Vermont - 19th Century Champion Trees

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Vermont - 19th Century Champion Trees

Post by edfrank » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:56 pm

This is from the old Champion Trees website run by David Yarrow:

19th Century Champion Trees
Man and Nature
by George Perkins Marsh, 1864
scholar, scientist and statesman born in Vermont in 1801
considered "the first ecologist"
for his observations of human impacts on natural environments.
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Library of Congress Card Catalog # 65-11591

Chapter Three: The Woods
American Forest Trees, page 236

The remaining forests of the Northern States and Canada no longer boast the mighty pines which almost rivaled the giant Sequoia of California. And the growth of larger forest trees is so slow, after they attain a certain size, that if every pine and oak were spared for two centuries, the largest now standing would not reach the stature of hundreds recorded to have been cut within two or three generations.[1]

Dr. Williams wrote 60 years ago [on] dimensions of "trees esteemed large in [Vermont]," qualifying his account with the remark that his measurements "do not denote the greatest, which nature has produced of their particular species, but the greatest found in most of our towns."
vermont.JPG (25.96 KiB) Viewed 1049 times
He adds a note that a white pine was cut in Dunstable, New Hampshire in 1736, the diameter of which was seven feet eight inches. Dr. Dwight says a fallen pine in Connecticut was found to measure 247 feet in height, and adds: "A few years since, such trees were in great numbers along the northern parts of the Connecticut River." In another letter, he speaks of the white pine as "six feet in diameter, and frequently 250 feet in height," and states a pine [was] cut in Lancaster, New Hampshire, which measured 264 feet.

Emerson wrote in 1846: "Fifty years ago, several trees growing on rather dry land in Blandford, [Massachusetts] measured, after they were felled . . . 223 feet." All these trees are surpassed by a pine felled at Hanover, New Hampshire about 100 years ago, described as measuring 270 feet.[2]

[1] The growth of white pine, on good soil and open ground, is rather rapid until it reaches the diameter of [two] feet, after which it is much slower. The favorite habitat of this tree is light sandy earth. On this soil, and in a dense wood, it requires a century to attain the diameter of a yard. George B. Emerson, A Report on the Trees and Shrubs Growing Naturally in the Forests of Massachusetts (Boston, 1850, pp. 65-66), says [white] a pine near Paris, "30 years planted, is 80 feet high, with a diameter of three feet."

He also states ten white pines planted at Cambridge in 1809 or 1810, exhibited, in the winter of 1841-42, an average of 20 inches in diameter at the ground, the two largest measuring, at the height of three feet, four feet eight inches in circumference. [H]e mentions another pine growing in a rocky swamp, which, at the age of 32 years, "gave seven feet in circumference at the butt, and a height of 62 feet six inches." This latter I suppose to be a seedling, the others transplanted.

In 1824, a pine tree, so small a young lady carried it a quarter of a mile, was planted near a house in a Vermont town. It was occasionally watered, but received no other special treatment. I measured this tree in 1860, and found it, four feet from the ground, and entirely above the spread of the roots, two feet four inches in diameter. It could not have been more than three inches through when transplanted, and must have increased its diameter 25 inches in 36 years.

[2] Williams, History of Vermont I, 87; Dwight, Travels I, 36, and IV, 21; Emerson, Trees of Massachusetts, p. 61; D. McClure and E. Parish, Memoirs of Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, D.D. (Newburyport, Mass., 1811), p. 56n.

"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

Post Reply

Return to “Vermont”