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Dear NTS,

Happy New Yr - I wish you all a tree-filled 2012; I know that will be fulfilled.

I also want to take you through my trip to Bhutan in October 2011. The discussion on the big Ostrya in the tropics triggered this series of postings. Wait until you see the Symplocus from southern Bhutan! I will start this series with the travel into Bhutan. It is a long, exciting trip. I started my journey from the city of Shenyang in northeast China. Despite starting on that side of the world, it still took a bit over 9 hours of flying from Shenyang to Paro, Bhutan: Shenyang --> Shanghai --> Bangkok, Thailand --> Paro. Of course, the most exciting portion was on the last leg into Bhutan. As Bhutan is still a hard to reach, but often dreamed of destination, my fellow passengers acted like I recall my first plane ride - total giddiness! Cliched, but the excitement was truly palpable.

The only way they allow planes to fly into Paro during daylight hours and visual meteorological conditions . Unfortunately for us, it was cloudy at our cruising height, so it was hard to get an overview of the Himalayas.


Peaks of the Himalayas emerging from the clouds.


As we started our descent, of course, we could see into the Kingdom of Bhutan.


Our final approach included a sharp bend into the narrow valley holding the landing strip (a strip that is from two directions depending on the direction of the wind), a short hop over one final ridge line into the valley, nearly clipping houses and Buddhist structures and then a final hard turn to the left just before touching down.

Want to get a sense of what it is like to land at Paro? Check out this clip:


Obviously we made it. But, this view shows how closed in the valley is.

The drive from Paro to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital, is a little over 50 km, but roughly an hour to drive. I do not generally get car sick, but Bhutan's roads are a real test:

We were delayed coming from Bangkok, so our trip to Thimphu was a race against the setting sun. I did get some glimpses of the two main pine in Bhutan, blue pine and chir pine. The pictures below are from other days and other parts of the trip. First, blue pine.


Like the Korean pine of northeast China, I was blown away by blue pine's resemblance to eastern white pine [or, likely more correct evolutionarily-speaking, vice-versa]. See how the fluffiness of the blue pine's crown resembles other white pines? For some reason, I didn't purposefully take more pictures of blue pine. I was obsesses with seeing the broadleaf species. I did get some other trees in the background of other pictures. The best one is below.


Most of the blue pine we saw were young and seeding in following fire. They apparently planted thousands of blue pine outside of microsite requirements along the road from Paro to Thimphu. During some severe autumn droughts over the last 10 years the blue pine have been dying back. A Bhutanese scientist has connected severe autumn drought to the dieback of blue pine.

What captured most of my attention on the drive in, however, were the chir pine.


Chir pine bark


Chir pine twig


The stout branches of chir pine


needle arrangement of Chir pine


If there were not steep ridgelines in the background, I would have thought I was in the southeastern US [ignoring the cool, dryish October air].

Next stop: Dochula.

by Neil
Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:55 am
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Re: The world's biggest and most vulnerable trees – in pictu

i agree, Chris - things are changing fast these days. large swaths of forests are succumbing to insect outbreaks, which seems to be driven by warmer winters. so, it is hard to get a handle on what is important sometimes. there is evidence that tree size might mediate longevity more than age: and and . the loss of big trees might not be the greatest loss of what is happening in our environment. i'm not saying it isn't important, but the loss of species and green space seems a bit more important.

but, the death of large trees is sensational and captures people's attention. a friend once pointed out that books with 'trees' in the title sell better than books with 'forest' in the title. people will protest the loss of a large tree in a city, but will not likely make sure efforts to suburban sprawl or poor forestry practices.

by Neil
Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:59 am
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Owl Art


Fifteen minutes ago I happened to look up from my computer and out the window, and what did my wandering eyes behold? Yes, a bard owl on a hemlock just outside of Monica's music room perched on a limb o a hemlock that Will treated for adelgid years ago. I grabbed my camera, ran up stairs, got Monica, and we went into her music room. The rest of the story is told in pictures. Note the little from outside and at the bottom of the window.

Behold the Bard of Florence.


A little closer


You gorgeous creature


Keeping watch


Ah for a little snooze


by dbhguru
Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:53 am
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"Super Cove" Sunday- Elkmont, TN TALLEST FOREST?


Just a quick report before bed. Today Michael Davie and I spent most of the day surveying a "super cove" discovered via recently obtained LiDAR data interpretated by Josh Kelly, Michael Davie and Jess Riddle. The site near the abandoned town of Elkmont was the north slope of Burnt Mountain which ironically is flanked on the north side by superlative forest and on the south and upper slopes by grape thickets. The site was very rich and more diverse than other "super coves". Josh was able to identify over 40 LiDAR "hits" over 170' and three over 180'- basically a continous high canopy across the slope. Very few sites match this signature density so we were stoked.

The LiDAR was comparable to other ground-truthed areas- some trees over predicted and others under. The highest points were leaning trees on steep slopes but some of the lower points turned out to be the taller trees since they leaned upslope the high point was upslope of the base.

We were able to get an initial Rucker Index of 152.7 for the small area. I think this may be the tallest micro-site Rucker Index? More searching will bring it up a bit. I have photos but seriously, they look look every other similar young second-growth site in the southern Appalachians. I'll post them later.

This site was probably around 90 years old and unfortunately, eaten by earthworms.

Rucker 10 152.7

Tuliptree 180.3 (180.2' tree nearby)
Biltmore ash 162.2 (tallest recorded- also 154.7')
Bitternut 160.1 (tallest recorded)
Sycamore 154.7
White basswood 151.0 (third tallest in Smokies)
N. red oak 148.4
Black cherry 146.2 (tallest in Smokies)
Yellow buckeye 144.1 (mid-story tree)
Red maple 143.2
Cucmbertree 137.0 (token 'cause we needed another tree for the RI...)

We also looked at a cove near Cucumber Gap and Mike hit a 184.9' tuliptree- tallest known tree in Tenneessee!!! Many others in the high 170's.

