King Creek, NC

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Jess Riddle
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:59 am

King Creek, NC

Post by Jess Riddle » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:42 pm

King Creek is a moderate sized stream with unremarkable topography that does little to suggest the area as a tree hunting destination. However, 2005 LiDAR data shows hits up 169’ in somewhat surprising spots. The highest hits are in a northeast facing cove, but one so small that it registers on the topo maps as only a slight swerve of the contours. The largest concentration of tall trees grows in a small tributary that drains due south into King Creek.

The setting of the watershed makes the heights less surprising. King Creek lies just outside of Brevard, NC, which averages about 72” of precipitation annually, and just over a ridge from Horse Cove and its 140’ Rucker Index. Additionally, much of the watershed resides between 2500’ and 3500’ elevation, the same range as most of the known 170’ tuliptrees.

Productive forests dominated by tall, slim tuliptrees and smaller numbers of black birch and other hardwoods line sheltered reaches of the stream. An understory or rhododendron and dog-hobble help create an impression of abundant moisture, but those shrubs generally do not extend far up the north facing slopes. The small, south facing tributary is also lined with tuliptree dominated forests, but oaks are the most abundant species on the surrounding slopes.
King Creek
King Creek
Unfortunately, the little cove with the tallest trees has been hit by an ice storm since the LiDAR data was flown. The crowns of several of the straightest and most symmetrical trees growing in the center of the cove now end in four inch diameter broken off stubs. However, many adjacent trees passed through the storm with little damage.
KingCreekMeasurements.JPG
KingCreekMeasurements.JPG (48.35 KiB) Viewed 1226 times
The top of the tallest tree.  The tree appears to have sustained damage in one recent ice storm and during another storm several years ago.  The highest point, on the left, only sustained minor damage.
The top of the tallest tree. The tree appears to have sustained damage in one recent ice storm and during another storm several years ago. The highest point, on the left, only sustained minor damage.
Jess Riddle & Michael Davie

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