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Likes Your Post Button


Likes Your Post

I added a nee MOD and gave everyone permission to use it. It is much like the "Like" button on Facebook, for those of you familiar with Facebook. There is a button on the upper right corner of the message that vaguely looks like a "Thumbs Up" icon. Just click on it. The "Likes your message" count appearing below the posters name and icon will go up by one, and your name will be added to a list of people who liked the post at the bottom of the message. The button doesn't really do anything more than that. It is just an acknowledgment that the post was read and found interesting. The button doesn't appear on announcements, but should be there for everyone in every post. After you click the thumbs up the icon changes to a thumbs down icon. Clicking again will take away your likes. This in effects allows you to acknowledge you read the post and like it even if you do not have any specific comment to add.

Links to Between the ENTS website and the ENTS BBS

I have been doing some other upgrades to the BBS over the past couple of days. First you may have noticed I placed links on every forum on the BBS to the equivalent index page on the ENTS and WNTS website, and I also placed links on every index page on the websites to the corresponding forum on the BBS so that navigation between the two will be as seamless as possible.

Daily Digest

I also want to encourage people to subscribe to the "Daily Digest" which sends a summary of all of the posts made each day out as a single email to subscribers. In this way you can be sure that you will not miss a post and have an opportunity to see what everyone is talking about even if you do not browse all of the forums. It is a great asset and I want people to use it. The options for the Digest are under the User Control Panel page that can be accessed by clicking on the User Control Panel link at the upper left side of the BBS . Then click on the Digest tab to set your options.

by edfrank
Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:20 pm
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Re: Life span of American Beech?


I really don't like the entire concept of the average life span of trees. The reasoning is a bit convoluted, but not really that complicated. Say you start out with a tree species sprouting from seeds. Initially there are thousands of them. Over the first ten years these thin out and the total numbers of tree seedlings decreases dramatically. As time passes the trees tend to continue to decrease in number at an ever decreasing rate. so at what ever age you pick there are trees that are still alive and will continue to grow older, and a much larger majority of trees that did not reach this age. There is no average age at which the trees reach and then start to die off. The trees are dying off from the time they sprout and continue to die off ever more slowly as time passes. They are not like people wit an average life span. If for example 90% of the seedlings die off in the first twenty years, does that mean the average life span of the trees is less than twenty years? I don't think so, but that is the kind of figure you would get if you look at the lifespan of trees in the same way as you do people. You similarly can't say that the average lifespan is some percentage of the maximum known age of the tree, because the last surviving tree may live twice as long, than the second oldest tree. The tail of the population age plot may trail off for a long and irregular length. So there really is no good way to define the average age of a tree species. We can guess an average age for say beech, but mostly that is a false impression based upon the logging history of the area. Because you don't see many beech older than 150 years is related to the fact that the forests were pretty much cut flat in the last 100 to 150 years, so you are seeing a false age distribution.

You could define average age by something like the age at which the percentage of trees older than X is some percentage of the number of trees alive at age Y where Y might be something like 100 years for most species. Again the numbers would need to be determined by aging large numbers of trees at a site that had not been logged to screen out false distributions.

For your tree guide I would suggest listing the maximum know age for trees that have had a reasonable amount of sampling. For American Beech the oldest cross-dates specimen is an 204 years old - this number is very misleading because the tree has only been lightly sampled. An older document by Hough et.. al, reported a ring count age of 366 from the Tionesta River area of Pennsylvania. Lee Frelich has suggested that the tree may reach 400 years in the Sylvania Wilderness of Michigan. Those number seem reasonable to me. There are two places you can look for maximum ages One is Neil Pedersons' Eastern Old List which has accurate ages, but with the caveat that many of the species listed have only a limited sampling and likely the max ages listed do not represent a realistic maximum age for the species, and the ENTS Old List which as a limited selection of maximum ages that have been reported. The ages here are older and I feel more realistic, but are not cross dated and could contain significant errors.

In any case I don't think the idea of average life span has any merit unless defined similarly to my suggestions above, and I would not include it in your tree pages.

by edfrank
Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:42 pm
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Entering GPS Coordinates in Google Earth.


Yesterday while visiting Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest I used my " new " GPS for the first time to record the location of some of the trees located there. Upon returning home I plugged the coordinates into Google Earth only to find out the program would not recognise or locate them. For example, my Garmin GPS gives the location of a pine there like this. N35 21.566' W083 55.920' Google will not take it typed as this and the computer does not have a degree symbol. Looking info up on how to resolve this on the web I came to this conclusion. Type it like this. 35 21.56N, 83 55.92W. Then it will work and locate the tree.

My goal for using the GPS is to enable others to locate significant trees in a trip report so others can go look at them for themselves, whether by a computer map program like Google Earth or by using a GPS unit. It sure beats trying to describe to them where the tree is. I am just learning this and hope others find it useful. But it only works if the computer or GPS unit recognises the coordinates. Should I put it in a post as it appears on my unit or should I re-type it so Google Earth will recognise it?

by James Parton
Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:18 am
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Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Watershed

There is a new tallest-known native hardwood in the United States, and it is on Deep Creek.

This weekend I visited the cove Ian Breckheimer reported on that has extremely tall tulip trees - one measuring 201 ft. by tape drag/tangent method. Like Ian, I was on a backpacking trip with my dad and his god-son and took some time off from fishing, bow drilling and eating good food to search for the trees Ian found. I took my Nikon 440 and Suunto clinometer up the Fork Ridge Trail and decended into the cove that had three LiDAR points over 180'.

The east facing cove that holds the trees reminds me a bit of a steep version of the cove where the Sag Branch Poplar resides. There is abundant seepage in the convex portion of the cove that comes to the surface just a few feet from a cluster of tall poplars. Three of these appeared to be over 170' in height and all three could be over 180'; the summer growth, my limited time and the interlacing and superimposed crowns of the trees made it difficult to determine which tree I was actually measuring. I think, like Ian, that the 18' cbh tree is likely the tallest and chose it's base as the target. My best efforts yielded a height of 187.5'! I wasn't sure if that kind of height was possible for a hardwood north of the 30th parallel, but now I know. If, by some chance, I measured the wrong top, the tree could be shorter by 1 foot if the tree measured was actually the up-slope member of the trio or over 190' if it is the down-slope member of the trio. All I can say is that I am confident that among this trio is the tallest known hardwood in the United States, unless a taller black cottonwood has been found that I do not know about. I'd say this spot moves up to top of the list for more measurements after leaf-drop. It and another cove on the Left Fork with 180'+ LiDAR points are tempting destinations for tree hunters searching for trophy trees.

by Josh Kelly
Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:02 pm
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Indian Ghost Pipe ( Monotropa Uniflora )


While hiking the Flat Laurel Creek Trail last Saturday I noticed numerous small pale upright flowers on the forest floor. I recognized them immediatly as Indian Ghost Pipe. They are known by a number of names including Indian Ghost Pipe, Indian Pipe, Ghost Flower, Corpse Plant, Ice Plant, etc. My sister Becky found them unusually beautiful too. One at first glance would confuse them for a fungus but the flower should tell you that is not so. The plants color is usually a ghostly white or pale pink, hence the name but it can be also a darker pink color or in rare cases red or a pale blue.

The plants lack of color is due to it's lack of the green pigment chlorophyll. Due to it's lack of chlorophyll the plant cannot photosynthesize or make it's own food. In fact the method it uses to obtain it's nourishment is quite fascinating. It parasitizes mycorrhizal fungi that in turn get their nourishment from nearby trees. The fungi have some benefit to the trees being able to utilize certain menerals and holding moisture, that is they are mutually symbiotic but the Pipe Plant is truly parasitic, obtaining nutrients directly from the fungi which obtains much of it's food from the trees. It is a fascinating process. I will attach some links to explain it in more detail.

In fact the fungus which the Pipe Plant is obtaining its food has toadstools scattered about in many places along the trail. It is a flat topped reddish fungus. The Pipe Plant itself is amazingly common here too.

James Cameron could have used this plant in his Avatar universe by scaling it up and giving it bioluminescent properties. It would have fit in well on Pandora!

Monotropa Hypopitys is a rarer closely related species. I have not seen this one.

by James Parton
Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:42 pm
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Re: Indian Ghost Pipe ( Monotropa Uniflora )


I found a site detailing closely how the Ghost Plant gets its food. Check it out!

by James Parton
Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:30 am
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Fundy National Park


Here are some photos from a hike through a coastal trail in Fundy National Park last fall. There are some nice closed canopy, almost pure stands of spruce in some places - very beautiful and serene.
by mikekowalski
Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:43 pm
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Rangefinder Tip O' the Day: Laser beam divergence effects

I've been digging around trying to find manufacturer specifications on laser rangefinder laser beam divergence. Most laser rangefinder beams are elliptical/rectangular. To the user, this means that orientation of the laser with respect to openings in the forest canopy through which one is shooting through becomes relevant for most rangefinders. From the documentation that I have been able to find, Swarovski and Laser Technology laser beam horizontal and vertical divergence is symmetrical, so orientation of the rangefinder is less important. Optilogic and Bushnell YardagePro rangefinders are vertically oriented while Leica, Zeiss, and Nikon rangefinders are horizontally oriented. If you are using an assymmetrical laser beam and you have trouble shooting through a small opening in dense foliage, try rotating the rangefinder 90 degrees and trying again. Try aligning your rangefinder parallel to the shape of an elongated opening and then 90 degrees to it to see which works better, if at all. It might not make a difference in most cases of irregularly small openings, but in cases of long narrow openings it might save you from running around looking for a bigger opening. When practical for shooting through brush at the base of the trunk, all laser rangefinders are aided by the addition of reflective target surfaces (white paper or prismatic reflectors, not flat mirrors).

