National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

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Will Blozan
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National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by Will Blozan » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:24 pm

NTS,

Today on a family hike at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida, I spotted a large loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus) on a swamp margin. I returned later to scope it out and after an awful bushwhack through nasty, mucky swamp and mosquitoes I found the trunk. It was way larger than any other specimen I have seen- including the multiple stemmed trees currently listed on the National Register. This is a massive, single-stemmed tree that far exceeds the dimensions of what I can find on the internet as well as my limited but concentrated scouting when I am in its native range. The massive crown and bulk of this tree should put it way up on the list of giants of the species.
First view of "El Gordo" from trail
First view of "El Gordo" from trail
2- El Gordo.jpg (249.75 KiB) Viewed 1701 times
Huge trunk and tape wrap
Huge trunk and tape wrap
3- tape wrap 40.4 inches dbh.jpg (289.08 KiB) Viewed 1701 times
Me at trunk
Me at trunk
4- Will trunk.jpg (230.33 KiB) Viewed 1701 times
Massive crown structure
Massive crown structure
5- Gordo crown.jpg (252.13 KiB) Viewed 1701 times
The tree scores 237 AF points which would make it a National Co-champion (239 is the largest but a clear double). Trunk diameter is 40.4" and the height is 97' with an average spread of 52' (58' max).

In addition to the wonderful cool springs at this park there is a concentrated effort to restore longleaf pine forest. I took a short walk out one trail and also saw really nice stands of slash pine and sand pine mixed with longleaf. Stands of tuliptree lined some of the streams.
Sand and slash pine mix
Sand and slash pine mix
Sand and slash.jpg (202.43 KiB) Viewed 1701 times
Will Blozan

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Will Blozan
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Re: National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by Will Blozan » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:55 pm

NTS,

For comparison here is a shot of the National Co-champion also in Florida.
Really???
Really???
Bob Leverett,

Add this one to your selection of trees to test the AF group with the pith trace method... Also, photos of the other champs are missing...

Will

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Matt Markworth
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Re: National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by Matt Markworth » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:11 pm

What a Beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Will Blozan
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Re: National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by Will Blozan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:07 am

NTS,

Just for the sake of conversation, this loblolly bay would score a 300 on the TDI-300 index. It sets the bar for the species in all attributes. This suggests to me that there must be larger ones out there. I find it hard to believe that in two of the three past trips to Florida I found a National Champion or co-champion tree with casual observation!

Will

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bbeduhn
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Re: National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:14 am

300 TDI, that is impressive!!!!

It most likely is not truly the largest in every dimension but are there other trees that score 300, or just slightly below for that matter? After we get through the trees of the week we'll have reliable figures for each species to compute TDI.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:56 am

Nice find Will, congrats. It's amazing that you never know what's waiting to be discovered. Larry

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Will Blozan
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Re: National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by Will Blozan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:14 pm

Larry,

Like others I'm sure- when I am in a new area I will focus on a species one at a time (or a few). Before I arrive I will scout the record listing so I know what to look for. Gordonia has been a favorite of mine for several years so I hone in on them when I see them. I suppose I was lucky in spotting this tree (on a trail no less) because I was tuned in and knew what to look for. I also had the guts to go to it in the August Florida heat, bugs, and thickets.

Still, I find it had to believe such a monster has lurked under the noses of park service staff and visitors interested in nature. I did find out today there is a slightly larger single stem girth (131") here in Florida so this size is not unheard of.

Will

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Larry Tucei
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Re: National Co-Champion loblolly bay found today

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:39 pm

Will- Your amazing! The Bugs, Reptiles and heat this time of year make me not even want to go looking for trees in a Forest enviorment. Larry

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