Biltmore Estate Trees

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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees, NC

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:11 pm

I have a few new measurements from the gardens of Biltmore.

Carolina hemlock 103.4'
Norway or oriental spruce 133.6' This may be a US record for either species.
Dawn Redwood 124.1' same tree as previous post.
white pine 158.1'
I got a 156' shooting straight up and had various numbers in the 150's from multiple angles. One reading had 161.6' but that was with some estimation on the base. It may top 160' but I haven't confirmed it yet. I plan to do an inventory of the gardens this summer. The trees are relatively well spaced.

I finally got a high reading for the Friday's sycamore in Biltmore Village. That tree had frustrated me on two previous visits.
sycamore 144.0'


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Will Blozan
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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by Will Blozan » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:25 pm


Norway spruce tops 150' in western MA. The tallest P. orientalis I know of is in Highlands, NC at ~126'. The species look nothing alike with much different needle lenght, cones, habit and color. Do you have a photo of the tree and a girth?

Nice find on the pine- new record for AVL as far as I know.


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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:42 am

I didn't get a photo. I believe it is a Norway. I'd guess it's about 7' in girth. I'd assumed trees in the garden were Norways when they were marked orientals. The needles may be a bit shorter but they appear very similar to me. I wasn't aware of any 150's in the US.

The white pine is across the road from the azalea garden. It's on the left looking up into the bowl in a group of several pines, very much exposed. The one next to it appears to be 150+ but I couldn't get a reading to confirm it. Many pines are in the 130's and quite a few are in the 140's in that section.

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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by bbeduhn » Mon May 07, 2012 3:36 pm

I met with Bill Hascher,the head arborist at Biltmore Estate on Thursday. he showed me some old record holders and pointed out some areas I might like to measure. They use tags on many of their significant trees, numbering beyond 5,000 tagged trees.

White pine I measured five this outing and got 3 150's
197 153.8'
1885 151.8'
1887 151.4'
1888 139.6'
no# 144.6'
3923 158.1' previously measured

Short leaf pine
216 107.4' old, gnarled crown
3247 105.8'
3249 104.2'
3251 103.9'
3243 103.0'
3242 93.5'
3179 96.7'
no# 102.2'
no# 102.8'

Hemlock--these are doing extremely well with much new growth
165 134.8'
168 143.6'
4214 134.7'
1351 138.5'

Carolina hemlock
665 115.1' tallest known at the Estate but has challengers

Oriental spruce picea orientalis
1372 108.9'
1374 112.3'
1375 109.1'
548 102.2'
3980 119.4'

Norway spruce
1373 107.4'
2949 117.5'
?# 137.0' previously measured at 133.6'
?# 121.3'

Douglas fir
?# 108.8'

red pine
no# 116.4' dwarfed by white pines with blown out crowns

Nikko fir Abies homolepis
1333 105.5'
4441 115.1'

Dawn redwood metasequoia glyptostroboides
1874 95.5'
3647 115.6'
3644 111.1'
4273 126.2'
4274 112.5'
4275 113.3'
4276 117.6'
?# 129.0' re-measure in the garden. New top found
3967 91.6'

Bald cypress taxodium distichum
4280 100.4'
4281 116.7'
?# 126.7' below bass pond dam
3975 101.5'

Pond cypress?
3976 89.7'

1055 131.5'
no# 117.4'

1875 NLT 126'
1876 118.8'

ash (looks like white but may be different)
1042 114.5'

American basswood tilia americana
no# 119.7'

China fir Cunninghamia many left to measure
3985 81.1'

Blue atlas cedar
3944 97.6' 12'7.5" cbh

Nordmann fir many more to measure
3993 102.8'
3946 91.6'

I plan to spend more time and get as all significant trees in the garden area, as well as finding more 150' white pines and hopefully, a 150' hemlock. The forest hardwoods will have to wait until November.

RI 5 for conifers 138.8'
RI 10 for conifers 127.27' so far

edit: I originally mentioned that Cunninghamia (China fir) were reproducing profusely. They were actually torreya, most likely Florida torreya.
Last edited by bbeduhn on Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:07 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by Will Blozan » Mon May 07, 2012 5:28 pm


Great work! Is the red pine the one to the right of the house as you look at the house?
Tallest eastern hemlock down behind the house? I had a 146 in there and several others over 140'.

There were/are (big) shortleaf 116' and pitch pines 118' along the approach road- did you look at them?