In addition to laser beam shape, the laser beam size also varied greatly. I'm listing those that I found here in order of smallest to largest in units of millirad. At 100 yards, 1 millirad is equal to 3.6 inches. I assume symmetric beams are circular and elongated beams are rectangular. The listing of beam divergence is in the format of horizontal x vertical = beam area follows:

Zeiss, 1.6x0.5=0.8
Leica LRF and CRF series, 2.5x0.5=1.25
Optilogic LH series, 1.1x2.8=3.1 (based upon beam footprint given at 100yds, not on divergence stated.)
Swarovski, 2x2=3.14
Nikon 550's and Laser 800S, divergence unknown, beam is about 4.5-5x wider than it is tall, this is the only 870nm laser in the group.
Laser Tech Impulse, 3x3=7.1
Bushnell YardagePro, 2x4=8

It's worth noting that most lasers are comparable 904-905 nm infrared lasers. Wavelength in our application should have negligible effect. Nikon lists beam divergence of the laser diode that is used, but not the final value including it's optics. The value listed by Nikon is clearly larger than what has been observed in the field, so it is not included numerically here. From online comparisons with other rangefinders, it appears that Nikon's beam divergence is definitely larger than Zeiss, Leica, or Swarovski. Perceptions to the contrary are likely due to specific conditions in combination with signal processing or algorithms within the rangefinder and not due to the actual laser beam divergence. I could not find detailed information for Leupold or others but note that Leupold now has the smallest rangefinder on the market. Good shootin'!
by pauljost
Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:48 pm
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Clearfield County, PA Bicentennial Timber Log Raft


In 2004 to help celebrate the bicentennial of Clearfield County, PA a full sized timber log raft was built with the goal of floating it from Curwensville, PA down the West Branch of the Susquehanna to Karthus. The project was organized by Richard Hughes of Clearfield. Myself and Dale Luthringer were among the 110 people or so that participated in the construction of the raft.


In the 1800's thousands of rafts were floated down the river to mills farther downstream for processing. In one year perhaps as many as 2,500 rafts would leave Clearfield County to the mills downstream. At the time of the construction I shot a series of video clips and still photo of the construction process, but never did much with the results aside from posting frame grabs from the videos and stills to one of my websites: Inspired by a teachers workshop on the history of the Clarion River given by Dale Luthringer last week, I decided to try to pull the material together into a series of videos. I completed that project this past weekend and posted the clips to Youtube. Three of them are essentially interviews with key players in the construction of the raft, three deal with the details of construction, and the final video with the trip down the river. An eighth video was also posted which includes interview material from the pilot of a raft that floated part of the Susquehanna River in 1976.

(Part 1 of 7) In March 2004 a full scale timber log raft was built in Curwensville, PA to commemorate the bicentennial of the founding of Clearfield County. It was modeled after the thousands of similar rafts that were floated down the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the nineteenth century to deliver timber to the mills farther downriver. This is an interview with Richard Hughes who organized the effort.

(Part 2 of 7) An interview with O. Lynn Frank on the history of the log rafting on the Susquehanna River during the 1800's and early 1900's. Mr. Frank was serving as a consultant on this project and also was the pilot of a similar raft that traveled from Millers Landing to Lock Haven on the Susquehanna River in 1976.

(Part 3 of 7) Video about the logs, their preparation, and assembly of the logs to form the timber raft.

(Part 4 of 7) Interview with Gary Gilmore, a historical woodcraft expert who oversaw and served as a jack-of-all-trades during the construction of the timber log raft.

(Part 5 of 7) Video detailing the process of creating the sash poles, bows, and pegs used to tie the logs together to form the raft.

(Part 6 of 7) Video detailing the construction of the sweeps or oars used to steer the raft as it traveled downstream and of the cabin which sat atop the raft.

(part 7 of 7) Video of the voyage down the West Branch of the Susquehanna River from Curwensville to Clearfield, PA. It includes video of the attempts to free the raft from a highway bridge struck during the voyage and the triumphant final leg of the journey sailing into Clearfield.

O. Lynn Frank - Timber Raft Pilot
Interview with Lynn Frank about the 1976 log raft he piloted from Millers Landing to Lock Haven, PA along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

by edfrank
Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:16 am
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Hewitt Island, Perryopolis, PA

Hewitt Island, Perryopolis, PA


On Saturday August 28, 2010 I drove to southwestern Pennsylvania to meet with Steve Halow to explore a couple of tree sites in the Fayette County. Steve was somewhat of an enigma. He joined the ENTS discussion list on June 28, 2008. He responded to a couple of posts during the next year and a half, and then, without meeting any other ENTS or attending any events, he purchased a NIKON Forestry 550, and began measuring trees. The first site report was posted on March 6, 2010 - Mingo Creek County Park, PA This was soon followed a week later on March 13, 2010 - Friendship Hill National Historic Site The latter was a site I had long been planning on visiting “soon.” We corresponded by email l and set up the late August trip. The first potential site we discussed was in northernmost Washington County – one called Wrights Woods. Unfortunately when Steve went to check on access, he found the site had been recently logged: This day we decided to visit Hewitt Island, a large island in the Youghiogheny River near Perryopolis. Steve scouted out the Perryopolis location from shore, to make sure it was still intact last week. We then planned to go down to Friendship Hill National Historic Site near Point Marion, almost on the Maryland/Pennsylvania border later that afternoon.

Second Island West Side Aa.JPG
View of Hewitt Island from the west bank of the river – photo by Steve Hewitt


The Hewitt Island site was one I found listed in the Fayette County Natural History Inventory (2000) prepared by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
“The Youghiogheny River is noted in this inventory for the riverine habitats that present along its length. In the Pittsburgh Plateau section of the county, the river islands represent some of the most significant habitats in the river. The islands near Perryopolis are just downstream of the Village of Layton and within eyesight of the Layton to Perryopolis bridge. There are about five islands in this complex; two of them are worthy of note. These islands have been noted as the best examples of bottomland forest along the Youghiogheny River (Palmer 1984). In 1996, a spring flood thoroughly washed the uppermost island and part of the lower island (Hewitt Island) and the large mounds of debris deposited are still visible on both islands.”
The Youghiogheny River is a tributary of the Monongahela River, approximately 122 mi long. The river begins in West Virginia, flows through western Maryland, and into Pennsylvania near Ohiopyle. The Youghiogheny River flows generally northward and joins the Monongahela River just south of Pittsburgh. It drains an area of about 850 square miles and lies on the west side of the Allegheny Mountains.

View of Hewitt Island. The river is flowing toward the upper left.

The upstream end of the island is much younger than the downstream portion. The NHI report states "The upstream island is the second largest island and has apparently formed since the 1880 mapping of the river." The report considers them two to be separate islands, however the channel separating the halves is dry during periods of lower flow and they are geologically the same island in terms of river flow dynamics. The NHI report describes the communities present as:

“Communities present include a riverside ice scour community, a water willow-smartweed riverbed community, and on the interior of the uppermost island, a sycamore- (river birch)-box elder floodplain forest). Hewitt Island has a higher elevation section near the center that is not flooded and supports a red oak-mixed hardwoods forest. In total there are four natural community types present on the islands. The upstream island is the second largest island and has apparently formed since the 1880 mapping of the river. It is bisected at its upper end by a powerline right-of-way, which is providing a point of entry and establishment area for invasive exotic species. The forested parts of the island are dominated by sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), silver maple (Acer saccharinum), and box elder (Acer negundo). The edges of the island are cobbly and support a habitat dominated by American waterwillow (Justicia americana)… [ ]
The largest island, Hewitt Island, is adjacent to and downstream of the island described above. This island appears on the 1880 map. The interior of this island has a rise in elevation and has more varied habitats. On the lower elevation portions of the island, exists a Sycamore- (river birch)-box elder floodplain forest... The higher elevation area supports a community that dominated by oaks including white oak (Quercus alba) and red oak (Quercus rubra). The trees are mature with many being about 30 to 91 cm dbh (diameter at breast height). In the middle of the island is a depression possibly caused by excavation for gravel. The depression is covered by a thick cover of summer grape (Vitis aestivalis). [ ]"

I could not find a copy on-line of the 1880 river map, but did locate one from the Fayette County 1872 Atlas: Perry Township, Perryopolis, Youghiougheny River, Virgin Run, Layton Station which appear to show three smaller islands in the place of the upstream portion of the current island pair.


The existence of intermittent channels cutting across islands like this fairly common and simply reflects the dynamic nature of these types of river/island systems. In the islands we have been visiting in the upper Allegheny River most of the large islands are subdivided by these channels or have dry channels running through the islands. During periods of high water and flooding materials from the river bottom are scoured and moved downstream. When the water recedes these materials are redeposited, often materials from farther upstream is redeposited in pretty much the same location as other material was removed because the conditions which led to the initial deposition have reasserted themselves with the receding river level. Islands do tend to migrate slowly upstream over time through this process. It is quite possible that the entire upstream island that was missing from the 1880 map of the river was deposited in a single flood event. This idea is further supported by the relatively uniform appearing age of the oldest trees in the population of the upstream “island.” There was a major flood in this and adjacent river basins in March 14, 1907. There was another major flood in 1936 on the river. A 1907 newspaper account reads:
Pittsburg, Pa., Mar. 14, 1907— The greatest flood in the history of Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio is being experienced to-night. Thirty-one lives have been lost in the various swollen streams and flooded district, and property damage incalculable has been sustained.
The upper end of the combined island very likely could date from one of these two events. Tree coring could be done to get a better idea of the age of the oldest trees.

History of the Location

For those of you interested, the local area is rich in history. “As early as 1769-1770 George Washington owned over 1600 acres of land upon which the town of Perryopolis lies. Colonel Crawford's part in the purchase of these lands is recorded in Washington's diary dated October 15, 1770. The diary also tells of Washington's trip to this vicinity at a later date. In 1774, the construction of Washington's Mill was begun under the direction of Gilbert Simpson, but due to trouble with the Indians and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the Mill was not completed until the fall of 1776. It was not until the fall of 1779, that Washington leased the Mill along with 150 acres of land to Colonel Israel Shreve, a hero of the Revolutionary War, for a term of five years. Washington died in 1799, never having conveyed the tracts under the Articles of Agreement to Colonel Shreve, who also died the same year. In 1803 the five tracts of property were conveyed to the heirs of Israel Shreve. The greater part of this historic property passed from the heirs of Israel Shreve to Issac Meason and then to John Rice. The Mill itself passed to Powell Hough, to John Strickler and Jacob Strawn. Strawn's heirs sold it to George Anderson, who repaired it in 1859, and later sold it to Samuel Smith. The Mill today belongs to Perryopolis Parks and Recreation Authority.”

