The Silver Maple tree located at 122 Helman Street has been chosen as the 2007 Tree of the Year for Ashland by The Ashland Tree Commission, according to city officials.

This neighborhood tree has had many nominations for Tree of the Year and commission members said it has definitely earned an honorary place in Ashland's urban forest.

"It is obvious that this tree has been well cared for over the years," said a press release issued by the city. "Neighbors and visitors alike, have the good fortune to enjoy this tree with its lush shade in summer and its spectacular gnarled trunk throughout the seasons."

The Silver Maple is a fast growing shade tree, which tolerates all types of soils. The Tree Commission will dedicate a plaque at the site honoring the tree next spring during annual Arbor week events.

This year marks Ashland's 20th Tree of the Year contest. Throughout the year a nomination form is available on the City of Ashland Web site and in early October, the call for nominations was distributed in the City Source newsletter.

Residents identified nine trees for consideration. The Ashland Tree Commission then narrowed the field down to five nominees. Residents voted in late October and early November choosing from the finalists. The ballot was published in the Ashland Daily Tidings, posted on the city's Web site, available at City Hall, and the Community Development and Public Works Building.

A total of 73 votes were submitted this year. The Coast Redwoods at 65 Granite Street finished a close second.

Beginning in 2003, the tree commission shifted the Tree of the Year contest to the fall rather than in the spring because tree commission members wanted to recognize trees in fall splendor.