We literally passed under probably 60-70 tuliptrees over 170' today. Infact, we did not really bother with trees less than 175'...

by Will Blozan
Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:58 pm
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Rothkugel Plantation, WV

NTS: I had a chance to stop and measure some trees in this plantation the afternoon of 10-22-2011. Gaines McMartin has previously posted about this site. His comments and some good pictures can be found here:

I thought I would add a little more information about this site. It is located near Thornwood, Pocahontas County, WV along WV 28 not less than ½ mile from its intersection with US 250. Pictured below is a sign along the road marking the location of the entrance of a trail (right of sign) that loops through the stand.
Photo by Turner Sharpon an earlier visit to the stand 6/20/2011

The elevation at this sign is 2,920’. The aspect is west to northwest. There is a small hollow with an intermittent stream to the right of this entry trail. I walked up this trail about 2/3 way to about 3120’ measuring trees until I got good heights and CBHs for 5 dominant Norway Spruce (Picea abies) and 5 European Larch (Larix decidua). The trail later loops to the right to the other side of the small hollow and comes back to WV 28. Instead of doing the loop one could continue up to the top of Smoke Camp Knob at 4200’ elevation but would have left the plantation. This trail is marked as FS 324 on the official Forest Service map

My five tree height average for Norway Spruce was 120.8’ and lower then Gaines 7 tree average of 122.7’. The tallest Norway Spruce I measured was at 135.5’ and will be height record for West Virginia .The five tree average for the European Larch was 102.1 with the tallest at 104.9’. The complete listing of trees measured can be found in the Trees Database at:

Max Rothkugel was in the employ of George Craig and Son Lumber Company of Philadelpia, Pa when he established this 150 acre plantation in 1907. Site preparation consisted of burning the slash left over from previous logging operations. Apparently Rothkugel had a failure on a 20 acre experimental tract in 1906 because of birds and squirrels getting most of his broadcast seeds. In 1907 instead of broadcasting seeds his workers spot planted groups of seeds about six feet apart. His goal was to plant about 60 % Spruce and 40 % Larch with occasional strips of Black Locust to discourage grazing by sheep and cattle. The Spruce and Larch seeds were obtained from Josef Janwein’s Seed House in Tunsbruck, Tyrol. The Black Locust seeds from Willadaen Nursery in Warsaw, Ky.

Apparently several years after its establishment fire got into the stand and the young seedlings may have been reduced to 25% of their original coverage. The area burnt soon had blackberries and were much appreciated by the local population but was soon followed by native hardwoods. In the area I covered the crown canopy was at most 25 percent Spruce/Larch. I did not notice any Black locust or any reproduction of Spruce or Larch. The USFS acquired the stand in 1924. Driving along the highways near the little towns of Durbin, Frank, Bartow and Thornwood one cannot help but notice a number of Spruce and Larch trees about the same age decorating people’s yards and fence rows which may have affected the survival rate in the plantation.
I had the privilege of visiting Buckland State Forest in Massachusetts with some ENTS to see a Spruce/Larch plantation. My impression is that the Massachusetts site has better moisture conditions and a deeper, richer soil. If the Massachusetts site is a CCC plantation it means it had to be planted after 1933 which would make it at least 26 years younger than the Rothkugel Plantation. The spruce there are pushing 140 -150’ with at least one measured slightly over 150’. The Rothkugel is pushing 125-135’ range although I believe we may find a few 140’ trees. The big difference between the stands was the vigor of the Larch at Buckland. I believe some of them are approaching 150’. I did not see any Larches in Rothkugel in a dominant crown position and most look sickly. I would be surprised to find one at 110’. It would be nice to get a confirmed age of the Buckland State Forest stand.

More information may be found in the Forest Quarterly, Volume VI published by the New York State College of Forestry in 1908. It may be found at the following link:

On pages 40-46 is an article by Max Rothkugel titled Management of Spruce and Hemlock Land in West Virginia.
Additional information may be found in a publication titled 50 Year History of the Monongahela National Forest. Pertinent information is found in chapter 6, page 44. The rest of the publication makes interesting reading as it covers the early years of the National Forest. It may be found at the following link:

Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:01 pm
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Re: Lake Champlain Valley and whopper cottonwoods


Beautiful and great trees, those cottonwoods! Those specimens seem to be planted. Is Populus deltoides much to be seen as a wild tree or more often planted? In Europe the related wild Populus nigra (we call it black poplar), became rare the last few centuries. Its native habitat are the banks of the larger rivers. While these often were regulated the natural habitat, the riverine forests, was destroyed in many parts of Europe. Also, Populus nigra was not much planted, while replaced by hybrid cottonwoods: P. nigra x P. deltoides, called P. x canadensis. Those hybrids grow faster and straighter, so here also the economic value was decisive.
So in my country the largest Populus trees are hybrids.
Here the biggest P. x canadensis of the Netherlands, cbh 7.78 m - 25.5 ft, height 35.2 m - 115.5 ft. It was probably planted around 1900, so now ± 112 years old.
In other countries there still are really huge old native black poplars, some over 30 feet in girth. In Hungary these still grow in natural habitats along the river Danube.
Here a very large, hollow and probably over 200 year old P.nigra in southern France, cbh 33 ft:
Zwarte Populierfrankrijk-10m.jpg
And a second one with cbh 31 ft. I don't know the heights of both trees.
Another one of over 30 ft cbh is reported to be 41 m (134.5 ft) tall, but it was not lasermeasured and I doubt this was right), see:
In Poland one of 27 ft cbh (but a double) was lasermeasured 38,10 m - 125 ft: see, wich is the tallest lasermeasured wild P. nigra till now. P. x canadensis lasermeasured heightrecord is 41.7 m - 136.8 ft, but very few have been measured outside the Netherlands.

by Jeroen Philippona
Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:22 am
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Re: Closeup on Forests of the Pacific Northwest

Yes, the area has been butchered. I remember hearing that Olympic Nat'l Park was designed specifically to exclude most of the lower forests with high biomass. It seems the Park protects high-elevation forests for the most part.

Somewhere I came across someone sarcastically commenting on this affect, which went something like this:

'You can preserve all the bare rock and ice you want, just don't touch the trees'
by Rand
Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:48 pm
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Re: This woman may have set fire to the Senator

I posted this because it seems to reveal a sad reality: we have to keep our champion trees secret, or at least a number of them.


The tree was important because of its size and age, but those are primarily HUMAN based values being placed on the tree. It certainly played an important ecological role in its immediate area, and it contributed to the genetic pool with likely many offspring. However in reality the loss of the Senator was more of a human tragedy than it was an ecological one. Its value rested on how people perceived it. Its value pertains to how many people it influenced to think about forests and tree. In how many people it spurred to support parks and legislation to protect great trees, rare and unusual, and old growth forests. If the existence of these trees is not known to the general public, and for many people that means the ability to see it for themselves, then they contribute virtually nothing to conversation on whether we should be protecting certain trees and forest or whether they should be harvested. The abstract idea of a big tree somewhere of such and such dimensions is not something easily grasped by the public at large. That may be good enough reason for some people, but may not be enough to support a preservation effort.

