What would you do? Redwood challenges part 1

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John Harvey
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What would you do? Redwood challenges part 1

Post by John Harvey » Tue May 10, 2016 2:50 am

I figured I would post some scenarios here to gather some opinions and show some of the challenges in wrapping some of the redwoods here in California. Ill start with an easier one and I'll make it tougher from here on out. Truth be told, 98% of the nations largest trees are excluded from nomination to the AF champion tree list because...as Highlander says, there can be only one.

So here we have a tree I'll call, The Floodplain Tree. Myself and fellow BBS contributors Yinghai Lu and Max Forster came upon this tree in Redwood National and State Parks, as Mario likes to say. So I'll start with a couple questions:

1. When does leaf litter, "duff" (fallen needles), debris wash and so on constitute as ground level in your opinion or does it ever?

2. When do you abandon 4.5 feet above the base for a wrap? Lets say a large burl exists at this point or the entire base is a burl(s).

I know what I did to wrap this tree but I'm curious what you would do. Obviously I'm not in the habit of clearing years of fallen needles away from a trees base for many reasons and this tree is nowhere near what I've seen due to the fact it sits on a floodplain and may have it's needles washed clean from time to time. As you can see the tree has lots of burls at breast height and the one side is covered in growth. This side and the back are the most challenging portions as they heavily inflate the wrap and the duff blends the growth into the ground in some spots seamlessly. The burls on the back side are well above 6' tall.
Last edited by John Harvey on Wed May 11, 2016 12:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What would you do? Redwood challenges part 1

Post by Don » Tue May 10, 2016 12:26 pm

I can see that you are proposing a series that promises to challenge.
Taking my own medicine, I chose to use a "delineation tool", but to utilize it to establish a 'best fit' line for the cone that the trees bole defines, starting from the top (or what is available from the photo presented. Choosing the top-down delineation generally does a good job of defining where the tree's buttressing flares away (orange) from the 'linearity of the cone(yellow)'. I took the three delineated Floodplain Tree images, saved them in .jpg format and inserted them in a Powerpoint presentation.
At this point, I propose that taking the circumference/diameter at the approximate location of the orange delineations would provide the best measure of this tree. If a fourth photo were included (think quadrants), it may be helpful. My thinking is that in respecting the tree (and our own humble height limitations), we might consider using a reticled monocular (with tripod mount similar to WIll Blozan's) in conjuction with a TruPulse to obtain a remote measurement of the diameter/circumference. Having four quadrant-ed images could discover/assess any eccentricity of its cross-section.
Practical considerations might include some manner of keeping the four separate orange delineations "matched" (I'm brainstorming here, thinking that several laser pointers could be employed to "placehold" the orange delineations to keep them in the same "plane")
As you go on to more challenging trees, perhaps non-standard forms, additional strategies may be necessitated...; ~ }
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Re: What would you do? Redwood challenges part 1

Post by MarkGraham » Tue May 10, 2016 11:28 pm


For trees with burls I would do it this way:

First, I would use 4.5 feet above the ground as it is, would not brush anything away. For the reasons you mention.

Second, stretch the tape all the way around the tree at the level you have determined is 4.5 feet above ground level. Make the tape tight, no slack. Note the circumference and calculate the diameter as C / pi.

Third, identify the burl that grows furthest out from the trunk and measure this distance, using ruler or calipers. Subtract this distance from the diameter calculated in the second step and multiply the result by pi. This is your "burl less" circumference.

Then one other point, as we know, diameter or circumference at 4.5 feet is one indicator for the massiveness of a redwood tree but diameters at multiple points up the trunk, especially at the point where the trunk assumes a columnar shape (functional diameter) will more accurately predict the mass of the tree. But that is really hard to do so the diameter at 4.5 feet is a decent proxy and it is certainly a uniform way to evaluate sizes of trees.


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Re: What would you do? Redwood challenges part 1

Post by mdvaden » Fri May 20, 2016 8:59 pm


I'd have to show you in a grove my approach. It may vary some from Atkins, but I did a lot of redwood with Chris. We would almost always remove anything out of the way that was needles.

Then what lies beneath? Is it compost? Is it soil? Really didn't seem to matter. Just push down firm on the rest so it compresses somewhat firm, and I'd say we are now dealing with soil.

Burly base?

Sometimes we would decide grade by the ground level 10 feet away from the trunk. Sometimes not. Subjective? Yes - but a very experienced subjective.
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