Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

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Will Blozan
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Will Blozan » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:23 am

Don,

I would bet almost anything that log is not a chestnut. The lack of taper and roundness suggest a tuliptree (if in the eastern woodlands) but more likely a mislabeled photo from out west. A tree that size would likely have been photographed when standing. With zero exception all the chestnut snags, logs and living examples have serious and pronounced buttressing and fluting at the base. Not saying there can't be a freak-show non-conformist but that is my impression...

Will

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Lucas
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Lucas » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:27 pm


Click on image to see its original size

I have no clue where I found this on the web, last spring, but the file name is 30 Big Chestnut.jpg.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:42 pm

Here are the details associated with the original photo I posted:

Albert Gordon "Dutch" Roth (right) assisting Dr. H. M. Jennison (left) in search of outstanding big trees in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The location was listed merely as "Porters Flats".

And listed as having been taken on November 19 1933.

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Rand
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Rand » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:54 pm

Thanks for the info james.

Just out of curiosity, I dug up Porters Flats on a smokey mts trail map:

(look along the middle right hand edge)
porter.png

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Rand
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Rand » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:00 pm

Lucas,

Hey! a third one. This tree must have been pretty famous in its day. Since 1933 is roughly when the park was established and the longevity of the chestnut wood, I wonder if any remains of this tree could still be found. Any thoughts Will?

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Will Blozan
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Will Blozan » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:44 pm

I have looked. I did find a big tree in Porters Creek that was over 22' without bark or sapwood with similar taper. Could have been the same tree- who knows?

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Ranger Dan
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Ranger Dan » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:24 pm

I was waiting for someone else to suggest that this image is not a chestnut log. I agree with Will that all large-diameter chestnut remains I've seen in never-logged forest are highly tapered. Also, they seldom have long sections of clear trunk like this one being pulled by oxen. Almost all I've seen had large, low limbs, and they are always hollow. If you have a look at the trees in the background, maybe they might be eastern woodland but they look more like the Pacific Northwest, Pacific silver fir I'd say, is in there. And the log looks like Douglas-fir to me. If the image can be verified as having been taken in the East, I'd say that's a tuliptree log.
probably not chestnut
probably not chestnut
ChestnutLogging.jpg (66.69 KiB) Viewed 1121 times


Here is another NOT chestnut used in literature by the American Chestnut Foundation. This is almost certainly a redwood, with a huge face cut. Notice the distinct lighter band of sapwood and thick bark.
this is almost certainly a redwood
this is almost certainly a redwood
chestnut 2.jpg (15.15 KiB) Viewed 1121 times
Like all things long-gone and never seen, fanciful visions of an idyllic world sometimes take over, and some of us find reason to rationalize those visions by distorting the truth. Perhaps there were benevolent intentions of promoting the effort to restore the chestnut by dazzling the eye of prospective donors when adequate bona fide images of big chestnuts could not be found. Well, now we have some more available. Thank you all for posting those.

Tuliptrees, not chestnuts, were and still are the largest trees in the Southern Appalachians. Chestnut trunk bases were wide.

As for sapwood on chestnut: if you'll look at old chestnut remains in structures or on those rare stumps that still have some bark, the bark is attached directly to the intact outer wood, which was sapwood. In chestnut, it was the sapwood that was the most decay-resistant part of the wood, it seems to me. More evidence of that are remains of branches much smaller than those retained than even rot-resistant oaks. Almost always on chestnut remains of medium or large size, the interior is hollow. Black locust is also like this, which is even more rot-resistant than chestnut. I don't know of any other trees whose sapwood withstands decay more than the heartwood. Oaks, eastern redcedar, western red cedar, Alaska yellow cedar, redwood, and other rot-resistant logs that I have worked into bridges from fallen logs or observed on the forest floor, all have at least a thin layer of sapwood that rots as quickly as white pine or basswood, taking the bark off as it goes, leaving behind the rot-resistant heartwood.

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Don
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Don » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:47 pm

Will/Ranger Dan-
You may well be right...the image occurs in the blog identified in the post's accompanying URL, and the gullible unsuspecting guy like me would find it easy to accept it on face value...I've since continued the search, and am making contacts with the American Chestnut Foundation forester to see if authenticity of the image can be obtained.
The only "pro" for it being a chestnut is that it appears to be a logging operation using pre-1900's felling/hauling methods, drawing timber from a pool of larger trees...
More, later
-Don
Will Blozan wrote:Don,

I would bet almost anything that log is not a chestnut. The lack of taper and roundness suggest a tuliptree (if in the eastern woodlands) but more likely a mislabeled photo from out west. A tree that size would likely have been photographed when standing. With zero exception all the chestnut snags, logs and living examples have serious and pronounced buttressing and fluting at the base. Not saying there can't be a freak-show non-conformist but that is my impression...

Will
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

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View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
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Rand
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Rand » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:17 pm

Ranger Dan wrote: As for sapwood on chestnut: if you'll look at old chestnut remains in structures or on those rare stumps that still have some bark, the bark is attached directly to the intact outer wood, which was sapwood. In chestnut, it was the sapwood that was the most decay-resistant part of the wood, it seems to me. More evidence of that are remains of branches much smaller than those retained than even rot-resistant oaks. Almost always on chestnut remains of medium or large size, the interior is hollow. Black locust is also like this, which is even more rot-resistant than chestnut. I don't know of any other trees whose sapwood withstands decay more than the heartwood. Oaks, eastern redcedar, western red cedar, Alaska yellow cedar, redwood, and other rot-resistant logs that I have worked into bridges from fallen logs or observed on the forest floor, all have at least a thin layer of sapwood that rots as quickly as white pine or basswood, taking the bark off as it goes, leaving behind the rot-resistant heartwood.
I too, noticed the odd dissonance between accounts of rot resistant chestnut and accounts of most old trees being hollow. I wonder though, how much wood boring insects affect this? Black locust, for example is heavily affected by a locust borer:
locustborer1.jpg
locustborer1.jpg (48.01 KiB) Viewed 1117 times
http://entoweb.okstate.edu/ddd/insects/locustborer.htm

So, perhaps these other rot resistant species aren't attacked by the same types of wood boring insects?

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Don
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Re: Historial photo by Albert Roth of American chestnut.

Post by Don » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:57 pm

Rand-
It could also be an issue of trees resistance to rotting as to whether they are dead or alive...a live tree actively exuding chemical compounds that maintain high rotting resistance, may loose some of that effectiveness as it dies. I do know that as a USFS Forest Technician restoring boundary lines in Southeastern Kentucky, there were an amazing number of chestnut rail fences that had survived the half-century of outdoor exposure. By the way, such wood was highly valued by wood carvers for it's grain, and ease of carving.
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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