So if the Senator Tree were still alive, but only a handful of people knew about it, how would that be better on the broader scale of promoting forest conservation? Yes, it would individually still be alive, but its anonymity will not have contributed to the preservation of any other trees or forests. You see a public outpouring of awe when the tree is alive by those who visit. You see a personal loss when the tree dies for those who have visited it, and a sadness for its loss by those who otherwise would never have given the tree any thought at all. You see it for this tree. You saw it when the old elm tree Herbie died in New England. It would be better if the tree were still alive and it was open to public visitation, but a sad disturbed person killed the tree. That is just how things go. Forests and trees regenerate. Another tree will grow in its place if the forest surround the tree site is preserved for the long term. It will not be the same tree, the ancient giant is lost, but still its existence and presence for people to see led to the creation of the park and preservation of the forest and ecosystem contained there.

Ed Frank
by edfrank
Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:14 am
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Re: This woman may have set fire to the Senator

I just find this sad. There seems to be something about a particularly impressive tree that attracts mentally unbalanced people to do something dramatic relative to the tree. Here we have a woman who's life is obviously in tatters doing something stupid which results in a tragedy. No good can come from venting anger at her. There is nothing we can do about it now. I have seen many unusually large trees with hollows and if they were in a public place, they have usually been partially blackened by people lighting flames in them. A tree such as the Senator that inspires awe in most of us can inspire strange and destructive reactions in a few people who are mentally ill or otherwise impaired. We can see a range of odd reactions in some of the comments on the news video.

by Bart Bouricius
Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:36 pm
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The Notable Trees of the National Trust, UK

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Introduction

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Irish Yews, Florence Court

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Arboriculture, Studley Royal

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Dizzard Dwarf Wood, North Cornwall

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Crom Yews, Castle Crom, Fermanagh, NI

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Plymouth Pear, Lanhydrock

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Sweet Chestnuts, Croft Castle

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Tolpuddle Martyrs' Trees, Dorset

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - The Whitebeams of Cheddar Gorge & Leigh Woods

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Ashridge Beech

Notable Trees of the National Trust - The Ankerwyke Yew

The Notable Trees of the National Trust - Borrowdale Yews


by edfrank
Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:41 am
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Re: The Notable Trees of the National Trust, UK


Indeed, all the rare whitebeams are apomictic "microspecies", like those hundreds of east American hawthorns. Sorbus aria is the only diploid sexual whitebeam.

Actually, DNA analysis has shown the whitebeams are more closely related with pears, apples, hawthorns, etc. than with rowans=mountain ashes ( Sorbus aucuparia, S. americana etc.). Consequently, whitebeams have been moved to an own genus Aria . Sorbus aria is then Aria nivea . Though, the new name combinations don't yet appear in any floras.

by KoutaR
Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:02 pm
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Sand Live Oak-Quercus geminata vrs Live Oak Quercus virg.

NTS, There are many Sand Live Oaks growing in Coastal Ms. The tree that I measured today grows in Gulfport on Teagarden Rd. The photos show two Sands near each other I measured the largest of the two trees. Whats cool about this tree is that right across the road grows a Live Oak which gives you a good visual on the differences of the two species. Live Oaks all over the Coast are in the process of renewing their leaves while Sand Live Oaks are not. Notice the full dark green leaves on the Sand verses the new growth on the Live in the one photo. This is the largest Sand Live Oak that I have measured to date. CBH- 10' 5", Height-48' and Spread less than 50'. Larry
by Larry Tucei
Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:13 pm
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Re: Jabba the Hutt Oak, CT

Ryan, Super cool tree, I love the name. The road for sure played an important role in the trees disfiguration. Soil compaction, water runoff, chemicals in the asphalt etc. Years ago when it was a wagon trail I bet everyone stopped under that great tree and had a picnic, party whatever. So many times I see roads right up to the roots of trees no buffer zone. Ive seen Live Oaks with the same type of charactaristics. Also the tree could have been damaged by something- maybe road construction. Trees with burls all over the trunk are unusal but I have seen them. I was wondering if those types of figures were caused by a Cancer or Disease. I really like Jabba its got lots of Character. A live Oak example. :) Larry
by Larry Tucei
Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:01 pm
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Re: Lightning Arrestor Systems in Trees

Just a quick aside...when I worked for Grand Canyon NP, I was involved in vegetation measuring tree heights, I noticed something metallic at the top, so I investigated further. It seems that the height of 1930's fire lookout technology was the placement of a ladder and small platform on tall ponderosas that were located in spots that wide panoramas.
Many of them survive today, so it's not like the metal platforms/ladders endangered the ponderosas, even though the ladders were grown over by the cambium.
by Don
Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:13 pm
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White pine climb with Michael Gatonska

I met with Michael today to introduce him to rope and harness tree climbing technique. The goal is to enable Michael to do some wind and tree sound recordings in the forest canopy and to prepare him to climb and make recordings for a future NTS event. We hiked in to woods east of Hartford CT and found a fine old white pine in a grove by a small river. As we started setting ropes a dog barked off in the woods which triggered an unusual mid-day Barred Owl duet. After Michael made an impressive 65' or so ascent using single rope technique we re-pitched up a little higher and set up equipment to do some test recordings. The weather cooperated and some gentle gusts came in creating a nice sway in the trunk and the soft wooshing sounds characteristic of wind in white pine. A newly arrived spring migrant Pine Warbler visited and hopped around the limbs near us, not too bothered by our presence. Eventually and reluctantly we returned to the ground and enjoyed another round of Barred Owl calling back and forth as we took the ropes down. Michael's a natural in a tree, I think we're off to good start exploring the New England forest canopy soundscape.

We have lift-off!

Look down from 65' or so

Taking in canopy space

Descending out of the tree

Touch down, congrats on a great first climb!

Base of the trunk detail

Trout Lily on the edge of the white pine grove

Andrew Joslin
Jamaica Plain, MA
by AndrewJoslin
Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:11 pm
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The Moody Forest Natural Area, GA

I had a chance to visit the Moody Forest Natural Area last week. In 1999 The Nature Conservancy bought 4500 acres from the Moody family, and today co-owns and manages it with the Georgia State Government. The property includes 350 acres of old growth longleaf pine-wiregrass savannah along with 600 year old cypress trees on the Altamaha River.

I was with my wife and daughter, so because there were no restroom facilities, and my womenfolk's tolerance for mosquitoes and heat is low, my time was limited. Nevertheless, I found some interesting stuff.

Moody 031.jpg

This was the biggest slash pine I could find. Note the burn marks. The preserve is burned on a regular basis. I didn't see a single longleaf pine in the area I explored--just slash and loblolly.

