What words could be used to describe the Big Tree Ranch Baldcypress? Big, towering and massive are some that come to mind. This special baldcypress grows at the appropriately named Big Tree Ranch in Concan. This tree is a former state champion. People in the Texas Hill Country have long revered its size. Did you know that a photo of this tree is on display at a local eatery? Yes. It should then come as no surprise that this baldcypress was included for years on the Uvalde County driving tour.
Today, the tree rests near the bank of the Rio Frio River. It’s still an awesome sight. People still come to visit it to make sure that it’s really that big.
In June 1965, the Big Tree Ranch Baldcypress was officially named the largest of its kind. As a tree of swamps and flooded waterways, the tree continues to thrive in the floodplain of the Rio Frio. When the tree was measured in 1990, it was 96 feet tall with a 112 foot crown spread and a 34 foot, 3 inch circumference. Permanent signs at the Big Tree Ranch proudly display these numbers, along with the tree’s onetime state champion status. Another formal measurement was undertaken in 2013. Although we don’t know the specific measurements, we do have proof that this ancient tree is still growing.
Of course, people also question the tree’s age. A core sample taken in 2009 estimates that the baldcypress is more than 600 years old. Isn’t that amazing? However, the true age of the tree may not be known. A closer look at the tree reveals it has no buttressed base. Over the years, the Rio Frio has gradually covered the base of the tree with sand, silt and rock. Texas A&M foresters estimate that any formal measurements are likely being done 10-15 feet above the original tree base.
Longtime owner, Roann Stoner Crawford takes a less is more approach to the tree’s care. She allows it to flourish naturally on the rich bottomland of the Rio Frio. She doesn’t do any fertilizer or spray the tree. She and her husband guard the tree and the river land fiercely and respect nature to do its job.
Got any more questions on the baldcypress or any of the famous trees of Texas? Give us a call at 512-341-8888.