Washington Grist Mill

George Washington's Land Purchases;cc=pitttext;rgn=full%20text;idno=00aft2784m;didno=00aft2784m;view=image;seq=0943;node=00aft2784m%3A44

Washington Grist Mill Park Washington Grist Mill Park showcases industry of earlier times in America. The centerpiece of this seven acre park is the newly reconstructed Washington Grist Mill. George Washington owned considerable land in this area. He commissioned the construction of the grist mill, which was built by Colonel Crawford. Construction began in 1774, but was delayed until 1776 because of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The foundation was restored using the original stone. Other attractions in the park include: 1)The Distillery - Built in early 1790's, rebuilt with original stones. Operational; 2)The Bake Shop - Built circa 1856 Beehive type oven, operational; 3) Searight Fulling Mill - Built circa 1814 by William Searight. Machinery on site, only free standing fulling mill in USA.

The name Hewitt Island might be from that of Jonathan Hewitt an early settler in the area or for his son Abel Hewitt who had a fulling mill and a saw mill at the mouth of Washington Run just upstream of the island.;cc=pitttext;q1=hewitt;rgn=full%20text;idno=00aft2784m;didno=00aft2784m;view=image;seq=0949


To get to the meeting site I took Layton Road east from Perryopolis and crossed the river on the historic one-lane Layton Bridge. The Layton Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Layton Bridge is a Pratt truss bridge over the Youghiogheny River, originally built for the Washington Run Railroad, construction began 1893 and it was completed in 1899. The last train crossed in 1931. It was converted to automotive use in 1933, and connects Layton, Pennsylvania with Perryopolis, Pennsylvania via a one-lane tunnel, near the suspected location of the eighteenth century Spark's Fort. Also see: Layton Bridge

Trip Report

I met with Steve on the east side of the Youghiogheny River. We parked by the railroad tracks and walked upstream to where we could wade across the river to the island. From the east side access to the islands was through shallow water never more than knee deep.
On the opposite west side of the river the Youghiogheny River Trail, a non-motorized multi-use rail trail that stretches 71 miles (114 km) between McKeesport, PA and Confluence, PA. The river is deeper along the west side and would be much more difficult to wade, however access on the east can easily be had by walking up the railroad tracks.

Best Access East Side1.JPG

We walked to a point just upstream of the upper end of the island. This was the location Steve had scouted previously as a good point to wade across.

The water was shallow and with not much current. The upper “island” as noted above is much younger the older portion of Hewitt Island. There was a pile of debris along the upstream end and much of the understory was choked with Japanese knotweed and multiflora rose. The trees were generally pretty small and none of them showed any signs of age. The tree species present were dominated by sycamore with some silver maple. I found a few descent sized Box Elder, but none really worth measuring, spicebush, and a few other species. I would not call it a sycamore- silver maple forest as the vast majority of the trees present were sycamores, with the other species much fewer in number. We made short forays into the island here and there to explore before retreating to the river for easier walking.

We soon reached the lower “island” or Hewitt Island as it appeared on the older maps. This island was dramatically different in nature. The trees were much older and larger in size. The interior of the island was well above normal flood stage, perhaps up to 25 feet in elevation above e the river, and supported a variety of trees typical of a woodland habitat in its interior and more riverine species around the perimeter of the island.
A short distance after we started exploring the lower island, we came upon a clearing, obviously being used for as a camp site. The first tree we measured was a nice, but not spectacular black gum tree. I wanted to measure this one simply to have the species in the book. On too many trips a species is found early on and not measured in anticipation of finding another larger specimen later. Then when a larger specimen is not located the species ends up not being measured at all. In this case the black gum was 87 feet tall, and turned out to be the tallest we found on the island. Also in the same clearing we measured a decent beech tree, tuliptree, and red maple.

This black gum tree, 87 feet tall, was the first tree we measured on Hewitt Island.

General scene from the first clearing we visited. The beech pictured was 63 feet tall.

From this point on we searched back and forth across the relatively narrow island moving generally downstream. There was a fair amount of underbrush intermixed with open forest floor and patches of clearings. There were many larger oak trees – including red oak, black oak, scarlet oak, and white oak and large tuliptrees. Many of these are in the 8 to ten foot girth range with nice straight boles. The central portion of the island was a typical woodland habitat. Other species were present in lesser numbers on the upper elevation portion of the island. Along the lower terrace near river level the trees were primarily sycamore. Altogether we measured 25 different species of tree. Other species present, but not measured included Spice Bush, Alianthus, and Slippery Elm.

The measurement was difficult because of the at times tightly packed trees and leaves on the canopies. Many of the measurements were made at steep angles or from directly underneath the trees in question. Therefore many of the trees measured are likely taller than the height values we were able to measure. Particular care was taken in measuring the heights of some of the more exceptional trees on the site. I measured a skinny sassafras at 102.5 feet tall and with a girth of just 4.5 feet. It was the tallest of a patch of nice sassafras and the only one of the group that had not been topped by storm damage. There was a nice 7.9 foot girth specimen whose trunk was broken off at about 60 feet while still quite fat. A puff of ranches near the top of the tree reached a height of 74 feet.

Around the edges of a clearing we measured a black cherry 116 feet tall, with a girth of 6.7 feet. On the far side of the clearing Steve measured a tuliptree to 134.5 feet and another to 146.5 feet – the tallest tree we measured on the island. A black oak nearby was measured to be 116 feet tall.

A 125 foot tall scarlet oak on Hewlett Island – the tallest scarlet oak in northeastern United States.

The prize of the day was a Scarlet oak, Quercus coccinea. It was near an obvious trail running the length of the island. Steve measured it to be 125 feet tall using his Nikon Forestry 550, and I measured a similar amount using my Nikon 440, and clinometer. It likely is a bit taller than what we were able to measure. The height value shows this is a new tallest scarlet oak in northeastern United States, besting the 121.5 foot specimen at Cook Forest, PA.


After measuring the scarlet oak, we continued exploring the island and measured additional trees. We measured a fat tuliptree, 135 foot tall, with a 12 foot in girth. Nearby we measured another black oak 96 feet tall, ad 12.1 feet in girth, and a 111 foot tall black cherry.

Ed Frank with the 135 foot tall, 12 foot girth tuliptree.

Second view of the tuliptree

We reached the downstream, northern end of the island and slowly worked out way back. There were not any really big sycamores in terms of girth. The tallest we found was a 126.5 foot tall tree, just 8.1 feet in girth. We added several more species and some additional respectable sized tuliptrees as we worked our way back to the dry channel between the halves of the island.

Unusual bark on a red maple tree .


The Rucker Height Index 10 for the island was a respectable 118.4 feet, the RI20 was 99.25, and the RI5 was 126.2 feet. I am sure if the island was revisited in the late fall or winter without the leaf cover, the RI10 could be pushed to over 120 feet.


Given that there were 25 species and a couple of trees over twelve feet in girth I also calculated Rucker Girth Indexes for the site. RGI5 = 10.84, RGI 10 = 9.675, and RGI20 = 7.40 We have so few sites where girth indexes have been calculated that we cannot make a good comparison between this and other sites.

At the end of the visit, we crossed the Youghiogheny River right at the channel separating the two halves of the island and walked back to our vehicles down the railroad tracks.

General Impressions
There were many larger trees on the island, but none of them looked particularly old. The bark on these trees exhibited none of the shaggyness or balding found on old trees. The tree tops were not twisted and gnarled as you see in old growth trees that have been exposed to weather for hundreds of years. They did not have any of the characteristics of really old trees. I would estimate the island had been logged perhaps in the mid to late 1800’s. That being said there is little true old growth in this region and this example of a mature forest may be one of the better examples to be found. The NHI suggested that the island might be going to be made into a park for the town of Perryopolis. I don’t know if that is true or still planned. The island is being impacted by invasive species. ATVs have trails across parts of the island. It apparently can be reached by ATV from the eastern river bank. There are areas where people have been camping for years and trash is present. Still it is a nice section of woods.

There were differences between these islands and the ones I have been exploring in the Allegheny River. The Allegheny River Islands had many more silver maples and silver maples of much larger size. Other species common on the Allegheny islands that were absent on Hewitt Island included hawthorns, black locust, and basswood . I found only a single specimen of white ash o Hewitt Island, likely here are a few more that we did not note, but this is a fairly common species in the Allegheny River Islands. On the higher and dryer Hemlock Island on the Allegheny River we also found eastern hemlock and white pines, both species missing from Hewitt Island, perhaps due to its more southerly location. Of the species found on Hewitt Island, I believe all of them were also found on the Allegheny River islands. The oaks and tuliptrees were much more prominent on Hewitt Island, but were present in lesser number on the Allegheny River Islands.

I would strongly recommend a return visit to this island after leaf off as I a sure some better heights could be found for many of the trees we have measured. I would guess there is easily a potential t push the RI upward of 125 for the site. I want to thank Steve for scouting the access to this island and participating on this trip. Most of the height measurements were his as I concentrated on measuring girths and getting GPS readings, and checking heights from underneath to say yeah or nay on the values he was obtaining. We obtained GPS coordinates on about 2/3 of the trees we measured and all of the larger ones. If people are going to visit the site I have a KMZ file with the locations plotted on it that will open in Google Earth. There are many more sites in this region that still need to be visited. The second part of the day Steve and I visited areas of Friendship Hill National Historic Site. I will post about that in a separate report.
by edfrank
Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:06 pm
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Tall trees in Sächsische Schweiz National Park, Germany


The tallest tree of the state of Saxony in eastern Germany is a Norway spruce ( Picea abies ) located in the valley of Kirnizsch creek in Sächsische Schweiz National Park. There is a news from 2003 telling the tree is 60 meters (197 ft) tall and 400 years old:

I was interested to know how much the reported height is exaggerated and planned a hike to the tree. I had been in that national park before but not in that valley, which is located along the border between Germany and Czech Republik. The forests in the buffer zones of the park are managed for wood production still today, and only the core zones close to the border are really protected. The forests in the core zone have also been used for hundreds of years, but the difficult terrain has partly protected them, and consequently the gorge has a quite natural look and some older trees are present. Perhaps there were also a protective border zone between Czechoslovakia and DDR in the past - I am not sure because I lived in Finland at that time. Now one can simply walk over the border; only a sign telling that you are now in the Czech Republik. Or if you ford the creek, there are no signs.