Moody 035.jpg

This is a swamp chestnut oak. Though dominated by pine, there were a surprisingly large number and variety of oaks, including post, willow, southern red, overcup, and either black or Shumard's. I can't really tell the difference between those 2. Reportedly, the preserve hosts 200 year old post and overcup oaks.

Moody 024.jpg

Much of the landscape looks like this--open piney woods. Ferns were by far the most common plant in the undergrowth.

Moody 034.jpg

This forest floor was recently burned. The only people we encountered were workers with firestarting equipment.

Moody 032.jpg

This is the top of an endangered gopher tortoise burrow. I didn't see the tortoise but a couple of rabbits that probably used the burrow were a few feet from the entrance. The preserve also hosts endangered red cockaded woodpeckers and indigo snakes.

Moody 044.jpg

I found this interesting mix of species outside the preserve at the Roadside park adjacent to the Altamaha River off Highway 1. Here, post oaks which usually grow on dry uplands were covered with Spanish moss which usually grows on moist lowlands.
by samson'sseed
Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:44 am
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Fanny Bennett Hemlock Grove - WV

Fanny Bennett Hemlock Grove – near Cherry Grove, WV
I had a chance to visit this stand in October of 2011. Several people had told me that the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) had heavily impacted the stand so I thought I should get some measurements while there are still some to get.
This 70 Acre tract is on the Potomac Ranger District of the Monongahela National Forest. The stand was acquired by the Nature Conservancy in 1966 and transferred over to the United States Forest Service in 1969. The stand is easily accessed. From the town of Cherry Grove in Pendleton County, take WV 28 south 3.2 miles to a right turn on Sawmill Branch Road (CR 28/10) and follow this road 2.3 miles directly to the tract boundary on the left.
The Hemlocks had a nice columnar shape with deeply furrowed bark and a more pronounced reddish cast then I have been used to seeing. Elevation was 3,000’ at Sawmill Branch which comes off of the eastern slope of Spruce Knob- the highest elevation in WV at 4,663.
I covered maybe 20 acres of the 70 acre stand. This included the bottomland along Sawmill Branch and a small unnamed tributary. I also covered about a 100 foot elevation gain on each side of the small tributary. HWA has been present from at least 2003. My estimate is that 50 percent of the Hemlocks are dead with many on the ground or with tops out. Another 25 percent are heavily infested with HWA and most of the other 25 percent are lightly infested. Several of the trees looked relatively healthy and some of these were highly visible along the road so and checked with the Forest Service to see if any treatment had been applied to the stand. They confirmed no treatments were done.
My main effort was to get an indication of maximum height and circumference of the remaining Hemlocks. Maximum height was 118.9’ with maximum circumference of two dead trees of 9.8’ both with their tops out and one with bark the other with no bark.
I soon tired of crawling through all the deadfall and after measuring 8 or 9 Hemlocks I headed back to the car and measured a few hardwoods on the way out. Also noticed were lots of Beech sprouts but no mature trees. The complete listing can be found on the “Trees Database at:
One of the last trees measured was initially tallied as a Chestnut Oak but after noticing some Chinkapin Oak leaves on the ground I changed my ID. However upon later consideration maybe I saw Chinkapin leaves which is found in that area. So that species ID must remain tentative.
In a way I am glad I did not see the stand in its original condition. It was painful enough.
This tract is in the Potomac River drainage and would be considered in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province. Sawmill Branch is a tributary of Big Run which is a tributary of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. How’s that for a river name.
For another description of the stand check out this link.
by tsharp
Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:48 pm
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Dorsey Farm Mt. Nebo, WV

NTS: In May of 2011 I found myself in the far suburbs of Mr. Nebo high on a ridge bouncing across a rutted farm road on a 4-wheeler and driven by a person who belatedly informed me he was legally blind. We were crossing the farm of Jerry Dorsey, the driver, who said not to worry it was only his lack of peripheral vision. He was going to show me a large Yellow-poplar which was a corner tree referenced in an 1860 deed. It turned out to be over 4’ diameter, but was impossible to get a good height reading so I promised to come back in the fall after leaf drop to get an accurate reading. Before leaving Jerry showed me a patch of timber on another part of the farm which he had cut 25 years ago but left the hemlocks and less valuable hardwoods. Since the property had been in his family for over 150 years he thought he was the first one to cut in that patch. The hardwoods showed a lot of old growth characteristics.. The Hemlocks ranged from 3-4’ diameter.
On 11/17/2011 I returned to the Dorsey farm accompanied by Dr. Amy Hessl and Matt Merrill from West Virginia University. Dr Hessl is associate professor of Geology at the University. I am not sure what Matt is working on but it requires coring Hemlocks and he has been to several tracts that I am somewhat familiar with including Fanny Bennett and Shavers Mountain.
The Yellow-poplar is centered in picture below. It measured at 13.8 girth and 135.6’ height. No record holder but a nice tree.
13.8' x 135.6' x maximum spread 86'
Photo by Turner Sharp 11/17/2011

Matt cored two Hemlocks. He later told me they were in the 250-300 year age class but were pretty poor quality cores. I believe he is on the prowl for 400+ year age class Hemlocks.

The two Hemlocks that Matt cored were measured at 12’ x 110.8' and 11.7’ x 107.7’.
Matt Merrill coring the 12.0' x 110.8 'Hemlock

Entered into the "Trees database" at
Photo by Turner Sharp 11/17/2011

by tsharp
Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:50 pm
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Savage Gulf State Park Hemlock Preservation COMPLETED!


At long last the epic project to treat a significant portion of the eastern hemlocks at Savage Gulf State Park has now been completed! We survived the job with no major injury an blessedly few chiggers and ticks. No snake bites either- we were warned by park rangers to get out soon as timber rattlers were waking up. Apparently the park is world-reknowned for its density of rattlesnakes...

