eucalyptus, a 498-point behemoth in Pinal County, Arizona. State Big Tree Coordinator Robert Zahner, on a visit to remeasure the champ, found eight fires had been lit around the base, girdling the bole, the area of trunk from the ground to the tree's first major branch.

The owner, who lives some distance from the tree, didn't realize it had been vandalized, It sat several miles out of town off a public gravel road and far out in the middle of irrigated cotton fields.

"Perhaps the vandals had a motive, thinking the tree was drinking too much irrigation water," Zahner says.

Two trees from Arizona have since been nominated to succeed the Pinal County champ; the first grows at Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum in Superior. The second is an urban tree near Chandler.

"It's always sad to lose a champion tree by windstorm, lightning, or fire, and we've lost many, but it is tragic when we lose a tree, any tree, to senseless vandalism," says Zahner.

AMERICAN FORESTS' deadline for nominations for the 2004 Register was July 15; the Register will appear in the Spring 2004 issue of this magazine. View the Register and nominate trees online at www.americanforests.org.
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Title Annotation:the country's largest longbeak eucalyptus, Pinal County, Arizona
Publication:American Forests
Geographic Code:1U8AZ
Date:Jun 22, 2003
Words:207
Previous Article:Selling the Cheat. (Clippings).
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