Linda Hall Library Champion Trees

Linda Hall Library exterior

When Herbert and Linda Hall bequeathed their estate for the purpose of establishing a public library, it was their wish that the grounds on which their former home stood be preserved and maintained so “that the surrounding trees and grass shall add beauty and dignity” to the Library. Accordingly, the Linda Hall Library’s grounds have been managed for more than 70 years as an urban arboretum, a garden of trees within the city.

Complementing the Library’s mission, tree acquisition has emphasized obtaining unusual and underutilized trees that are adapted to the local environment. Careful selection and meticulous cultivation of plantings through the years have yielded an urban green space that is recognized as one of the Library’s most distinctive features. Today, the grounds surrounding the Library are home to some 300 trees representing 48 genera, 130 species, 15 champion trees, and the renowned tree peonies.


The list of Greater Kansas City Champion Trees dates back to 1955 when the late Stanley R. McClane, landscaping superintendent for the J.C. Nichols Company, completed the first survey. From 1974 to 2012, Chuck Brasher, arborist for the Country Club Tree Service, maintained and updated the list. From his death in 2012 up to 2021, Powell Gardens continued and maintained the list. In 2021, Heartland Tree Alliance, a program of Bridging the Gap, took over and is currently working on verifying and updating the list.

Double Flowered Horsechestnut flowers.

Champion Tree status is determined using a mathematical formula based on tree height, spread, and trunk circumference. Trunk circumference is measured in inches four and one-half feet above ground. One point is given for each inch of trunk circumference and each foot of height. One quarter point is given for each foot of spread. The three measurements are added together to determine a tree’s point total. The designation of Champion Tree is assigned to the tree of a given genus and species with the largest point total.

Visit the Linda Hall Library and discover the Arboretum’s Champion Trees:

  • American Hornbeam; Musclewood; Blue Beech; Water Beech
  • Amur Maakia
  • Anise Leaf Magnolia
  • Double Flowered Horsechestnut
  • European Beech
  • Hardy Rubber Tree
  • Japanese Yellowwood
  • Korean Mountain Ash
  • Loose-Flower Hornbeam
  • Mongolian Linden
  • Shumard Oak
  • Silver Pendent Linden
  • Texas Red Oak
  • Turkish Filbert
  • Yulan Magnolia

The Library encourages the public to visit the Arboretum, which is open from dawn to dusk. Learn more at lindahall.org/arboretum.

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