The last push of the project was entirely on Big Creek- the largest tributary in the park. This section entailed more than 15 miles of treatment area and long sections of extremely rocky conditions. I went through another pair of boots on this phase.
Big Creek vista.jpg
Stone Door -1001.jpg
Big Creek proper is also well known to disappear and reappear in a network of sinks and springs. The lack of water threw our plans for a loop on several occasions, as did the extreme amounts of water after a rain. Finding crossing points proved difficult unless below a sink.
Big Creek above sinks001.jpg
Big Creek below sinks001.jpg
Ancient red cedar on limestone Laurel Creek001.jpg
Unfinished business Big Creek001.jpg
Reeves Falls001.jpg
Lower Falls Creek001.jpg
Flying squirrel001.jpg
Some tributaries- like Ranger Creek- had tons of water until it plunged over a ledge and disappeared into a hole. Same for Falls Creek- a raging whitewater tributary that simply vanished into the side of the cove. A placid pool near the end of Big Creek lured one to swim but it had a menacing swirl to it as thousands of gallons of water emptied down a crack about 8 feet under the surface. We wondered how many animal carcasses where down in these sinks. Lots of trash I'm sure. We we told Collins River (which Big Creek "empties" into) reappears many miles away in a huge spring near McMinnville, TN.
Ranger Creek Falls-1001.jpg
Ranger Creek Falls-2001.jpg
Ranger Creek Falls-3001.jpg
Luna moth001.jpg
We did have a bit of mop-up on Collins River which included one of the most impressive falls- Suter Falls. This is one sketchy trail when wet!
Suter Falls Trail001.jpg
Suter Falls-1001.jpg
Suter Falls-2001.jpg
Total tally of the project was 8,521 trees 12" or greater in diameter totaling over 155,000 diameter inches. These were located on about 1,200 acres of the park in varying density. The project took 133 person days and 8 work weeks on site, which is less than we thought. We estimate a total of 90 miles of hiking for access and treatments for each member of the team.
Last day- coming up with a plan001.jpg
last day- before descent at Stone Door001.jpg
Last tree 3-29-2012001.jpg
Many thanks to the team members; from Appalachian Arborists, Jason Childs and Nick Smith, and from Cortese Tree Specialists; Aaron Reid, Lydia McClure and Tim Perry. But thanks most of all the the staff at South Cumberland State Park (of which Savage Gulf is a part), specifically George Shinn and John Cristof. Without your perserverance and passion this project would not have happened when it did.
Savage Gulf - ALL TREATMENT AREAS FINAL April 2012-small.jpg
Will Blozan
by Will Blozan
Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:24 pm
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Prescribed burning in Minnesota oak savanna


Its difficult to schedule a class field trip a month in advance which turns out to be the day of a fire, but this happened April 12 when I took my Forest fire and disturbance ecology class to the University of Minnesota's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, 35 miles north of the Twin Cities. The area is on the Anoka Sand Plain, with soils that are 95% or more sand, and the pre-European settlement vegetation known in the Midwest as sand savanna, historically dominated by bur oak with some northern pin oak. When we arrived, they were doing a backburn in one of the 'burn units', units of 5-20 acres in size which have been burned at different frequencies in an experiment going on for 46 years. The area was savanna in the early 1900s, but due to fire exclusion since that time, had grown up into oak woodland. The experimental burn frequencies to see how fire frequency affects vegetation have been 8/10 years, 5/10 years, every 3 years, once every 5 years, once a decade and never burned (the experimental controls). Photos by Kalev Jogiste, visiting Scholar from Estonia.

Fig. 1. Backburn in progress, unburned on left and backburn on the right, in an area burned 5/10 years:

Fig. 2. Burn crew member lighting/observing fire--beige areas are made by the University of Minnesota mascot, namely gopher mounds with exposed sand

Fig.3, heat from the fire creates an impressionist painting

Fig. 4. Burn crew watches fire approach the northern pin oak and bur oak woodland

Fig. 5. Fire enters the woodland.

Fig. 6. Lee Frelich talks to the class about bur oak ecology in another burn unit (10 days post burn) burned 8/10 years for the last 46 years. Bur oak tree is about 150 years old.

Fig. 7. The class examines a 250 year old bur oak. Many of these bur oaks had been overtopped by the fast-growing, relatively-large northern pin oak during the fire exclusion period, but now, at least on the frequently burned units, are once again on the open savanna (this area burned 8/10 years). Bur oaks growing on units with low burn frequency have a higher mortality rate than those on the high-frequency units, due to being shaded by the pin oaks.

Fig. 8. A fire scar has formed (white charred area at base of northern pin oak in middle of picture), because another tree had blown down with its crown near the base of the tree, allowing the fire to burn there fore the 15 or so minutes necessary to cause a scar. The bark and cambium have been killed in the charred area and the remainder of the bark will fall off, creating a scar shaped like a Gothic church door. Grass fires do not last long enough (<1 minute) to scar oaks. The pin oaks are being scarred, rotting at the base, then falling during thunderstorm winds, and causing other pin oaks to be scarred, thus accelerating the process of the woodland opening up at 40+ years after the burning regime began. This is increasingly leaving only bur oaks behind as the dominant tree in areas burned with high frequency.

Fig. 9. Example of a northern pin oak that blew down due to rotted fire scar at base, and causing an area of high fire intensity where the crown landed on the ground, in an area burned 8/10 years. Note how open the savanna is after the high fire frequency for 46 years.

Fig. 10. Gopher mounds and a gopher snake going after its prey.

Fig. 11. Areas burned 8/10 years (left) and never burned in the last 46 years (right). Note thin barked tree species such as serviceberry and red maple invading the unburned woodland, as well as the density of brush.

Figure 12. A unit burned every three years for 46 years. Note that it is restored to bur oak dominance with occasional pin oaks, but that the understory is dominated by 3 foot tall hazel (brown in color at this time of year), rather than grasses as in left side of Fig. 11 which is burned 8/10 years (green understory is dominated by grasses), which gradually removes hazel and allows grasses to dominate the understory.
by Lee Frelich
Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:55 pm
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Single trunk vs. Multitrunk Revisited

Counting a multitrunk tree as a champion is like super-gluing two fat guys together and calling the combined pair the new champion fat guy.

For size comparisons it is important to compare like things to like things. If you mix both single and multitrunk trees together you are mixing different things. A tree for champion purposes needs to be defined as a single trunk, meaning it has a single pith at ground level. Multitrunk trees are worth measuring and documenting, but they should not be lumped together with single trunk trees for comparison purposes.

If you start talking about tree genetics and growing from the same root, then that begins a myriad of complexities that make the situation even worse. Two trunks from a rootstock may be genetically the same, but so are all of the clonal trees in colonies like the Pando Aspen Colony. Since they are all genetically the same and may be interconnected through the roots, should a tape be wrapped around all 47,000 stems covering 106 acres and call that the girth? In multitrunk trees there typically is a pinched section of bark between the trunks, clearly indicating they are separate trunks.

It is better in both practical terms and conceptually to define a tree as a single stem, even if the larger organism may have multiple trunks. The examples of unusual multitrunk specimens, trees like banyans, clonal colonies, self grafted series, fallen trees with limbs sprouting, etc. should certainly be documented, but each on their own merits, rather than lumping them in with measurements of single trunks.

