How old are these huge Beech trees?

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#1)  How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby John Harvey » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:40 pm

Anyone out there know alot about Beech trees? I know that in my hunting I rarely find "Large ones". Thier not known to reach a great circumference and are slower growers. Below I have a photo of a Beech that is 14'7" CBH and well over 100' tall. This is by far the largest Ive come across. Any idea on the age of the tree? I also found a couple that are over 11' CBH and very tall.
Attachments
Mulica Hill beach (1).jpg
Tape for second tree
Mulica Hill beach.jpg
Second tree
American beech 5.jpg
the tape for first tree
american beech 3.jpg
From a distance 14'7"
american beech 3.jpg (30.91 KiB) Viewed 4327 times
American beech 1 14ft7in 300yr old.jpg
up close
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#2)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby John Harvey » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:42 pm

Let me specify, American Beech. I realise Euro B eech and Copper Beech ect get much larger, faster.
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#3)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby edfrank » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:10 pm

John,

There really isn't a good way to tell.  American beech could get that fat in as little as 80 years or so, or it could be much older.  The bark of many tree species changes with age.  So some sense of the age of the trees might be gained by looking at bark character.  Beech, unfortunately. remains smooth its entire lifetime.  Beech trees also tend to get hollow with age, so core data from them is limited.  They have been documented to 366 based upon basic ring counts, but could potentially grow older.  In the generally open area shown, I would not expect the trees to be of any great age.  Sorry, just my opinion.

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#4)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby PAwildernessadvocate » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:36 am

Beech are shade-tolerant, so can hang out for decades in a forest understory without getting very big (while of course getting older at the same time). Then when a canopy gap opens up in their immediate vicinity, letting more sunlight in, they can then take off and shoot up suddenly.

From the photos you've posted of this particular tree, however, I get the sense it germinated and grew not in a forest understory but more of a full sunlight scenario. So I will guess that it is less than 200 years old. But I know I could be wrong.
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#5)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby djluthringer » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:15 am

John,

The largest forest grown American beech I've measured is 16ft CBH x 120+ft high in the Walnut Creek Gorge in Erie County, PA.  That is way above & beyond what I usually call a large beech at 11ft CBH or greater, of which I've only measured a handful.  Your beech is an absolute beauty, I wouldn't be surprised if it easily went over 200 years old, but like Ed says, there really isn't a good way to tell by just looking at them.  I've looked at nice beech here at Cook Forest in old growth areas and would've easily said they'd go over 125, but after ring counts we had that particular one go into the 225+ year range, totally blew me away.  They're just incredibly difficult to get a good guess on their age because they rarely show it in their bark.  

Where did you find this tree?

Dale

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#6)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby John Harvey » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:08 pm

DJ,

The smaller tree is in a city park in Mullica Hill NJ. The larger tree is actualy on the outskirts of an old growth forest (Saddlers Woods), here in Jersey.
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#7)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby adam.rosen » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:34 pm

There is an AMerican Beech in the yard of a house my parents own. The house dates to 1880 so I assume the Beech is that age as well.  It is one of the largest trees in the city of Rochester, NY.  I have measured the circumfrance at breast height to 218 inches.  On the flat pavement of the city, I was able to use the "stick method" to get a height of 100 feet.  That makes sense as it towers above the neighborhood.  City grown tree, reached that size in 130 years.  That's consistent with red oaks and a silver maple in this erie canal neighborhood.  Nothing is older than 1860, but several trees have circumfrences approaching 20 feet.  Impossible to date a beech tree.  Under the right conditions they grow so fast!
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#8)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby Larry Tucei » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:30 pm

Johnny,  One of my favorite species. Beech trees have such a  beautiful form and the leave litter is fantastic. I really enjoy a Forest that has multiple Beech in one area it makes for such stellar scenes. I can't imagine the Forest without them! Your tree is a whopper!   Larry
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#9)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby John Harvey » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:54 pm

Thanks Larry, Im a big fan of the Beech too. Its nice to have that smooth white trunk to break up the monotony in a forest. Of course thats if they are not coverd in graffiti. Ive actualy been taking pictures of the graffiti when I see it, some crazy stuff people have carved into trees, alot of very old carvings as well from the 60s and 50s that Ive found. Even some neat artistic stuff. Makes me stop and think, I wonder if Bill and Kathy really are still together from the 60s....The newer graffiti is more like Alice loves Amber and Ken loves Joe but anyway to each his/her own. As much as I enjoy reading them, I wish they werent all marked up like that.
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#10)  Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?

Postby edfrank » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:20 pm

John,

There actually has been several articles and book written about tree carvings - also known as arborglyphs.  There is a forum I created for them on this BBS http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewforum.php?f=231  but it has had few posts.

Ed
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