Votes were tallied in April, 2001 and results announced on the Nation's Capitol grounds in Washington D.C. The oak was selected during a four-month-long open voting process hosted by the Arbor Day Foundation. From the first day of voting, oak was the people’s clear choice, finishing with more than 101,000 votes, compared to almost 81,000 for the magnificent runner-up, the redwood. Rounding out the top five were the dogwood, maple, and pine.
People were invited to vote for one of 21 candidate trees, based on broad tree categories (genera) that included the State Trees of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each voter also had the option to write in any other tree selection they preferred.
Advocates of the oak praised its diversity, with more than 60 species growing in the United States, making oaks America’s most widespread hardwood tree. There is an oak species that grows naturally in nearly every state in the continental U.S.
Individual oaks have also played a part in many important American historical events, from Abraham Lincoln’s use of the Salt River Ford Oak as a marker in crossing a river near Homer, Illinois, to Andrew Jackson taking shelter under Louisiana’s Sunnybrook Oaks on his way to the Battle of New Orleans. In the annals of military history, "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution, took its nickname from the strength of its live oak hull, famous for repelling British cannonballs.