If there was one aspect I would want to see cleaned up in champion tree lists, it is the persistent inclusion of multitrunk trees. They should not be on lists that are designed to compare the biggest individual - read single trunk - trees. This is something that could be resolved with better adherence to a champion guidelines that specifies single trunk trees only. I would even be in favor of a separate list for multitrunk trees, or trees with other unusual forms, but the two categories should not be mixed.

This something that can be fixed on champion tree lists. Multitrunk trees should be removed from consideration. This action does not require any expensive equipment on the part of those people measuring the tree. It does not require any special knowledge on the part of the measurers. It does not exclude anyone interested in measuring trees from the process. It would assure the integrity of the lists and reward people who find the actual giants of a tree species, rather than game playing by people who would nominate unworthy multitrunk trees as champions. Nothing annoys me as much with champion tree programs as allowing multitrunk trees to be included in the same listing category as single trunk trees.

There are examples of individuals or groups of individuals using faulty tangent based height measurement processes simply because these have yielded taller heights than more reliable sine top/sine bottom laser rangefinder/clinometer measurements available to them, but these are examples of cheating on the part of these individuals rather than a problem. with the champion program itself.

Will Blozan recently posted some examples of multitrunk trees:

Ohio champ cottonwood.jpg
Ohio champion cottonwood

And here are some pith trace examples:

Platanus occidentalis - trunk with tape, PITH TRACE.jpg
Ohio champion sycamore

Seven Sisters pith trace-small.jpg
Seven sisters live oak clump

The pith lines need to merge before ground level for something to be considered a single trunk tree. If there is more than one pith line at ground level it is a multitrunk tree. If there is only one pith at ground level, then it is a single trunk tree. Low branches could come out below 4.5 feet, but above the ground level and the tree still be a single trunk tree.

In the tree measuring guidelines, (all three of the documents, the original version, the one published in the Bulletin, and the updated version) NTS SP #1a Tree Measuring Guideline of the Eastern Native Tree Society -Revised Will Blozan writes:

"I use a “pith test” to define what a multitrunk tree is. If the tree has more than one pith at ground level it is a multiple-stemmed tree. Note I did not say 4.5 feet above the ground. This is because the 4.5 foot height is a forestry standard and is an arbitrary and convenient place for most people to measure a tree. Some trees, like flowering dogwood or rhododendrons, may branch well below 4.5 feet but have a single pith at ground level. In the case of such trees, I would measure the narrowest point below the lowest fork. More detailed discussions of how to measure multitrunk trees and trees with other odd forms is presented on the ENTS website."

As for the question of whether a particular tree is a double or single trunk, there will be arguments between experienced measurers about whether a particular tree is a double or a single. Many old doubles have grown together so that the trunk is regular in form and on the face of everything no longer appear to be doubles. The opposite situation s where there is a large low protruding branch. If the tree and branch grow large enough, the low branch appears to look much like a second trunk. When faced by wind and weather it is possible that these may split along the attachment line to look as if they are two trunks. In many cases there is sufficient doubt that the only way to know for sure would be to cut the tree down at ground level and see what the cross section shows.

Some people consider it being conservative to consider something a double if they can't tell for sure otherwise. I think this corrupts the data set more so than an occasional misclassified tree. For anyone measuring trees in the field, I would recommend they make detailed observations in the field, and then go with the best guess as to whether the tree is a single or double, and report that. Field inspection trumps photos except in the most egregious examples. This is not to say that if someone else goes out and looks at the tree will reach the same conclusion, but we hope so. Measurers should try to build in their mind characteristics that might distinguish singles from double or multitrunk trees, and apply these mental lists to what they are seeing in the field.

We are not defining whether something is a single or multitrunk tree based on genetics. The multitrunk tree may be growing from the same root mass and have identical DNA in all of its trunks. For measurement purposes we are classifying a multitrunk tree as a different measurement category than a single trunk tree because of its growth pattern, not because of different genetics. There may be some cases where there actually are two different specimens of the same species of tree growing together to form a fused mass, but these would be I would guess an extremely rare circumstance. There are occasional examples of two different species growing together - the Hugging Trees in the multitrunk tree classification scheme I previously proposed I would expect that hugging trees of different species would be more common than two different trees from the same species. In any case these should not be considered in the same measurement category as single trunk trees.

Are we becoming splitters or lumpers when it comes to tree measurements? I think I am a splitter as needed to maintain what I see as a valid data set. I want to make sure the big tree lists maintain an internal integrity. On the other hand, I have championed the idea that we should be collecting data on multitrunk trees and trees of other weird forms. That was the point of the article I wrote: Multitrunk Trees, Woody Vines, and Other Forms: I want to include these other forms in our dataset, even if they are not the idealized single trunk model and have proposed ways to measure them. The columns for inclusion of multitrunk trees are in the spreadsheet I wrote, and I have been working with Mitch Galehouse in his implementation of the NTS Trees database so that the multitrunk specimens can be properly recorded. So I would counter that you can be both a splitter and also be pushing for a broader inclusion and representation in the dataset.

There needs to be a balance between lumping and splitting when looking at sets of data. If you lump too many things together then they become a mish-mash of different objects that lack a coherent theme that is useful for expanding your understanding of the set. If there is too much splitting, then each individual is its own class and you can't look at relationships between objects as easily. So really I don't think it is a matter of splitters versus lumpers. We are splitting the data only to the degree needed to make it useful, and further lumping would only hurt the overall goals. I want to keep records for and acknowledge the superlatives of the different forms, but see it as a detriment to mix different form trees together in a single list.

Edward Frank
by edfrank
Fri May 11, 2012 2:39 pm
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Tall oaks in the "Forêt de Bercé near Le Mans

In last April I visited France. I spent a week in the Morvan, an old, lower Mountain chain in Burgundy, some 150 miles southeast from Paris; for a great part the bedrock is granite with some slate, but especially in the northwestern part also limestone and marl can be found. Forests in the Morvan are a mixture of wood production plantations with Douglas firs and other exotic conifers as well as more native broadleaf forest with mainly European beech, mixed with sessile oak, pedunculate oak, Hornbeam and some European chestnut and Sycamore maple ( Acer pseudoplatanus )other species. Some of these beechforests are of rather natural species composition and have been declared a forest reserve, but none have old growth character.