Kirnizsch has carved a gorge with very steep slopes into soft sandstone forming a perfect site for tall spruces at the valley bottom, which is at an elevation of only 200-250 meters (650-800 ft), but the cool local climate of the valley allows spruce to compete successfully with broadleaf trees.


After descending to the valley, I immediately saw a thin but tall looking spruce right at the creek. I took my laser rangefinder. It was an easy measurement: I was vertically positioned at the halfway up the trunk and clearly saw the base and the top. First I did not believe the display of the device. I repeated the measurement three times and got constantly the same result: this tree, perhaps not much more than 100 years old, was 54 meters (177 ft) tall! Next to it, a 52 m (171 ft) spruce was growing.


There were a lot of tall spruces, but the trail first run about 30 meters over the creek level, and due to extremely steep slopes I mostly could not see the bases and could also not descend to the creek level. Later, the trail reach the creek. On the slopes, Norway spruce is dominant. Scots pine ( Pinus sylvestris ) is also plentiful, particularly on almost vertical cliffs. Silver birch ( Betula pendula ) and low rowan ( Sorbus aucuparia ) trees are also present as is a small amount of beech ( Fagus sylvatica ). I also saw a few silver fir ( Abies alba ) saplings and a few small red oak ( Quercus rubra , naturalized). Probably fir has been an important component in the past but it has become rare in many parts of central Europe due to acid rain, oversized deer population and other reasons.


At the valley bottom, the main tree species are Norway spruce, beech, sycamore maple ( Acer pseudoplatanus ), hornbeam ( Carpinus betulus ) and black alder ( Alnus glutinosa ).

The big tree was easy to find. It is growing right next to the trail few meters from the creek.


This time, measuring was not so easy because from the trail I did not see either the top or the base. I chose to climb a big stone at the creek.


It was uncomfortable to stand on the stone, but there I clearly saw the top and the base. I adjusted my tripod (for my camera and for supporting the rangefinder) and photographed and measured it. The tree turned out to be 59.2 meters (194 ft) tall, very close to the announced 60 meters. A thin spruce 50 m (164 ft) tall was growing next to the big spruce; it can be seen on the right in following photo. (Note that I have stitched the image from three photos. The uppermost photo has been shot to a steep angle - thus, the perspective is misleading and the steep slope behind the tree cannot be seen.)


A few hundred meters from the big spruce, I measured a beech 44.2 meters (145 ft) tall with CBH only 227 cm. Thus, this tree was over a meter taller than the tallest beeches Jeroen and I measured in the Heilige Hallen. I found plenty of beeches about 40 m tall.


The tallest Scots pine I found was 40.2 m (132 ft).

I made the mentioned height measurements with Nikon Laser 550A S.

This shows that extremely tall Norway spruces around 60 meters are not confined only to the Balkan Peninsula. Perhaps they would be not rare in Central European mountains if there would be no human beings.

But were the tall Norway spruces, I saw in Montenegro two years ago, taller than this? I saw the tallest-looking tree in Durmitor National Park so as the 54 meter spruce in Sächsiche Schweiz: positioned vertically halfway up the trunk; and I am sure that the Durmitor spruce was remarkably taller. I think there are good chances that it is over 60 m tall. Due to "family reasons", I cannot go to measure it this year. I will try next summer. I told about Montenegro here:

I have also measured Norway spruces in managed forests. In depressions and creek valleys, spruces 15-17'' DBH and 140-150 ft tall are not rare.

Still one photo can be found here:

A new measurement gave 59.3 m for the tallest Norway spruce of the park:

by KoutaR
Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:12 pm
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Winterthur Gardens ENTS foray 9-10-2010

Winterthur Gardens measuring trip 9/10/2010

On September 10th I met up with Scott Wade and George Fieo at Winterthur Gardens in Delaware for the first ENTS foray at the site. Scott had previous work experience at the site but since it was pre-ENTS no measurements were taken.

Winterthur has been on my tree hunting radar for nearly 15 years. Back in the late nineties I was in email communication with someone there concerning a tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) measured to be 187’ tall. This tree was claimed among other things as the tallest tree in the east, etc… Of course, I was into the SINE method of height measuring and since the tree was measured via tape drag and clinometer I was not convinced it was that tall. The late Colby Rucker comments on this tree in his “Great Eastern Trees Past and Present” compilation. This tree was the primary focus of the trip and the first tree we visited.

A had begun my journey to Winterthur from NC at 2:30 in the morning, and arrived (quite groggy) on site by 11:30 am via a flight to Philadelphia. Scott and George arrived shortly thereafter and we inquired about tree locations. The attendant staff was excited and very helpful and hooked us up with the staff arborist who knew of the tall tree’s location. We also learned of the “William Penn Tree” a tree thought to date into the late 1600’s. This was also a tuliptree which will be discussed later.

We walked the trail from the visitor’s center to the grounds of the main mansion. The trail passed through a very impressive tuliptree and black oak (Quercus velutina) grove that we would later return to measure. The vast mansion lawn was dotted with venerable specimens of enormous tuliptree and other species both native and exotic. The “big tree” was obvious. We met up with the arborist who quickly proclaimed it to be the tallest tree on the property. Scott was aware of a climber who crudely tape dropped the tree several years ago and found it to be ~150’ tall. Straight-up laser shots did not reveal a height close to 187’.



While Scott and the arborist talked I scanned the crown and found a solid laser hit to the highest twig. Under perfect conditions the 76.6” dbh (20’1”) tree was measured to 150.7 feet. Keep in mind this was after many, many years of growth from the initial 187’ measurement. This tree illustrates that the tangent method in unqualified hands just does not work. No significant crown damage was observed. Certainly, 150 feet is impressive for an open-grown tree and made us wonder what may lie out there in the acres and acres of old woodlands…

Meanwhile George was scouting other giants and a nearby tuliptree measured 74.1” dbh (19’5” cbh) and 141.6’ tall. I noted a nice American holly (Ilex opaca) and measured it for James Parton; 24” dbh X 67.6’ tall. Gorgeous, stately tree! We passed by many large specimens both native and exotic to proceed to other areas to make best use of our short time.

We proceeded to the Pinetum area to measure the state champion Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). It also was easy to find and was an impressive 63.4” dbh (16’7” cbh) X 105.9’. I noted some fine tiger-tail spruce (Picea torano); the largest was 32.6” dbh X 83.2’ tall. This species is the alternate host for hemlock woolly adelgid in Japan. The pinetum had old specimens of Sawara false-cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera), some of which formed little forests around them from layered branches.


We wanted to focus the bulk of our time in the woodlands. One main goal was “Chandlers Woods”, a preserved forested site since the late 1800’s. On the way to one of the adjacent woodland areas we stopped to admire the huge sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) at “Sycamore Hill”. This large tree is just getting started as a giant and with ample room to grow will likely get very, very large. It is already over 19’ cbh and about 130’ wide.


The first forested tract we surveyed was on the south bank of the small creek running through the property. We immediately took note of very mature woods and large trees. Tuliptree dominated most of the areas at the site but impressive northern red oak (Quercus rubra v. rubra), white oak (Quercus alba), and pignut hickory (Carya glabra) were mixed it. American beech (Fagus sylvatica) was also locally abundant and as you will see later reached impressive heights.

Scott and I had a copy of the Champion Trees of Delaware and routinely consulted the list as we found impressive specimens. Winterthur has a large number of state records and we tried to find them or larger ones. We found it was easier finding larger ones. The first new champ I found was a black birch (Betula lenta) the previous champ was a mere 115 points and one literally hanging over the entrance road was 86.4” cbh X 90’ tall X 44’ spread for 187 points. We scouted the rest of this small tract and found the larger tuliptrees were routinely ~140’. We speculated that a rich, sheltered site would produce some tall trees!

We crossed a field and entered another tract by a barn. I spotted a tall hickory crown from the field and easily found the tree. It was a real pain to measure but was not less than 8’2.5” cbh X 130’ tall. This tree set the benchmark for the species which as it turned out was not the tallest or largest we would find. Scott surveyed along a creek while George and I stayed up on the slope. I measured a huge American beech to 38.5” dbh (10’1” cbh) X 130.7’ tall. Scott exclaimed he had found a tall pignut so we joined him below. With a base sighting through the brush we measured the 8’ cbh tree to 144’! This tree was also a (temporary) new state record for the species with ~250 points (current champ 244 points).


The tall hickory was just the start of the “grove of glory”. A steep ravine on both sides of the small creek harbored the mother lode of towering tuliptree and beech. Straight-up laser shots indicated trees over 150’ grew in this small grove. We excitedly began searching out the tallest trees. The full set of leaves did not help matters but we were able to find solid shots from high up the slope. A skinny beech 27.1” dbh caught my eye and upon finding a window to the top found it to be 138.2 feet tall! This is the tallest beech I have ever measured and among the tallest known to ENTS. Scott and George measured a 157.2’ tuliptree which set a temporary height record for the day.

I proceeded up stream and just before the grove ended in a field I spotted a huge tuliptree. This wishbone-shaped tree soared above the surrounding beeches and lasered out to 162.3’! Not only was it tall but a whopping 67.6” dbh (17’8” cbh). Long spread was 110’- not bad for forest grown! This same grove also had impressive white oak, the largest and tallest being 12’3” cbh X 132.1’ tall. George measured a 122.7‘ sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). Several other beeches exceeded 120’ overtopped by numerous tall tuliptrees.


We lamented the fact that the rest of the ravine was cleared for a field as the topography would have supported some massive trees. We continued up a road into a small forested area that had a large pignut hickory 38.4” (10’1” cbh) X 135’ X 65’. This 272 pointer tree crushes the current state champion by 28 points! This area was one of the few that supported a relatively intact herb layer and a thick layer of duff. Most the Winterthur forests were earthworm-induced wastelands full of bare soil and exotic plants.


We took a break for a quick lunch before exploring Chandlers Woods and looking for the William Penn Tree. An old road bed traversed the site which was rolling hills and small ravines dominated by tuliptree and red oak. This area maintained the tall tulip super-canopy but mixed in were thrifty red oak on the upland areas and a more diverse mix in the lower coves.

