429 Point American Sycamore Champion

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Will Blozan
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429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:19 pm


Today I remeasured a huge sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) near Waynesville, NC. Michael Davie and I originally measured the tree in 2004, and since it is far larger than the current NC State Champion I obtained permission from the owner to visit the tree again. This tree has an unusally high, wide crown even at 100' up. The massive branching up high is mighty impressive.
3-Tree and house.jpg
3-Tree and house.jpg (185.05 KiB) Viewed 2345 times
2-East view.jpg
I was pleased to find the tree in good condition except for a lightening strike spiraling down the trunk. The highest point of the crown was a dead twig so height is to the highest leaf. A large wound is present which will likely lead to the tree becoming hollow.
1-Will at base.jpg
4-Lower trunk.jpg
Here are the measurements:
Girth at 4.5 feet 268" (22'4") (260" in 2004)
Height 132.5' (131.1' in 2004)
Average spread 112' (95' in 2004)
Max spread 126'
AF Big Tree Points 429 (358 current NC champ)

Pretty dang tall for open grown!


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Re: 429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by dbhguru » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:04 pm


Congratulations! I do remember this tree. You took me to it years ago. It is a heck of a splendid representative of its species and takes its place among the great sycamores of the East.

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Re: 429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:33 am

That is a beast! I didn't think the mountains were capable of that girth. I've only seen a handful over 15'.

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Re: 429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by Don » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:42 pm

The western species (Platanus racemosa) has really different bark characteristics! Impressive tree!
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Re: 429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by mdavie » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:20 pm

Ha! I just measured that thing a couple of weeks ago on my way to look at a job in Cruso. I did it quick and dirty, shooting the height from the driveway across the road uphill and got 131.1, and I got 269 inches in girth, and I didn't bother to get a spread. I certainly could have spent more time, but I just wanted to check. That's a really nice tree.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: 429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:03 pm

WOW! What a huge Sycamore! Congrats to ya. I sure wish they would get that size down here. Oh well, I'll just have to measure more Live Oaks. Larry

james loftis
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Re: 429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by james loftis » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:05 pm

Hey Will, great tree. As every time I respond to anything you post, I offer my climbing services if ever needed (the squeaky wheel philosophy). Was the last champion sycamore ever at the Biltmore house? I was told that it was, and I know there was a massive one there that got blown over when hurricane Ivan (I think) went careening up the eastern seaboard. I was there working like a week after that and saw the trunk laying in the log yard on Biltmore's property. It was pretty much shoulder high on me and I'm 5'11" or so. Was the champ ever there or not? I figure you would be more reliable than the people I heard it from.

Just noticed, it only grew 1.4 ft. in 7 years and yet it put on 17ft. of spread? That's pretty neat. I guess its pretty logical if you really think about it. Do you remember where in relation to the canopy (high or low) that it spread the most?

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James Parton
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Re: 429 Point American Sycamore Champion

Post by James Parton » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:27 pm


Awesome! I have wanted to check out that tree since you first told me about it in 2007. I will make it out there one of these days.
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