The last two days I visited the Forêt de Bercé, a famous forest about 100 miles to the southwest of Paris and 20 km south from the town of Le Mans. This forest of 5380 hectare (13.450 acres) is one of the forests planted with Sessile oak ( Quercus petraea ) for high quality timberproduction during the reign of King Louis XIV (1643 - 1715) on command of his Minister Colbert.
The forest lies in an area with plateaus with an altitude of around 130 - 160 m above sea level but dissected by small river valleys going down to 100 m asl. The soil at the plateaus is deep sandy-loam to loam-clay brown earths, with parent material of flint clay formed in the Turonian. Soil is relatively acidic and relatively poor, but still of a good class of fertility (F.Lebourgeois et al. 2004). In the valleys soils are somewhat richer.
Still some parts with the original oaks, dating from 1680 - 1720, exist. Famous is the small reserve: "Futaie des Clos" of 8 hectare (20 acres) with still over 400 oaks planted in that period and located at a plateau.
The oaks should have been felled between 1903 and 1933, but in 1895 this area was declared a special forest reserve because of the special quality of its oaks; in 1930 this was declared to be one of the "Artistic reserves" for its special beauty.
In the publications about this forest always the very great hights of the oaks were mentioned. In 2006 the forester Yves Gouchet measured many of the oaks in the "Futaie des Clos" as well as in some other parts of the forest, probably with a Vertex hypsometer,a tangent style of instrument. He measured several oaks of over 43 meters (141 ft), among wich two of 45 m (147.6 ft), one of 47 m (154.2 ft) and one of 50 m (164 ft). In a later publication after remeasuring this was mentioned as 49.5 m (162.4 ft).
Before I went to France I tried to get in contact with mr. Gouchet, but failed. Backwards this was because mr. Gouchet retired as a forestor in January 2012. When I was back in Holland I got e-mail contact with mr. Gouchet. He sended me a mail of other forestors, who had measured another oak of 49.0 m (160.76 ft) in the "Futaie des Clos". They also wrote that LIDAR surveys of the forest will be held soon. They wanted to have exact GPS positions of several of the oaks.

In a publication in 2004 by François Lebourgeois c.s.: Climate-tree-growth relationships of Quercus petraea Mill. stand in the Forest of Bercé ("Futaie des Clos", Sarthe, France) the medium height of 81 oaks in the "Futaie des Clos" was given as 45.2 m (148.3 ft). The measuring method alas was not given but very probable was also with a Vertex Hypsometer, the most common used hightmeasurement instrument used by European forest researchers and forestors between 1995 and 2010.
So at the 28th of April in the beginning of a rainy evening I visited the first location in the forest: here the second tallest oak was reported by mr. Gouchet, called the "Chêne Emery", wich should be easy to find. On the way to it at a plateau stood only light and relatively low oak forest (hight around 20 - 22 m (70 ft); but then a small road turned into a small valley descending towards the east. Here I saw much taller forest of sessile oak and beech. A first laser shot gave 38 m (125 ft), so much better). Then I saw down in the valley towards the "Fontaine de la Coudre" a nice forest of very tall and rather big oaks as well as beeches.
The "Chêne Emery" is marked by a signpost and is surrounded by a fence. I made many measurements with my Nikon Forestry 550 laser ranger (for Robert Leverett: without the 3-point tangent method). It was good to be measured, while it is near to he small road were can be got good sights of the tallest tops from several points. After many measurements I concluded it to be around 47.4 meters - 155.5 ft. This was a new lasermeasured record for Quercus in Europe! The cbh was 341 cm - 11.19 ft. Several other oaks in this valley near the "Fontaine de la Coudre" were 43 tot 44 m (141 - 144.4 ft) tall with cbh of 370 - 400 cm (12 - 13.1 ft). The tallest European beech here I measured as 41.4 m (136 ft). Beeches were younger than the oaks and planted to get long clean oak trunks. Indeed the trunk of the Emery Oak is 29 m (95 ft) clean till the first branches.
At the signpost the hight of this oak is given as 47.75 m (156.66 ft) so not much different from my measurement. Its age is given as around 265 years in 2007, so planted around 1742: this part of the forest is somewhat younger than the "Futaie des Clos".
At April the 29th I visited two other parts of the forest, the above mentioned "Futaie des Clos" and another valley, called the "Sources de l'Hermietiëre". Here the oak of 49.5 or 50 m was reported. Indeed this was a very beautiful forested valley with a small stream flowing from west to northeast. So this was a very sheltered location. At once I saw this forest was very promising: the first oaks and beeches I measured were around 42 m (138 ft) tall. As I walked along the stream I measured an oak of 43.3 m (142 ft) with cbh of 374 cm (12.27 ft).
I measured several more oaks up to 44 m (144.36 ft). A few hundred meters to the west I found a taller oak. It was difficult to find the highest tops, while it was already well in leaf and surrounded by other oaks and beeches. In the end I concluded it to be 46.0 m (150.9 ft) tall, with cbh of 366 cm (12 ft).
The thinner oak beside it (cbh 313 cm (10.27 ft) till then I had not given much attention, but when I measured the tallest tops of it, it was found to be taller even! The highest tops I was able to measure gave me consequent 48.4 m (158.79 ft), as far as I know a new record height for any oak lasermeasured in Europe!
This is 4.8 m (15.75 ft) taller than the tallest lasermeasured common oak ( Quercus robur ) in the more natural forest of Bialowieza in Poland and 3.8 m (12.47 ft) taller than the former tallest Quercus petraea measured by Kouta Räsänen in Kelheim Forest, Germany.

If we disregard the very exotic Eucalypts in Portugal and Spain this is even the second tall broadleaf tree in Europe measured by laser or climbing with direct tape drop as far as we are aware of! Only one London plane ( Platanus x hispanica ) of 48.56 m (159.3 ft) measured by climbing with direct tape drop, is a bit taller. But to now this fir sure some of the tallest of these oaks should be climbed!
In the USA only one specimen of Cherrybark oak ( Quercus pagoda ) in Congaree was measured to be taller, but of the white oak group no tree has been measured as tall before.
The tallest beech I measured was 44.6 m (146.3 ft), not a new record but still quite good.

In the "Futaie des Clos" I found oaks up to 44 m (144.3 ft); I spend only 1½ hour here, probably some of the oaks in this part will be taller, but I doubt if the tree reported to be 49.0 m in this part in reality is that tall. Also he mean hight of 45.2 (148.3 ft) reported in the publication I cannot confirm. I think the mean hight of the old oaks (I measured cbh of up to 434 cm / 14.24 ft) will be between 40 and 43 m (130 and 140 ft).
The exceptional hight of the oaks in the Forest of Bercé can be explained by very good, deep soil, optimal for Quercus petraea , good water supply, mild climate with mild winters, little snow and long growing season, but also by the very close planting of the oaks with high competition to get very long trunks. Very much of the growing energy went in the heightgrowth: the oaks show a 1 mm medium diameter-growth increment each year from 1810 to the present, rather slow.