Not long after starting up the trail we encountered the massive “William Penn” tuliptree. This beast was by far the largest tree seen (by volume) and had classic old-growth characteristics. It reminded me of the giants back home in NC- and it would be a tree of note even in the Smokies. The untapered stem was 17’5” cbh and rose to a craggy top 156.3’ high. I estimate with limb/branch volume this tree would easily reach 2,000 cubic feet. It may indeed date back far enough to have been alive during the life of William Penn (1644-1718). It is possible this tree was the tree listed as 187’- the girth matches up with the current DE listing.

The Beast.jpg

Up the trail the red oaks were very impressive and held their own with the dominant tuliptrees. Many exceed 120’ tall and we located a number over 130’. We all set our eyes on three separate trees in the same grove and all were close to 140’. Scott nailed the first 140 footer with a tree 7’8.5” cbh X 140.4’. My 28.6” dbh tree reached 140.7’. Unfortunately Scott had to leave at this point but George and I continued down slope into a small cove. Here, red oak was the most impressive species and many towered to over 125’.

We meandered across the gentle slopes and began a hunt for species to fill out the Rucker Index. The site was so dominated by tuliptree and also not very diverse so finding tall representatives proved difficult. However we did pick up a few new species but did not find any taller specimens of species already measured. George found a nice black walnut 18.8” X 103.7’ and white ash 18.5” X 118.2’ while I picked up a scarlet oak 37.3” X 122.6’ and blackgum 32.2” X 121.6’. It turns out the Rucker is composed of an unusual species mix but understates the impressiveness of the average canopy.

We did come across a tree neither of us recognized. It was not a native species and was spreading around like an invasive. I did some internet searching and have settled on Korean Evodia (Evodia daniellii). It is a nice looking tree but may be a nasty invasive as well.


George and I made a point to traverse every forest we could get to. All were unique in some way or another and reflected past disturbance or management. The last area to see was the famous Azalea Gardens near the Visitor Center. This highly manicured woodland was again dominated by towering tuliptree and nice red and black oaks. Black oaks neared 130’ and tuliptree held a continuous 140’+ canopy. A mulched trail wound its way through the knoll and allowed easy access to see the whole stand. It was weird for me to see huge, forest grown trees pruned of all deadwood and the artificial look added a surreal feeling to the garden. What a job that would be though, to prune 140-150’ tuliptrees!

The last tree I measured was the first I spotted in the morning. It was an impressive black oak that looked to be 130-ish. I measured it from a bridge and yep, 130.6’. It was a remnant fork of a double tree over 4.5 feet in diameter.

So, finally the site has been given an ENTS overview. A winter trip would probably yield taller trees and heights of individuals measured in this first round (I gathered GPS coordinates for virtually all trees measured). There is still one tract as yet unexplored, and MANY (exotic) state champs to be measured and submitted. More to see!!!

Rucker 10 index
Tuliptree 162.3
Pignut 144.0
N. red oak 140.7
A. beech 138.2
White oak 132.1
Black oak 130.6
Sweetgum 122.7
Scarlet oak122.6
Blackgum 121.6
White ash 118.2
Rucker 10 133.3

Will Blozan
George Fieo
Scott Wade IMG_5047.jpg
by Will Blozan
Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:25 am
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Morristown National Historical Park


Over the weekend, Monica and I drove to New Jersey for Monica's 50th high school reunion. The reunion was held at a hotel on the Atlantic Ocean. I got a chance to see the Jersey Shore and recreational haunts of Monica's childhood. The ocean was delightful. I could understand the appeal of New Jersey's beeches. On our return trip, we drove by the Morristown National Historical Park. Its fame derives from George Washington and the Continental Army wintering in that area. However, as important as the park is from a historical perspective, it was the second growth tuliptrees that really caught my attention. They are quite stately and from what I saw passing by, held significant promise as a tall forest. So, we stayed over night and visited the Park on Monday. I'll cut to the chase. I measured about 45 trees and recorded 30 of them. The park website stated that some of the tulips were probably above 120 feet. That is true, but an understatement. Fourteen of the tulips I measured exceeded 130 feet, and I was picking out one's I could easily measure. Of those 30, 6 topped 140 feet, and of the 6, one topped 150. Yep, we have now recorded a 150-footer in New Jersey. Not really a surprise. Once there would have been many. So what does the height champion tuliptree look like?


Here is a closer look.


The champion is at least 150.2 feet tall and 13.5 feet in girth. I doubt that I got the top, but am close enough to feel confident that we have a solid 150-footer.

The Park covers about 2,000 acres and is virtually strangled in places with Japanese Barberry. I've never seen so much. The Park Service is doing its best to control the damned pest, but the staff is so limited that the task is almost overwhelming.

Monica and I walked through a glade-like area of big tuliptrees. Below is an image of a 15.5-foot girth beauty. It is a modest 129.5 feet tall. A second handsome specimen nearby weighed in at 14.9 feet around and 126.0 feet tall. Girths of 11 to 13 feet feet represent the maximums, with an occasional exception, one or two feet larger. Most of the tulips are considerably smaller. Here's a look at the champ with Monica in for scale.


Here is a better look at the glade environment containing the 15.5-footer. It is very aesthetic. With the brilliant yellow of the tuliptree foliage, the scene was one of the most memorable for me of a mid-Atlantic forest.


We were elated that the colors were so vivid and the tulips were showing off their regal best. I couldn't do the scenes justice, but here is a foliage scene looking aloft.

I didn't have time to do even a quarter of what I wanted to do. We had to get home, but during the brief stay, I did confirm an American Beech to 117.5 feet. Its slender 7.0-foot trunk belies the visual impression it makes. Hopefully, the next scene conveys the impact. There are a lot of handsome, healthy beeches in the Park's forest. Many exceed 100 feet and somewhere there is a 120-footer.


From what I saw, I think Morristown National Historical Park's Rucker Height Index will go about 116 or 117. I seriously doubt more. I did measured a white oak to 111 feet, and that was the best I could do for the whites, reds, and blacks. The Chestnut Oaks were highly visible , but I doubt I could hit a 100 feet. The largest red I measured was 11.4 feet in girth and 110 feet in height.

All told, Monica and I catalogued 23 species of trees and 5 shrubs. I suspect that the total number of tree species within the Park is at least 30 and probably a few more, but we must remember that this is an environment of recovering fields. I think Most of the forest is a little under 100 years old, but there are a few chunks between 100 and 150, and at least two areas between 150 and 200. The Park cites tuliptrees to 220. I presume this age is from cut trees. Anyway, I got the park biologist's name and plan to contact him. Monica and I definitely will be returning to do a more thorough job and hopefully connecting with the Park biologist.

The one lesson I came away with is that despite its density of people, we cannot count New Jersey out.

by dbhguru
Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:38 am
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Belgium: meeting on trees and tall beeches

Saturday 23rd Ovtober there was an international meeting on champion and veteran trees, for tree - specialists and tree - organisations of NW and central Europe. It was held at Wespelaar Arboretum, near Brussels in Belgium. It was organised by Christopher Carnaghan, the international representative of the Tree Register of the British Isles, together with our hosts the organisation of the Wespelaar Arboretum and the Beltrees dendrological project in Belgium. About 40 persons from ten European countries attended the meeting: from Belgium, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland. There were presentations mainly about recording veteran, monumental and champion trees and creating a register and / or a database of them as well as finding and photografing them.

Among the attendants were Thomas Pakenham, autor of the books"Meetings with Remarkable Trees" and "Remarkable Trees of the World", David Alderman, Registrar of the Tree Register, Tony Kirkham, Curator of the Arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, as well as several writers / photographers of books on old or champion trees.

It was a very nice and inspiring meeting, meant to inform each other and talking about possibilities to have more international contact and preservation of trees.
At the end of the afternoon we visited the arboretum, still young but wit a nice collection of broadleave trees.

I took the opportunity to stay in belgium and, together with Tim Bekaert, creator of the website:, to visit a few interesting places with great trees.

A. We started with the beautiful and impressive Sweet Chestnuts ( Castanea sativa ) of Kasteel Schouwbroek near Vinderhoute (NW of Gent).
Three impressive and vital giants of up to 9 m girth behind the park-entrance.
See at Tim's website: or in the book of Jeroen Pater.
Because of the fence we did not measure the trees.

B. Next place to visit was the Castle park of Enghien / Edingen in Henegouwen: A very old park with good loamy soils and good tree-growth, so very large trees to be seen.
We saw a lot of trees and measured some:
1. Hornbeam - Carpinus betulus , Height: 33 m / 106 ft, new lasermeasured European heightrecord (the champion height tree of Ireland is 34 m, but I don't know if it was measured accurate). Girth @ 1,3 m: 280 cm, @ 1,5 m (Belgian measuring height) 273 cm.

2. London Plane - Platanus x hispanica . Height: 39,8 m (130,6 ft), girth @ 1,5 m: 508 cm. Many other plane trees of around 33 - 36 m and up to 5,5 m girth.

3. Common oak - Quercus robur - Chene "Duc Prosper" - height 31,5 m (not 40 m, as mentioned on the Bel Trees list and on Wikipedia), girth @ 1,3 m: 724 cm, @ 1,5 m 704 cm.

4. Common oak at the Golf Course - height 28,4 m, girth 756 cm.

5. Giant sequoia - Sequoiadendron gignteum - height 36 m, girth @ 1,3 m: 800 cm, @ 1,5 m: 780 cm.
Two other Sequoia's of ~ 34 and ~ 35 m tall, we did not measure the girths.

I measured some other heights: copper beech: 37,6 m; common oak: 34,5 m; common ash - Fraxinus excelsior : ~ 38 m.
We did not see the ash of 48 m wich is reported on "bell trees". Small leaved lime - Tilia cordata : 34,5 m.

C. In the Sonian Forest we visited the forestreserve Kersselaerspleyn.
The Sonian Forest (Dutch: Zoniënwoud, French: Forêt de Soignes) is a 4,421-hectare (10,920-acre) forest that lies across the south-eastern part of city of Brussels.
The forest is part of the scattered remains of the ancient Charcoal Forest. The first mention of the Sonian Forest (Soniaca Silva) dates from the early Middle Ages.
In the 18th century it was still 10.000 hectare, but parts were used to create housing and agricultural areas.
The forests are in fact plantations of European beech ( Fagus sylvatica ), about 75 % and Common Oak ( Quercus robur ), around 15 % as well as small areas with conifers and other broadleaves.

