The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

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Will Blozan
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The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:44 am

NTS,

Yesterday I was fortunate to be a part of a team to assess a grove of old-growth Carolina hemlocks for potential treatment feasibility. Hemlock woolly adelgid has taken a toll on this stand but it is fully within the realm of successful preservation. The grove is in a restricted access area of the City of Asheville watershed on a bluff at about 4,400' elevation, surrounded by relic old-growth northern hardwoods and mesic oak forest. Species indicated rich soils.
Overview of stand from parkway
Overview of stand from parkway
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Zoom in of large tree area and waterfall
Zoom in of large tree area and waterfall
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14s.jpg
14s.jpg (133.19 KiB) Viewed 2707 times
Fellow NTS member Josh Kelly invited me, and we and his colleagues Rob Lamb and Jon Shaffer were escorted to the site by a city official, Jim Watkins. Some survey plots had been done in the stand and trees up to around 40" diameter (100 cm) were reported. This is what got our attention as the species rarely makes it to that size.
First tree measured to 218 AF points
First tree measured to 218 AF points
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Oh the density!
Oh the density!
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Josh and I instantly realized we had entered a grove the likes of which we have never experienced. Josh has been in over 40 stands and this one- by far- exceeded anything he had ever seen. Large trees were common. Huge trees- as in never-before-recorded dimensions of girth and volume, were soon discovered. All prior National Champions were crushed- multiple times. The standing biomass of this stand was off the charts! The density and size of the trees were certainly record-setting.
Biomassivity
Biomassivity
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11s.jpg
11s.jpg (178.81 KiB) Viewed 2707 times
12s.jpg
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13s.jpg
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16s.jpg
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17s.jpg
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18s.jpg
18s.jpg (170.68 KiB) Viewed 2707 times
We ended up with two nearly tied National Champions at 234 and 238 big tree points and a new maximum DBH of 48.1 " (122.4 cm). Due to the high elevation the trees were not super-tall but one did reach 103' (114' is the tallest recorded).
Base of 234 AF point tree
Base of 234 AF point tree
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Trunk of 234 point tree
Trunk of 234 point tree
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Largest recorded trunk 12.6' cbh (dead)
Largest recorded trunk 12.6' cbh (dead)
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238 AF point tree 103' tall
238 AF point tree 103' tall
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Base of 238 point tree
Base of 238 point tree
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We believe this discovery will lead to the preservation of the grove. It is under consideration at this time and the documentation of the superlatives should certainly help the case. Just another way accurate measurements and regional comparisons by NTS members can assist in the preservation of rare or superlative species.

Will Blozan

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bbeduhn
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by bbeduhn » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:19 pm

I've been right on the border of the watershed and know of a nice Carolina hemlock grove up there but it's a typical grove. The grove you looked at is superlative in every way! The pics looking up looked like pine at first glance. 12'6" is crazy for a Carolina! They look fairly tall as well, especially for a predominantly western facing aspect.

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:46 pm

I hope you can help to save them!

I suspect that there are lots of wonderful trees in the acreage owned by cities such as Asheville and Greenville and other mountain communities.

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mdvaden
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by mdvaden » Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:47 pm

Hope you find a good plan.

I used to have a pesticide consultant license years ago and phased out of most synthetic or natural control aspects. Just focus on good maintenance these days and in landscaping go with if it lives it lives.

Its irritating when pests balloon out of control in areas.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

Portraits & Weddings - http://www.vadenphotography.com

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dbhguru
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by dbhguru » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:08 pm

Will,

Way to go! What an amazing find. Yes, the value of accuracy to confirming superlatives and aid in their preservation cannot be denied.

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

Devin
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by Devin » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:45 am

Wow thats really exciting. Does anyone have a guess why stands like this one (especially with larger, older trees) have not been decimated by HWA? The trees in photo 13s look impeccable. Hypervirulence? Elevation?

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bbeduhn
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:37 am

Carolina hemlocks are more closely related to the Asian species and have less susceptibility to the adelgid. That said, they are still dying. They just have more resilience. This stand is fairly well isolated so there may not be any adelgids in the stand. The elevation isn't great enough to kill the little buggers off. I don't know the current state of the eastern hemlocks in the watershed. I saw some alive easterns the last time I was in there but that's been about 8 years. Josh and Will probably saw some easterns on the way in.

Edit: They appear to be at about 4200-4400' elevation. If so, it may get cold enough some years to kill the bastards!

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Will Blozan
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by Will Blozan » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:37 am

Devin,

Elevation is high enough to significantly impact HWA. Infestations are currently light but the stand has been hammered by HWA in prior years. Most understory hemlocks are dead.

Will

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Larry Tucei
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:54 am

Will- Wow! Congrats to you Josh and the others involved and I hope all these with be spared and protected. What an amazing grove! Larry

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bbeduhn
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Re: The epic mother-load of Carolina hemlock

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:27 am

I was fortunate enough to join in on the treatment of these hemlocks, documenting this stellar grove.

Carolina hemlock, all heights

104.0' 103.1' 102.9' 101.8' 99.8' 98.4' 97.2' 94.9' 93.1' 93.0'
92.3' 92.1' 91.9' 91.2' 91.1' 89.2' 88.9' 87.9' 87.5' 59.4'

Highlights

10'1" cbh 92.1' h 27.5' spr

10'7" cbh 101.8' h 29.5' spr 236 pts.

candelabra 10'11" cbh 91.2' h

10'7" cbh 91.1' h 41 spr

11'2" cbh snag

12'10" cbh 59.4' h gnarled!
121" carolina hemlock
121" carolina hemlock
dense stand 1
dense stand 1
dense stand 2
dense stand 2
by stream
by stream
candelabra 1
candelabra 1
candelabra 2
candelabra 2
candelabra 3
candelabra 3
big daddy 1 12'10"
big daddy 1 12'10"
big daddy 2
big daddy 2
big daddy 3
big daddy 3
chestnut snag 1
chestnut snag 1
chestnut snag 2
chestnut snag 2
chestnut snag 3
chestnut snag 3
chestnut snag & carolina hemlock
chestnut snag & carolina hemlock

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