Although my measurements are far from complete and can be done better with more time, better equipment and measuring before the trees come in leaf, it looks like that the tallest oaks cannot be found in the "Futaie des Clos", wich is on a plateau, although there the oldest oaks in the forest can be found. The two extra sheltered valleys at the Source de l'Hermitiëre as well as the "Fontaine de la Coudre" seem to have the best growing conditions to grow the tallest oaks.
The oak recently measured of 49 m in the Futaie des Clos should be measured also with laser or better still by climbing with tape drop. Also I am not sure if the oak measured by Yves Gouchet as 49.5 or 50 m is the same as the one I measured as 48.4 m. We have to go back there in comany with the French researchers, with good equipment and a few climbers!

Jeroen Philippona
by Jeroen Philippona
Fri May 18, 2012 9:37 am
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More Records from Cheraw State Park, SC


I spent most of this measuring season exploring more of Cheraw State Park. At first, I was focused on finding the taller longleaf pine groves but soon became distracted by the wetland areas that weave through the longleaf forest.


DSCF0447 (2).JPG

I found several large pondcypress trees in the narrow floodplain of juniper creek. Old fire scars stretch up their trunks and scattered stumps remind one of the logging that took place before the park became established. Most of the older cypresses are broken topped and hollow, but the largest tree seems solid.


There is active management going on at the park. Small hardwoods invading the longleaf understory are routinely cut down and mulched up. Longleaf and loblolly groves are thinned, even clearcut if mostly loblolly. Periodic controlled burns go through the pine areas also, but the wetland areas are left alone to grow naturally. All of this is done to restore habitat to a presettlement condition of an open longleaf pine savannah with a diverse herb layer.

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The largest pondcypress has enough points to be a national champion and is a potential volume champion for the species.
Several of the pond pines have enough points to be state champions.
Potential and current state champion trees in the park include sparkleberry, sweetleaf, pond pine, longleaf pine, atlantic white cedar, and pondcypress.
I also got around to getting a rucker height and girth index for the site.





DSCF0590 (2).JPG



by Tyler
Sat May 26, 2012 7:09 pm
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Neal Island - ORINWR, West Virginia

I had the opportunity to pay several visits to this Ohio River Island over the past year. The first visit was in July of 2011. I paddled over from the WV shore to the head of the Island which I knew was heavily forested. What did not know was the heavy knotweed infestation. It was 6-10 feet high and difficult to wade through so I made slow progress. I really was not into measuring trees just trying to get species composition and an idea of height. The first couple of hundred yards were miserable knotweed wading in the high heat and humidity. I perked up when I finally saw a clearing ahead and in my over eager desire to get there I tripped and fell face first into clearing and found a nice stand of nettles. I got a full facial treatment and even though I had long sleeves and pants on the sweat and high humidity soon set me afire. So I did the only thing one could do and took a dip in the Ohio River and discretely wrung my clothes free of the nettle effect. I could have saved the swim because shortly thereafter I got drenched in a thunderstorm even though I took shelter under a deadfall until it blew past. I was just on the edge of a mature stand of Sycamores and Cottonwoods and was thankful I was not in the stand. I soon retreated back to the mainland but determined it was worth paying a visit after leaf fall to do some tree measuring.



On December 19th 2011 I returned and measured 16 trees for CBH and Height. The dead knotweed canes still made walking slow and difficult. On my return to the WV shore I could not get very close to the shore because of shallow mud flats and had to exit my kayak in about six inches of water and three feet of muck about 15 feet from shore. So there I was in December standing in the river and could not move. Luckily, someone on the bank saw my predicament and asked if I needed help. I said maybe but I may be able to free myself but would appreciate if he stayed there while I tried. By laying cross ways over the kayak I finally got one leg freed and soon the other one and by laying flat in the water /muck got close enough to shore that the bystander pulled the boat to shore with me attached. Once again I had to shuck clothes but this time to wring out the mud before I dared get into the car.
On April 2nd I returned after hitching a ride on the refuge owned boat piloted by volunteers Dick Esker and Carl Radcliffe. We launched at the Belpre, Ohio Civitan Park launch site and motored upstream to the island. While passing under the old US 50 bridge, a peregrine falcon greeted us from the bridge abutment by turning his backside to us and squirting a copious amount of falcon poop a good 10-15 feet in our direction. They have successfully nested under the bridge for a number of years and enjoy a plentiful supply of Pigeons.
On this visit I measured another 15 trees and thankfully most of them were beyond the knotweed infestation. The Sycamores had not leafed out yet although most other species were well on their way. Trees measured include 4 species that set West Virginia height records.
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) 1.9’ x 55.6’, Boxelder (Acer negundo) 5.1’ x 77.0’, American Elm (Ulmus Americana) 8.3’ x 107.4’, Eastern Cottonwood ( Populus deltoides) 13.7’ x 127.6’ x 126.0’ (maximum spread) , One species set both WV height and CBH record:
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) 7.6’ x 40.6'
The Rucker Height Index (RHI) for ten species is only 96.2' reflecting the dominance of Sycamore and Cottonwood in the canopy.
Other notable trees included five Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) over 14’ CBH with the largest being 17.3’ x 131.7’ and a Hackberry ( Celtis occidentalis) 12.3’ x 80.2’ x 84’ (maximum spread)

Neal Island is located near the cities of Parkersburg and Vienna, Wood County, WV. About 10-15 acres at the head of the island is a mature bottomland forest. About ½ of that acreage at the very head of the island has a groundcover of Knotweed. It appears this acreage is flooded on a regular basis and many of the trees show flood damage. The flooding must make a perfect seedbed for the knotweed.
The rest of the island is former farmland that is in various stages of reverting back to forest land. The island is 110 acres with all but 8 acres owned by the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The remaining 8 acres at the foot of the island are owned by the City of Parkersburg in conjunction for some water wells for city water supply.
For a complete listing of trees measured see at the following link:
For more information about the wildlife refuge may be found at the following link:
by tsharp
Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:27 pm
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Re: Tree Humor?

More FUN (?). (I search for these silly/cute things in between baby sparrow feedings every 20 minutes, which is becoming my hell. Can't leave the house until 7 at night, and by that time I'm too tired! Good time, good times. My own version of "No Exit".)

So HUMOR ME! In both senses of the term.
by Jenny
Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:45 am
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