The Clear Creek Aspen Twins (CO)

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Matt Markworth
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The Clear Creek Aspen Twins (CO)

Post by Matt Markworth » Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:39 am


Here is an interesting pair of quaking aspens near Clear Creek. These were the tallest aspens that I would measure on the trip. The one on the left is a little taller and is 115' x 5'11". The crowns intermix and I only got a girth on the one on the right, which is 6'2". I'm still unsure if each one has a single pith or multiple piths at ground level. Also, I wonder how the growth of the tallest one has been affected by the tree that it is conjoined with.
side by side
side by side
full view
full view
the shorter one
the shorter one
the taller one
the taller one
North facing slope of Clear Creek:

Waterfall on Clear Creek:


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Larry Tucei
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Re: The Clear Creek Aspen Twins (CO)

Post by Larry Tucei » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:20 pm

Love the Creek shot! Larry

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Re: The Clear Creek Aspen Twins (CO)

Post by Don » Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:21 pm

After reviewing your photos of the twin aspen twins...:>),
I also hesitate to assign single-, multi-tree status...there's just enough confusion introduced by aspen's clonal nature. As the Click and Clack brothers intone, not being encumbered by the thought process, my gut reaction is that we're looking at four individual trees with a clonal relationship.

As to the twin's impacts on each others (all four), significant. They would have all been of greater volume with the availability that greater separation would gain them, had they not competed for a)sunlight, b)moisture, c)nutrients, d)or, to borrow a phrase from John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, they'd needed "Room to Move".

As I see more and more of the trees you guys were finding, it's beginning to occur to me that you're finding trees down in the canyons with enough moisture/nutrients available to "reach for the sky", putting their energies into vertical accomplishments, rather than lateral growth preferences (girth).

What a week that was!
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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Re: The Clear Creek Aspen Twins (CO)

Post by Lucas » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:48 am


I didn't think aspen got that tall.

Around here it is lucky to survive a 40 year rotation.

I do remember huge poplars, likely balsam poplar, on the Petite Cascapedia River in QC. One was 3 feet thick and tall but it has been 20+ years.
Last edited by Lucas on Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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Re: The Clear Creek Aspen Twins (CO)

Post by dbhguru » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:47 am


Aspen is highly variable in what it can achieve, dimension wise. You can see entire mountainsides of 30 to 40-foot tall mature aspens in the West. You can see them to 80 feet or so in Wisconsin and Michigan where they've been allowed to grow. However, you can also see them commonly reaching 90 feet in good growing conditions along many Colorado streams, and in places, they exceed 100 feet. Bob Van Pelt measured on in the Pacific Northwest to 120 feet. Matt's Colorado tree reaches 115 feet. These are very exceptional, but 100 feet isn't.

One of the missions of NTS is to develop full dimensional profiles of native species that apply range wide. Obviously, you can't quote a single number for height or diameter and do justice to the subject. Neither can you quote a dimensional range without qualifying it. For example, for mature trees, we could say the height range for aspen is 30 to 120 feet and be correct. But I expect that such a wide range would seem implausible to most people.

We need a single, credible source to provide dimensional data for tree species in the U.S. It needs to be a searchable database with lots of fields. This is what we are now talking about in American Forests. Courtesy of Patty Jenkin's efforts, we'll be getting a briefing tomorrow on a possibility for AF. Presumably, it will have GIS capabilities. Don will be asking the questions on the GIS interface.

Robert T. Leverett
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