That P. orientalis may be a NA height record- where is that one?

I'd like to join up sometime but the weekdays don't work for me. The tallest Carolina needs to be mapped. I had a 109' and 111' tree in the same grove back in 2006.


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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by dbhguru » Mon May 07, 2012 8:05 pm


Wow! What a report. Congratulations. The Biltmore Estate is truly something. I was blown away by the dawn redwood heights.

Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by bbeduhn » Tue May 08, 2012 7:49 am

The dawn redwoods are truly impressive! They don't all look as tall as they are but they are gorgeous trees. The tall one in the garden has a very strong challenger in a grove at the first intersection. That grove has six redwoods, five over 100'.

The red pine is the one to the right, near a service road. It looks tiny compared to the white pines. I didn't get any true heights but shot straight up. They're mostly 140's with their tops all blown off. The underbrush is incredibly thick. I traversed most of it on downed white pine logs.

The 143.6' hemlock is on the approach road. I've just scratched the surface on hemlocks. I'll look for the old 146' and 140's next trip. Where exactly behind the house were they?

I missed the tall shortleaf and haven't even seen a pitch pine on the estate.

The orientalis is in the garden on the main path, along a stream, just before the bass pond. Most have numbers on them but this one didn't.

The Carolina hemlock is in a small grove below the road right before the gate in front of the house. There was another Carolina hemlock right next to the 115.1' but its top had been blown off. I should have measured it anyway. It's probably the old 109', but looks like low 90's now. I've topped 100' with Carolinas in a different spot as well and will spend more time there soon.

I go on the weekends normally. I just went during the week to meet with Bill. There's much more to do. The conifers are fairly easy to measure during leaf-on. The hardwoods don't appear to be quite as impressive but I'm sure there'll be some surprises.

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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by Will Blozan » Tue May 08, 2012 4:57 pm


There is also a 130-ish European larch near the main gate and before the ticket office. I wonder if your row of Dawn redwoods are the line of bald cypress immediately on the right after you head out from the ticket office on the approach road. Maybe I have my species flipped but I recall them being cypress. BVP and I measured most to over 100'. Also a 110+ Nikko fir there.

The largest and tallest shortleaf is within 50 feet of the road on the right as you go up to the house. Huge tree. Diagonally across the road from the shortleaf is the "tall" pitch pine and several others over 110'. Dale Luthringer and I had a 140'+ large hemlock on the right at "Cadillac Corner" and may be the one you measured. The super tall grove behind the house on a service road is where the mother-load of 130'+ hemlocks are. Also 100'+ Carolinas. I may have heard Bill say they were going to log that grove so it may not be there anymore. This is also where the three now fallen 130'+ scarlet oaks were and a also fallen 156' white pine.

There are impressive hardwoods scattered about, both native and exotic. The planted American basswood on the approach road is nearly an eastern height record at 128' (2004).


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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by bbeduhn » Wed May 09, 2012 8:11 am

I was wondering where that larch was. I saw it in an old report but hadn't come accross it yet. The grove is definitely Dawn redwood, with two bald cypressess just behind them, across the stream. All but one redwood in that grove is over 100', with the tallest at 126'. I had the fir as silver and will correct that. Species ID can be difficult at Biltmore. Very few exotics have plaques.

I got 119.7' on the basswood, but I may have been a little too close and missed the top. I'll look for the larch there as well. From the car, it doesn't stand out.

The shortleaf and pitch area looks promising. The 115' Carolina is in that area. It's a little thick in there but may hold some surprises. I don't know where "Cadillac Corner" is. The tall hemlocks I got were just a little past the first 4-way intersection on the approach road.

It sounds like the super tall hemlock/scarlet/white pine grove is on the same service road as the red pine. I can't imagine they'd log the entire grove. There's plenty more to explore at Biltmore.

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Re: Biltmore Estate Trees

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:52 pm

Just a few updates and remeasures:

The Dawn Redwoods are growing. In another month, there should be 2 over 130'

4273 129.8'
546 130.1' I missed the number on the tree last time.

Tuliptree next to the 129.8' DR, likely a little older


European Larch
132.9' I didn't have a good angle on this one. There are fenced off areas with young shrubs adjacent to the tree. I'll get a better shot soon.

Conifer RI
RI 10 129.79
RI 5 140.34
Last edited by bbeduhn on Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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