The forest is on slightly rolling areas about 300 feet above seelevel with most loamy eolian loess souls, wich are quite fertile allthough they have become more acid and were there is stagnation of watertables in some places.

The Forestreserve Kersselaerspleyn was planted with beech in 1777 after clearcut. Since 1983 it is left without forestmanagement, it is an official forestreserve since 1995. Since 2005 the reserve is enlarged to over 200 ha.
The old core reserve has nearly only beech, in the newer parts of the reserve there are also many large oaks with DBH up to 110 cm and 30 - 35, perhaps 40 m height. Of many oaks the height was difficult to measure because of undergrowth with young beech. Tallest I measured was 35,8 m, but I am sure there are taller oaks.

In the core area we heightmeasured 9 out of the 18 trees marked by the forest-researchers of INBO (Institute for Nature and Forest Research in Flanders): Peter van de Kerckhove c.s. as well as another very large beech at the border of the reserve. We did not measure more trees because of lack of time.
We had a list with heights measured by the researchers in 2000 with Forestor Vertex and in October 2010 with a Lasertech Impulse Forest Pro instument, wich costs $1,895.00 at an American website and seems to be very accurate.

In 2000 beeches were measured up to 52 m (170,6 feet) wich seemed nearly unbelievable, but we new the Forestor Vertex hypsometer works with tangential methods.

The measurements of last week by Peter van de Kerckhove gave a maximum of 49,5 m (162,4 feet), still much taller then we had measured beech in the Netherlands. Because these were with laser, I was very interested.
My measurements with Nikon Forestry 550 laser were all lower. The difference was 2,1 to 7,1 meter (7 to over 23 feet) and between 4,42 and 14,34 %! So this was very strange. It was a pity we could not do the measurements together with Peter, to see wat was the reason. After mailing with Kouta, he wrote back that the Lasertech Impulse Forest Pro works with a reflector. This you cannot put on the leaves in top, so it will work like the Forestor Vertex with the reflector at the trunk, a tangential method. This explains the difference.

In my measurements of 10 beeches all were between 42 and 45,4 meter (between 137,8 and 149 feet). So I had at least a new lasermeasured heightrecord for European Beech ( Fagus sylvatica )!
The tallest measured beech at right: 45,4 m / 149 ft tall, girth @ 1,5 m: 328 cm / 10,46 ft; beech on the left: 44,6 m / 146,3 ft, girth @ 1,5 m: 402 cm / 13,19 ft.

The girth of the measured beeches was between 328 and 466 cm (10,46 and 15,3 feet) and some of them are quite massive.
Most beeches measured were neighbouring open areas were other large beeches have been windthrown in a big storm in 1990 and therefore easy to measure by laser.
The second tallest beech with massive trunk, height 45 m / 147,6 ft, girth @ 1,5 m 402 cm / 13,19 ft.


There are only few other tree species in the reserve exept for some Sycamore maple ( Acer pseudoplatanus ), some Hornbeams ( Carpinus betulus ) and a few ashes (Fraxinus excelsior). This can be explained by the planting of only beech in this part of the forest and the enormous dominance of beech in this kind of habitat in NW Europe.

Jeroen Philippona
by Jeroen Philippona
Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:49 am
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Reenadinna Yew Wood


In May of 2009 I had the opportunity to visit Ireland. Although not particularly known for trees, yews are an important part of the country's natural and cultural heritage. For any Ent visiting Ireland, you must make visiting Killarney National Park a priority. This location is not only spectacular, but also has what is probably the most important woodlands in the country - some of which may be old growth. Apparently there are small pockets of old growth oak woodland, but these are not easily accessible and I did not have time to visit them. However, I did visit what is probably the best known of the park's woodlands, Reenadinna Yew Wood. I have seen this listed as one of only three remaining yew woodlands in Europe. The wood is on the north side of the Muckross peninsula. The trees grow from the limestone bedrock. This rock is very weathered with numerous deep fissures. There was even a cave I explored which ended up being a tunnel. The rock is covered in moss, so that the the ground layer of almost the entire woodland is pure moss with few other plants. This moss somtimes covers the fissures and the sharp limestone beneath making conditions mildly treacherous in some locations. The north side of the wood ends where limestone cliffs drop off to Lough Leane.

The trees themselves form an almost pure stand of yews. Although the trees vary in size and apparently age, there is little regeneration. This may be in part due to the heavy shade, but probably more importantly from deer browsing. A biologist I met on the site said that the deer actually wedge themselves under the fence that surrounds the site in order to browse on the yews. Despite the browsing pressures the wood is still spectacular. Some of the trees are very large. I have included two images of the largest tree I came across, sorry, no measurements.


by Darian Copiz
Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:22 pm
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Big Creek/Mouse Creek and vicinity *NEW RECORDS*


I spent this glorious day in Big Creek to check on some trees I had not seen for many years. Specifically I targeted the 150+ northern red oak on Mouse Creek (Smokies height record) and a spot Josh Kelly sent to me with a high LiDAR hit. On the way up the Big Creek Trail I stopped to measure a chestnut oak that has always taunted me as being tall but I was never there with leaves off since I spotted it. It did not disappoint- 38.3" DBH X 143.1' tall. I believe this surpasses the Cataloochee height record that was last measured at 141.9'.
Big Creek was WAY to big to safely cross so I had to pass the mouth of Mouse Creek which terminates in a nice waterfall. I went up trail to a bridge and bushwhacked back down to the creek. The red oak was easy to find as it was still in full leaf as opposed to most of the other trees. I explored the crown and found a high point nested in the multiple options. In March 2005 I measured it to 151.4 feet. Today I got it to 153.3'. The girth has slightly increased from 41.7" to 42.2".
Tall red 2001.jpg
I also remeasured a tuliptree that was last lasered to over 174'. I could only get 172.6' today. Not bad though. Surrounding tulips were over 160' and I headed up stream to see what I could find. Nothing to report, just nice regrowth from the clearing done just before the park was established. Well, actually one tree caught my eye that I think Jess Riddle measured in 2005. It was an American elm 32.3" DBH X 129.8'. This, I am pretty sure, is a new park height record.

I headed back down Mouse Creek and hopped the nasty ridge to the east to get into an unnamed cove with the high LiDAR hit. The going was rough but I did get to traverse the upper flanks before dropping down. Much of the cove was a shrub-entangled tallus field with hardly any trees. Some nice, large yellowwood were in full, heavy fruit though- don't get to see them much. I quickly tired of stumbling through this crap and went down towards the GPS LiDAR waypoint.

I could see the tall trees but a chasm loomed between me and them; the topo map did not reflect the landslide that gutted the cove and sent it into Big Creek years ago. Up and around I went again. I honed in on the waypoint but was distracted by a slender but tallish mountain silverbell (Halesia monticola). Two solid laser shots put this tree at a new eastern record height of 138.6!!! If you don't know the species you probably won't appreciate it but let me tell you- it was the find of the day!
138.6 ft silverbell001.jpg
I found the tree with the LiDAR hit. Nestled among lesser 160+ footers was a nice tuliptree in full autumn color- 36.5" DBH X 171.3'. LiDAR had it at 174'- not too bad considering how steep the slope was under the tree. This site is yet another in Big Creek that supports tuliptrees over 170'.
171.3 ft tuliptree001.jpg
I made my way back to Big Creek and not far from the bridge I spotted a yellow birch 18.6" X 105.3'- probably in the top five recorded heights for the species.

Will Blozan
by Will Blozan
Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:37 pm
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Two possible(likely?) state height records today...


Today Randy Brown and I took advantage of a beautiful late fall day and returned to Sand Run, in search of the elusive 165' tuliptree. We didn't find a tulip to break that height(although I think it's still out there), but we did manage to find what is likely the tallest recorded northern red oak in Ohio, at 146' tall and 10' 6'' girth, growing in a small ravine in the company of 140'-150' tulips. ' northern red oak.jpg ' northern red oak crown.jpg
From there we went up the ravine to a large tulip, which at 135' tall 16' 6'' girth, and average branch spread around 85', would be at least a tie for the Ohio's "big tree" of this species. ' tuliptree.jpg
From there we explored a secluded hemlock glen, with a number of trees in the 125' x 8' range. Hemlock glen.jpg
We also remeasured the tallest tulip we found last year, and we were pleased to find it is now 15' in girth and 163.72' tall. This is likely the height record for accurately measured tuliptrees in the state. Another nice find was a shingle oak at 104' tall and 9' 9'' in girth. '.jpg
The current Rucker Index for this site, and the City of Akron, is now 135.91. R I Sand Run-Akron.JPG
Typical topography at site: Typical topography.jpg

by Steve Galehouse
Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:26 pm
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Kelheim Forest, Germany


I have procrastinated long enough. I'm finally going to write about my trip to Kelheim forest back in May of this year. There were a couple reasons for me wanting to check this place out. The first is that Kouta informed me that it was supposed to have the tallest European (common) ash in Germany and that this stand seemed like it would be relatively easy to find. The second is that I had to convince my relatives that this would be a cool place to visit...and it is! It is along the Danube River flowing between nice cliffs and there is some award-winning dark beer to be had at the oldest brewery at a monastery (redundant?) in Bavaria and perhaps the world. The monastery is located just a few kilometers upstream from Kelheim in Weltenburg.

Background info on the forest is from a paper by Maximilian Waldherr and titled "Der Eschen-Eichen-Bestand in Wipfelsfurt bei Kelheim" ("The ash-oak stand in Wipfelsfurt near Kelheim"). In this paper he said that the oldest trees in the stand were 149 years old (now 167 years old) when he measured it in 1992. The oldest trees are ashes and oaks and the beeches were planted later. These are the three dominant trees of the stand and the only other species that I noticed when I visited was sycamore maple. He says the the tallest tree was an ash that measured 49.8m (163.3') in height and 85cm in diameter (8.75' or 2.67m in girth). I believe Germans measure at 1.3m (4.26') rather than at 4.5' (1.37m). I wasn't sure which species of oak was involved since the species was not indicated in the paper, but Jeroen has indicated to me that he is quite sure that it is Quercus robur (English/common oak). Jeroen says that of the two common oaks in Germany, English oak is the one that is typically found in floodplains with high pH soils (this region is all limestone). The other species is Q. petraea (sessile oak) and it normally grows in the hills and it is not so tolerant of frequent flooding or lime.

