Storms knock over champion Mo. cottonwood

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(SPANISH LAKE, Mo., AP) — Powerful storms that did widespread damage in the St. Louis area last month also claimed a tree that was dubbed the state’s champion cottonwood.
The 127-foot-tall eastern cottonwood stood near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers until it was toppled by high winds on May 31.
The storms that hit St. Charles and St. Louis counties that night spawned nine tornadoes and knocked out power to thousands — while also knocking down the cottonwood in the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake.
Missouri’s Conservation Department says the cottonwood was the second-largest tree on record in the state. It measured 310 inches around, with a 103-foot crown.
The agency bestows the title of champion tree on native species using a formula that includes height, crown spread and circumference.