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Re: A New, Somewhat Moldy Branch On The Tree Of Life


I think Richard Harris left the cake out in the rain at Mac Arthur Park a bit too long---must be how these organisms got established ;)
by Steve Galehouse
Tue May 17, 2011 11:01 pm
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Sand Live Oak (Quercus geminata)

ENTS, I traveled to Northwest Florida this past weekend for some swimming and snorkeling. I stayed in Ft. Walton and snorkeled Navarre and Pensacola Beaches. While in Ft. Walton I noticed a Public Picnic and Boat launch on the southeast corner of the bridge on Hwy 98 that crossed the bay. The park had several Sand Live Oaks growing throughout the area. I didn't measure them but they were not over 30' high and around 6' CBH. Sand Live Oak is a beautiful species smaller but very similar to the Live Oak. Some photos. Larry
by Larry Tucei
Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:35 pm
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The Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee


Here is a trip report for a recent trip.



On July 26th, Monica and I visited two sites in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, or, more properly, Cumberland Plateau. The Plateau runs north-south, smack through the middle of the Volunteer State. It begins in Kentucky and extreme southeastern West Virginia and ends in northern Georgia and Alabama. Farther north, the uplift is called the Allegheny Plateau in West Virginia and northward cross Pennsylvania and into New York. The eastern extremes of the plateau are mountainous, but its center is rolling and hilly. It is a plateau. The length of what is called the Cumberlands is about 130 miles, according to some sources, at least. Sorting it all out geographically, geologically, culturally, and politically can get very confusing, but I’ll give it a stab.

Geologically, the Cumberlands are part of a huge region named the Appalachian Plateau, which lies west of the Appalachian Mountains across a broad system of valleys. The combination of plateau and mountains is called the Appalachain physiographic region. It represents several hundreds of millions of years of land evolution. The Cumberlands, proper, reach their maximum elevation in Kentucky’s Black Mountain, at 4,145 feet. The highest point in Tennessee’s portion slightly exceeds 3,500 feet, so we are talking mountain-type elevations.

I doubt if most geographically-challenged Americans have even heard of the Cumberlands, although the region does have some historically famous places. For example, a well-known cultural site is Cumberland Gap, of Daniel Boone fame. The gap afforded easy western passage. In terms of mountain culture, the Cumberlands via with the Blue Ridge and the Ozarks for the number of hilly-billy heavens. Lots to see and sample.

For Monica and me, the Cumberlands offer many outstanding botanical features and scenic attractions, but we only had time to focus on two big ones in southern Tennessee: Savage Gulf and Fall Creek Falls. We first visited Savage Gulf State Park, which carries a distinction. ENTS has confirmed the Gulf as having the second highest Rucker Index in the entire East. That little fact is why I chose the Gulf to visit.

Once at the entrance to the natural area, Monica and I hiked for 3 miles through a dry forest to a small waterfall. Along the way, I identified 22 species of trees. No big stuff in terms of size, because the area is pretty darn dry. I did observes some fairly old trees of a dozen species, and down in the gorge, old growth abounds. However, we had no easy way to access the depths from the path we chose, and the day was hot and muggy. Both of us sweat a lot. Still, the day was nowhere near as hot and humid as we had experienced at Meeman-Shelby SP near Memphis the day before. The temperature in Meeman was 96 and the humidity about the same. It was awful. Just awful! As a brief digression, we visited Meeman to measure tall cottonwoods. I did measure one very tall specimen at 144.8 feet in Meeman, but it would take at least a hundred super cottonwoods to entice me back. We asked the nature interpreter and her supervisor where big, old cottonwoods grew, but they weren’t much help. They recognize the existence or lack thereof of cottonwoods by the cotton cast off. Apparently trees aren’t on their radar. I think they equate nature with little furry critters that scurry around.

In contrast to Meeman, the Cumberlands promised to be cooler, and were. We were treated to 85 and slightly lower humidity. It was bearable, but not comfortable. When I started to complain, Monica reminded me of Meeman Shelby, and I immediately piped down. But I had another reason to complain – no tall trees where we were. My native state of Tennessee was bombing. The one good feature of Savage Gulf was the absence of people. We had the place almost to ourselves. One slender, attractive lady with a Tennessee drawl carted to little girls along the early part of the trail. I point this out in contrast to what we were later to see at Fall Creek Falls and Clingman’s Dome in the Smokies.

After we left Savage Gulf, we headed straight for Fall Creek Falls, which is stated in the literature to be the highest free fall waterfall in the East. I wanted to confirm that claim with my high-priced lasers. To reach the falls, we hiked about 1.2 miles through an old growth forest dominated by white oak. The weather was hot and sticky. Still, we persevered, and were rewarded. The gorge and falls are impressive. The gorge has a maximum depth of 500 to 600 feet, and is loaded with old growth. The trees are packed so tightly that measuring would have been a real challenge.

In the image sequence below, we first see Fall Creek Falls. They don’t have much water now. The small figures in the second image are people, cooling off from the muggy heat.



The above images featuring the falls are followed by a look at the gorge. Monica was quite impressed. However, views of the gorge are generally restricted by vegetation, except at the main lookout.


Next, we see Monica standing next to an old Virginia Pine.


Finally, we take a look up the trunk of an old white oak. There were many such oaks, and I judge their ages to be between 250 and 350 years.


And now to the big story. The falls are stated to be 256 feet high, which includes both plunges – the first is a cascade. However, the full drop of the cascade and vertical plunge is only 208 feet. I used my TruPulse 360 to shoot both drops. At the distance shot, the accuracy is +/- 1.5 feet. I don’t know where the 256-foot figure comes from. It is not correct, but is repeated often. Nonetheless, the falls are very impressive, and well worth visiting.

Bob and Monica

by dbhguru
Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:55 pm
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Re: Fake Science: What Tree Rings Mean


by Rand
Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:50 pm
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Re: The Colorado River: Running Near Empty

They probably would wish they were us, and that they had our problems instead of theirs.

no doubt, but too bad they're not smarter than us - if they were, they wouldn't want to exchange places, they'd want to fix the problems, as the rich nations should be doing

<Chuckle> Yep. A toast to the tragedy of the commons all around.
by Rand
Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:07 pm
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Comments about our webpage on Children and Teens

Hi Edward!

i just wanted to let you know how I came across your page,, while googling "gardening resources". I actually found your web page to be pretty useful! I've used some of your information towards my class lesson, I hope you don't mind. :)

Anyway, my students came across this web page,, and thought it would be a great replacement link for "Teaching through Nature" under "General Activities and Comments" on your web page. :) That link's not working, just so you know. Would you mind adding it to your page?

Since you don't have any butterfly garden resources, my students really think the visitors of your page would find it fun and interesting. They would be so thrilled to see their link suggestion up on your page! :)

...and even more thrilled because they'd be getting a pizza party AND extra credit. You really see kids get motivated when extra credit is involved! ;)

Just a friendly suggestion..let me know what you think!

Donna Knowlten
by edfrank
Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:44 pm
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Re: Least favorite trees


"One of the best landscape improvement treatments for Silver maple one can utilize includes a chainsaw!"

I love it! The strange thing about silver maple, blue spruce, and a few other commonly planted species is that I really enjoy seeing them in their native habitat. Some trees just don't belong in certain places, kind of like a fat lady in a swimsuit contest or boxed wine in a fine restaurant or an AMC Gremlin...anywhere in public view.

by ElijahW
Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:33 pm
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