So in early May I set off for Kelheim with Ellen (my wife), my mom, my dad, Ellen's dad, my uncle bernd and my aunt Hilde. It was cloudy, rainy and cold. Unusually cold for Germany at this time of year, but we were hoping that at least the rain would eventually let up. We made a rest stop that conveniently happened to be near a big store selling all sorts of chocolates and candy. We then moved on to visit Regensburg which is a beautiful city located on the Danube River not too far downstream from Kelheim. In fact, Regensburg had just recently been named the most beautiful city in Bavaria just ahead of Bamberg. Bogus! Bogus I tell ya! Not that I'm biased or anything because my mom just happens to be from Bamberg. Ellen seemed to be the most distraught. She declared that "sure Regensburg is pretty, but no way is it more beautiful than Bamberg". Man, does Ellen know how to butter up the family or what? The rain had mostly stopped by this point and Hilde and Bernd showed us the most impressive sites of the old part of Regensburg, but our bellies soon told us it was time to make for the Weltenburg Monastery and get some good food and beer. The meal was just plain incredible, especially with the great beer! After the meal we decided to split up; I would go to the Kelheim forest with Ellen and everyone else would head out and see some local sites. Unfortunately the time they gave us was far too little. K1.jpg

We were finally on our way to see the tall trees but first we had to cross the river. There was a neat little ferry that we decided to try and after a bit we were able to find the man who operated it. My mom asked him if he knew about the tall trees and he did! He described how to get to the site and it exactly matched up with where I thought it was. Very encouraging. The short trip across the river was quite fun.
We had to follow a small road along the Danube for a short while until we found the Donauroute hiking trail. During the short roadside walk we were treated to some nice views of the Monastery. The first picture in this post was taken from this road. Once on the hiking trail we immediately began to climb up to the cliff which overlooks the Danube River from the North. Once we climbed to the top we had our very best view of the Monastery.
The forest here was dominated by beech and they were not particularly large. A typical scene follows.
After a couple kilometers the trail connected to a gravel road and we began to make our descent to the river. Just as we reached the river their was an orchard on the downstream side of the road and the forest was on the upstream side. To get to the forest I had to cross a remarkably deep ditch. Ellen decided not to go in because she wanted me to hurry as she didn't want us to be too late. The first nice tree I spotted was an oak. Shooting straight up I got an amazing 142.5' (43.4m). I couldn't believe it. I was there to measure the tallest ash and I didn't even really think about the oaks at all. I started running around like a little kid and yelling to Ellen that she just had to see this!
All the numbers I'm going to give are shooting straight up with a laser. The first tall ash I saw was 142.5', the second was 141' and the third was 142.5'. I thought are you kidding me? I came here to measure tall ashes and I'm not finding one taller than the tallest oak. So I moved farther into the forest (upstream or west). I saw what looked like a taller ash. It was 147' (44.8m) tall. Cool! It was also 9.54' (2.91m) in girth at 4.5' (1.37m). This could very well be the tallest one measured by Maximilian. If it is the same tree it is maybe 16' or so shorter than his measurement which was made 18 years earlier. In that 18 years it would have had to grow about 0.5" in girth per year. As Jeroen has mentioned to me this seems possible.
At this point Ellen said that we really needed to leave. I was very bummed. This site deserves much better.

After leaving the forest we walked very quickly towards the town of Kelheim. Here the trail stayed close to the river and was very flat. We covered the 2km or so in very little time but we were still quite late.

Upon arriving in the US I was able to communicate this info to Kouta and later to Jeroen. Jeroen told me that the tallest ash I found was exactly as tall as one that Tomasz Niechoda had measured in Bialowieza, Poland. The main difference being that I did not make a sine top sine bottom measurement and it is therefore less accurate. The Bialowieza site is also old growth and Jeroen mentioned that it is colder and drier than the Kelheim site as well. In light of the recent info by Neil on old trees I should also point out that the Kelheim ashes and oaks appear to be quite vigorous and still display good apical dominance...they're a long way from topping out at this site! The highest points were generally right over the center of the trees and they were easy to find. I'd be surprised if the tallest ash, if it is even the tallest ash, doesn't make 150' in less than a decade. Jeroen also mentioned that the one English/common oak that I measured may be the tallest so far measured in Germany. Ofcourse this all needs to be confirmed and happily Kouta recently mentioned that he wants to visit this site in fall or perhaps early next spring. I can't wait.

by DougBidlack
Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:31 pm
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Old Growth Ponderosa Pine Ecosystems


Regarding Posts 12-14, I thought I'd add some of my thoughts on old-growth ponderosa pine ecosystems, specific to Northern Arizona, and located in Grand Canyon NP's North and South Rims.

Being a westerner, for some time at UMASS, I tried think of old-growth trees, and ways to defined them. After slogging through seemingly countless (as a grad student doing manual literature searches, the list seemed nearly endless) citations that strove to define old-growth, I, and Bob Leverett at about the same time, began to realize that there were indicators that certainly 'filtered out' the second growth from "old-growth". Many of those indicators are listed in your recent publication, and I think many of the uninitiated will find your paper very helpful.

After returning to the West, with a post graduate stint at Northern Arizona University, my thinking began to change along with others, I noticed. I started thinking in terms of old-growth ecosystems, rather than individual trees. While I can accept academia's disfavor with a definition for an old-growth tree, I have spent to much time wandering through the currently largest, relatively undisturbed ponderosa pine forest ecosystem not to think that that an old-growth ponderosa pine is a perfectly valid concept.

But more than individual tree and individual tree characterisics, there needs to be structural homogeneity (uneven aged multi-storied stands in small to medium landscape scales), and a compositional mosaic (even if in the case of the relatively depauperate vegetation community that characterizes ponderosa pine forests) of grasses and shrubs that serve to 'incubate' regenerating pines after disturbance (usually wildfire, in this fire adapted species).

Following, I'm including some images of mine, previously seen in our online journal, but certainly they seem pertinent to this discussion.

Figure 1. A relatively undisturbed Pinus ponderosa ecosystem found on Rainbow Plateau, biogeographically a peninsular plateau, with classic array of structural diversity. Note native grasses, pine seedlings and saplings in the wildfire created opening (mosaic), and mature stand of ‘yellowbark’ pines.

Figure 2. Pinus ponderosa at the edge of Rainbow Plateau, with increased wildfire activity cycle, and resulting multi-aged “islands”. Note passing of large old pine at left in primarily native grass foreground, the incoming pine regeneration in photo center, and the “islands” of large pines ranging from photo center to right in background. Much of the Rainbow Plateau’s periphery could be similarly characterized.

Figure 3. The Pinus ponderosa forest ecosystem as found in Grand Canyon National Park, is relatively depauparate. Less so than adjacent, more disturbed forests, this image displays an opening created by a wildfire of medium to high burn severity, slowly returning to forbs, grasses, and shrubs. Pine regeneration in background is returning in less severe burn area mosaics. Mid-ground large pines show the accommodation that thick bark offers to fast burning, low intensity, high frequency fires expected of this fire-adapted species. The Rainbow Plateau, as well as the nearby Powell Plateau, is characterized by similar wildfire mosaics varying from forests with islands of grasses, to grasslands with islands of the large old yellow-barked pines.

Figure 4. The first visitors to Grand Canyon’s uniquely little disturbed ponderosa pine forests (at the time of settlement, part of the largest contiguous assemblage of ponderosa pines in North America), characterized the forests as open park-like stands, such that one could ride on horseback and wagon unimpeded, and see far into the stands ahead.

There are some cues in the figures that I should bring more to the fore...the continuum from large land mass, to a thousand acre peninsula, to an isolated point, to a 'biogeographical island' found on the North Rim is an excellent opportunity to explore the effects of natural disturbances, relatively distinct from those forests with man's interventions. The Powell Plateau is one of the biogeographical islands, Rainbow Plateau is functionally a 'point', Walhalla Plateau is larger peninsula, and broad sections of the North Rim's nearly pure ponderosa pine ecosystem, and all have relatively little interference, especially in the order just presented. With these geographically distinct forests, the influence of "edge effect" can be studied more clearly. By edge effect, I am referring to the array of moisture and temperature conditions that differentially affect edges of these land masses, than they would land mass interiors. As well, in an area known to have one of the highest numbers of lightning downstrikes in the Southwest, the spatial relationships of wildfires relative to downstrike ignition locations are also worthy of consideration.

But I'm rambling, it's late, and there's lots to do over the next three weeks~!
More later...

by Don
Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:50 am
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Ohio record Tuliptree nominated today


Randy Brown and I have nominated a Tulip at Sand Run which should easily be the state record "Big Tree" for the species. This is the tallest one we've found there(the Bob Leverett Tree), and today I returned to get an average crown spread measurement, which we failed to get previously---the numbers are: 163.72' in height, rounded down to 163'; 176'' in girth(taken at 4.5' from the uphill side as per ODNR's ''Big Tree" guidelines); and 91' average crown spread. These give us a score of 361.75(362)points utilizing the method proscribed by the ODNR and AFA. The current Ohio record Tuliptree is listed on the Ohio Big Trees website at 353 points, so this should be the new record, although it will take until 2012 to show in the register. I think this tree is also the tallest height accurately measured for the species in Ohio, and might even be the tallest accurately measured tree of any species in the state.
Record tuliptree.jpg

by Steve Galehouse
Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:09 pm
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Start of the Blue Ridge Parkway book


Monica and I just returned from our Blue Ridge Parkway trip, which served as the kickoff for our planned Parkway book project. There is a lot to report on with plenty of images. I will begin with a trip summary and get into the nitty gritty in the coming days.

