Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

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Larry Tucei
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Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:26 pm

Brian, If you get to the Middleton Oak a cookie was cut from one of the limbs that fell off a couple of years ago. Vic Shelburn back in 09 was getting the cookie aged I wonder what happened with that? http://groups.google.com/group/entstree ... d528?hl=en I'll see if I can contact Vic. We all were curious as to the age of the tree the limb cut would help narrow its age down. I would guess in the 300 year old range but I've learned many things from NTS- great size doesn't always mean great age. I've measured the rowed Live Oaks at Oak Alley and got from 29' 11" to 16' 3" CBH. These were all planted around the same year time period about 280-290 years ago. What a large difference in growth rates must be genetics. I would love to measure the Angel Oak and the Middleton Oak. The next time I get up your way I must make my way to Middleton and to the Angel Oak. Both are beautiful trees and are as big as any Live Oaks I've seen! Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by dbhguru » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:28 pm

Larry,

Nobody knows the species like you do. I hope you can make it to both of them and get up to date measurements.

Bob
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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bbeduhn
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:02 am

Larry,
So it appears that the cookie never left Middleton. Let me know if you hear anything from Vic. I'm heading to the coast on Saturday. I'll do my best to make it to Middleton. It's a little steep for admission but they've got extensive gardens so it may be well worth it, especially if they do still have the limb cookie.
Brian

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eliahd24
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by eliahd24 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:39 am

I visited the Middleton oak in 2011 and emailed Vic afterwards. I do believe that he counted a mere 90ish rings. Hard to believe, but that's what he told me.

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eliahd24
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by eliahd24 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:42 am

Also- when I visited I skipped admission by planning a "meeting" directly with their VP of Horticulture. His name is Sidney Frazier. Play up your role with NTS and the Middleton Oak Project. He was a very friendly guy and after letting me in, he allowed me to peruse the grounds at my pleasure and welcomed me back any time. His email is sfrazier(at)middletonplace.org

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bbeduhn
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:49 pm

I've already e-mailed Sidney so we'll see about a freebie. I'll still go even with the $25 tag.

The first house was built in 1705. I imagine that's about when the tree was planted. It could have been naturally occurring but I suspect it was planted somewhere in the very early 18th century. That would place it at about the same estimate as the Angel Oak, give or take a few decades.

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eliahd24
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by eliahd24 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:56 pm

Though the Middleton Oak is impressive, it can't hold a candle to the Angel Oak in my opinion. I wish I could have seen Middleton in person during it's glory days before it lost that giant limb....

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by Larry Tucei » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:03 pm

All, I emailed Vic Shelbourne the other day and this was his response on the Cookie. "As for the Middleton oak, the cookie showed a ring count of less than 200 years (about 190) for a limb less than 20 feet off the ground and near the main stem. Based on those data, it would seem that the Middleton oak is NOT nearly as old as people have believed—300-400 yrs plus which people conjecture, It may be barely 200 which I think would surprise a lot of people. Live oaks just grow a lot faster than people realize. I have yet to find someone to corroborate the ring count (except students) so I have not advertised that fact. SO that is where we stand. The 6” thick cookie is about 2 feet by 3 ft in diameter (oblong) and must weigh over 100 lbs. It is not going anywhere in our wood shop! " Larry

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bbeduhn
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:43 am

Upon further research, two dates stand out for me. 1741 was the year the gardens were started. It would seem logical that the oak was planted in that year or shortly thereafter. Given its prominent location, it would seem that it was planted. Another date is 1786, when Michaux visited. This seems more arbitrary but does jibe fairly well with Larry's guess of just barely 200, 226 to be exact. these are just guesses but appear to be plausible. The oak is fairly vibrant in appearance, indicating some degree of youth but also isn't putting on girth, and indication of greater age. The Angel Oak appears to be older but is certainly putting on girth somewhat rapidly for its age. It's a mystery for now but it is obvious that it isn't in the 400 year old range.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Middleton Oak and Angel Oak

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:40 pm

Brian, That was an age estimate that Vic Shelbournes team from University of Clemson came up with. I believe they are still getting more opinions on that. I would have guessed the Middleton Oak to be between 200-300 years old. I was not surprised by the age estimation due to measuring Live Oaks these last few years. But 6 years ago I to would have thought that a tree of its size would be well over 300-400 years old. So many factors influence growth rates. One thing for sure Live Oaks have faster growth rates than previous thought. I have learned from NTS and experience that estimations can be very wrong. Hopefully Neil Pederson will weigh in on this he is one our experts on tree ring study. Larry

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