Blue Spruce around Telluride

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Matt Markworth
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Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by Matt Markworth » Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:01 pm

NTS,

At ~8,750' in elevation Telluride is a bit lofty for really tall blue spruce, but farther down the valley there are some nice trees. I generally think of 7,000' - 8,000' elevation as the best zone for tall blue spruce. Despite the lack of big/tall trees, Telluride is simply magical. I spent a week there hiking the trails and staring at the mountains and slopes painted in aspens (it never gets old).

First up is a tree near Sawpit that was recently added as a national co-champion. The tree was found/tape-dropped by a local arborist a couple years ago and the girth and height measurements from then are very close to what I got this year.

Blue spruce: 12.6' x 153.5'
Elevation: ~7,900'
T BP1.jpg
T BP2.jpg
Next up are two trees near Fall Creek, which flows into the San Miguel River approximately 13 miles west of Telluride.

Blue spruce: 9.73' x 145.5'
Elevation: ~8,050'
T BP4.jpg
Blue spruce: 10.07' x 143'
Elevation: ~7,650'
T BP3.jpg
Lastly is a tree at higher elevation in a different valley, along the Dolores River between Ophir and Rico. This blue spruce is significant for being more than 12' in girth at an elevation above 9,000'. It's short and has a lot of taper, but still very impressive for this elevation.

Blue spruce: 12.23' x 80'
Elevation: ~9,150'
T BP5.JPG
Also, to give a flavor for some of the sights around Telluride, here are some photos starting with a photo looking eastward from Town Park. The remaining photos were taken during the hike from Telluride up to Blue Lake. The photos are in order of ascending elevation starting at ~8,750' and ending at ~12,200'.
T 1.jpg
T 2.JPG
T 3.JPG
T 4.JPG
T 5.JPG
T 6.JPG
Matt

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dbhguru
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by dbhguru » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:41 pm

Matt,

Super report. Super trees. I'm envious, but I'm also amazed at what the Colorado blues are turning out to be. It is so very much more impressive in its natural environment than what I see as cultivars. Can you post your measurements to the Cadre Forum, especially the co-champion blue?

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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Matt Markworth
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by Matt Markworth » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:07 pm

Bob,

Yep, definitely!

The fact that we have five blue spruces within the 3% rule of each other is just incredible. I think it's a testament to our ever increasing understanding of the species and a good example of how the AF formula can provide a good comparison of taller trees vs. girthier trees.

Now that I've measured the Sawpit tree we can claim that cadre members have measured all five of the co-champions. Very cool!

Matt

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DougBidlack
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by DougBidlack » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:28 am

Matt,

can you list those five blue spruces with their measurements? I'm sure we'd all like to see what you see all together.

Doug

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Don
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by Don » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:08 pm

Matt-
Great photos of what had to be an enjoyable hike...well done!
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
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Don
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by Don » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:19 pm

Matt-
With your mention of the five co-champions, I wonder if we have kept current with Aaron Kimple or others at the Mountain Studies Institute? I recall their interest in our findings! In any case, good work!!
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by Matt Markworth » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:01 pm

Don,

The MSI folks are great! I think our data on trees in the San Juans fits nicely with their stated mission. I remember some of those conversations took place during the old growth conference in 2014, and I'm not sure if they were continued during the cadre training in 2015. If we find out there is serious interest and how the data might be able to help them, that's probably all I would need to put forth the time for a nice report.

Doug,

Good idea!

With some trees having multiple measurements over the last couple years, and also with rounded numbers, you'll notice some very slight differences in points/measurements between the AF list and the NTS reports.

324 point CO tree - 150" x 166' x 32.5'
- http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=6501

323 point UT tree - 192" x 122' x 35'
- Daniel (in cadre and NTS) measured in 2015

323 point CO tree - 137" x 180.6' x 23.25'
- http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f ... =10#p33947

319 point CO tree - 155" x 155.5' x 33.5'
- http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=6508

315 point CO tree - 152" x 154' x 37'
- http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7844

Matt

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DougBidlack
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by DougBidlack » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:06 am

Matt,

thanks for that great line-up of blue spruces! So, how about maximum dimensions for the species. Is the 192" UT tree the greatest girth ever accurately measured? Is the 180.6' tree the tallest and is 37' the greatest crown spread yet measured?

Doug

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by Matt Markworth » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:03 am

Doug,

Definitely for height, the second tallest-known is 170'. Probably for girth, I don't know of any that have been found that are bigger. Crown spread potential hasn't really been defined.

Matt

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DougBidlack
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Re: Blue Spruce around Telluride

Post by DougBidlack » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:31 pm

Matt,

it's great to have such good info on blue spruce. Hopefully we'll get to the day when we know every species this well or even better like some of the beasts in Cali where even volumes have been calculated.

Doug

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