We left Florence, MA a week ago on Monday, heading straight for New Jersey's Morristown National Historic Park. There, we met with Robert Masson, the Park biologist. He took us straight to the best of the big tuliptrees, and not too surprising,they turned out to be in the area I had already measured. But this time I collected more data. I got the best of the best. The bottom line is that the site has one 150-footer, and maybe 8 to 12 140s. The largest single tuliptree is a 15.3-foot whopper that measured 141.2 feet in height. My measurement of it last trip was 15.5 feet, but I got a better determination of mid-slope this time. Also, I had reported that it as 129 feet tall on my first visit, but I had shot it from the trail, which is below its base. That is an old lesson relearned. There are several big tulips over 14 feet in girth. Surprisingly, I got a black oak to 126.1 feet and 8.5 feet around. That is the best I could do for height with the other species. I got red oaks to 115.

Morristown National Historic Park is literally choked with invasives. The Park budget doesn't allow for a truly aggressive plan of eradication. They need help. We left on very good terms with the biologist. He officially named the big 15.3-foot girth tuliptree the George Washington tree. Unquestionably, there will be return trips to Morristown and surrounding sites. All our data is new to the Park and well appreciated.

We revisited Montpelier near Charlottesville and I continued the ENTS search for outstanding tuliptrees. The best I can pull out of Montpelier is 167.5 feet in height and 13.8 feet in girth. We did also officially crown the Dolly Madison tree, a 12.6-foot, 161.3-foot tall, well-formed tree. Altogether, there are at least 5 tulips that top 160 feet. The largest tulip is out in a field. It has a broken crown, a very old tree. Its girth is 22.3 feet and its height is 86 feet to a broken top. A full report to the horticulturist at Montpelier is forthcoming.

We headed down the Parkway on Thursday and stopped at Humpback Rocks, milepost 6 . There is old growth there and it is fairly impressive for top of the mountain northern and chestnut oak old growth. Trees are conspicuously larger than in the surrounding areas, which are dry. But there are no champions of girth or height. Still, it is a highly significant site. I took images of bark, which I'll present later. Interestingly, the underlying bedrock of the Humpback Rocks area is Catoctin Greenstone, attesting to a volcanic origin.

At Otter Creek Flats, around milepost 58, I measured some impressive pitch pines. They were the first that I'd feel comfortable pointing out to travelers except to identify forest communities. The forest includes white pine, red and white oak, beech, and tuliptree. Two pitch pines slightly top 101 feet. A third at the end of the parking lot measured 7.8 feet in girth and 95.7 feet in height. For the area is is quite large.

Farther south at the James River area, I remeasured the sycamores down the hill from the parking area. Several top 120 feet and one makes 126. That is about as tall as they get. They are 6 to 8 feet in girth. What is more important is that they form a conspicuous stand following Otter Creek and provide travelers a look at a riparian community dominated by sycamores - a very uncommon sight along the Parkway.

We pushed on to the Peaks of Otter at mile post 85, where we stated for 3 nights. We climbed Sharptop again and I had a chance to re-evaluate the old growth community there. There is plenty to write about and report on around and on Sharptop and Flattop. One bummer for me is the Sharptop trail can be like Grand Central Station, which is what I ordinarily try to avoid, but the book we're writing isn't for me, but the public, so the heavy visitation is overall a good thing - I guess. Monica and I will write up our Sharptop climb in the next few days.

On our return trip back up the Parkway, I finally pulled over on the north side of Apple Orchard Mountain to measure the conspicuously tall tulips growing in a cove below the Parkway. There is no official pull-off, so I always hesitate to stop, but this time I did. The tulips soar. Here are the heights I got in the order I measured the trees: 134.5, 139.9, 141.6, 152.9, 148.4. and 150.1. Yes, a rich cove with 150s visible from the Parkway. How many times, had I driven by the cove, noticing the trees and wondering? Well, I don't have to wonder any more. It is the real deal. There are many more tall tulips in the cove. I don't know how far down the mountain they go, but quite a distance, I suspect. Girths are 8 to 11 feet. Apple Orchard Mountain has sculpted old growth on the top of its 4,225-foot summit, and tall trees in the coves below. Who could ask for more.

There were three more spots we stopped at, but nothing of particular noteworthiness. I'll save comments for later. The one feeling we both left with is the enormity of the undertaking. We have lots of ideas, but they all involve labor, a lot of labor. This book is going to require several years and lots of visits. Lots to talk about.

by dbhguru
Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:30 am
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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park 11/26/2010


Darian Copiz and I met early to measure some trees along the C&O Canal in Maryland. The park contains a long swath of Potomac River floodplain forest and adjacent slopes often of great age. The drive to the parking lot offered views over American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) dominated forest between the canal and the river.
Box elder potomac001.jpg
We went upstream from the lock house in pursuit of the Maryland State Champion Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii). We meandered through the forest marveling at the density of the sycamore flats and impressive shumard oak cohorts. Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), black walnut (Juglans nigra), box-elder (Acer negundo), hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), and an occasional elm (Ulmus sp.) also shared the canopy. We saw lone examples of chinquapin oak (Quercus muhlenbergii) and burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa). Paw-paw (Asimina triloba) and thick exotics populated the understory and native and exotic lianas draped whatever could be climbed.
We measured a few really nice Shumard oaks. One 56” DBH beast had the entire center ripped out yet the remaining side branch still reached 130’. We continued upstream for a bit but were pressed for time to meet up with Gaines McMartin at another site. We hurried downstream to find the champion tree. On the way we measured a nice 17’8” CBH sycamore that was a decent 126.8 feet tall.
We spotted a huge crown in the distance by the river and headed over. Well, it was the “champ” but not even remotely worthy. It was two trees growing side-by-side measured as one. Lame. At least the 123' height was dead-on.
This National Park has a TON to offer and this is just the beginning of lots and lots of searching. My childhood home was near the park and I spent many, many days riding my bike and exploring the forest. I vividly recall huge trees along the Potomac River, which may be one of the unmeasured hot spots of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Species Diameter Height
Shumard 56" 130.0'
Shumard 54" 129.8'
Shumard 43.9" 130.6'
Hackberry N/A 99.6'
Sycamore 67.5" 126.8'

Will Blozan
Darian Copiz
by Will Blozan
Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:15 pm
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Glover Park/Archbold section, Rock Creek Park, Washington DC


Gaines McMartin has been discussing this park with me for nearly a year now. Darian Copiz had previously visited the park but had not seen some of the areas we were to traverse. We finally all met up and we gave it a good ENTS-ing.

This section of Rock Creek Park is fairly old and has mature forest dominated by tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), various oaks, hickories, ash, and American beech (Fagus grandifolia). The lower slopes and stream corridors are dominated by American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), and occasional cottonwood (Populus deltoides), bitternut (Carya cordiformis), and elm (Ulmus sp.). Numerous and noxious exotics were common throughout and did not give the forest a very natural feel.

We entered the park from a side street and immediately encountered a stand of fine oak and tuliptree on a gentle ridge. The tuliptrees were already 140-ish and promised a good site. I measured one of Gaines’s favorite trees first; a gorgeous northern red oak (Quercus rubra var. rubra) packed in with competing tuliptree. It was a respectable 46” diameter and stood 137.3’ tall. Next to it was a black oak (Quercus velutina) that proved equally impressive at 33.1” X 134.4 feet tall.
Gaines led us to the “hot spot”; a grove of tuliptrees in a small draw. Sure enough, he hit it dead on as we would not find taller trees anywhere else in the park. This small cove had at least three trees over 150 feet. The tallest, as eyed by Gaines years ago was measured this trip to 155.3’. Two oaks in the vicinity were impressive; a white oak (Quercus alba) 123.7’ and a chestnut oak (Quercus montana) 134.3’. Also in the grove was an American beech 123.9’ tall.

We crossed a small ridge and proceeded upstream on the west side exploring all potential superlatives as we went. I spotted another black oak that stood 139’ tall- the tallest oak we would find all day. 130-140’ sycamores rimmed the base of the slopes and mixed with white (Fraxinus americana) and green ash. Darian and I both spotted nice pignut hickories (Carya glabra) nearly 130’ tall and more northern red oaks around 130’.

Further upstream the southern slopes were dominated by impressive oaks and more tuliptrees just at or under 150’. I crossed the stream and explored the sycamore dominated forest and scored a 145.6 footer among numerous 130’+ trees. We exhausted the upper reaches of the park but not without a few more nice trees. Darian measured an impressive southern red oak (Quercus falcata) at 115.1’ and I measured a large northern red oak at 56.3” X 126.6’.

We headed down the east side to the lower part of the park where I had spotted a black walnut that begged to be measured. It turned out to be 124.3’ tall and grew in the mid-story of tall tuliptrees. Gaines pointed out the fallen remains of a huge tuliptree that was felled after it died perhaps from a lightning strike. It was probably around 17’ girth in its prime and looked to be a tall one. It far surpassed the size of any tree we saw all day.

As it turns out, the Glover/Archbold Park has a Rucker Index just 0.7 points shy of the famous Belt Woods Natural Area not too far away in Maryland (RI 135.3)- the forest icon of the Mid-Atlantic region. Actually, when all trees we ENTS have measured in Rock Creek Park are combined it surpasses Belt Woods with a composite index of 135.6 (Add tuliptree 162.5’ and white oak 125.9’). Are people blind to the forest prowess of the urban Washington DC area? The potential is amazing!

Trees measured this trip:
N. red oak 56.3” X 126.6’
N. red oak 43.1” X 135’
N. red oak 46” X 137.3’
Black oak 33.1” X 134.4’
Black oak 31.1” X 139.0’
S. red oak 39.8” X 115.1’
White oak 35.8” X 122.6’
White oak 25.1” X 123.7’
Chestnut oak 35.7” X 134.3’
Sycamore 38.6” X 140.1’
Sycamore 29.9” X 145.6’
Beech 30.8” X 117.1’
Beech 26.9” X 123.9’
Black walnut 33.1” X 124.3’
White ash 28.5” X 118.4’
Green ash 30.9” X 133.2’
Pignut 29.3” X 129.1’
Pignut 31.1” X 129.7’
Tuliptree 39.1” X 152.4’
Tuliptree 33.5” X 153.5’
Tuliptree 32.8” X 155.3’

Rucker 10 134.6
Tuliptree 155.3
Sycamore 145.6
Black oak 139.0
N. red oak 137.3
Chestnut oak 134.3
Green ash 133.2
Pignut 129.7
Black walnut 124.3
Beech 123.9
White oak 123.9

Will Blozan
Darian Copiz
Gaines McMartin
by Will Blozan
Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:31 pm
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