Big Creek

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bbeduhn
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Re: Big Creek

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:21 pm

Dancing Sycamores Cove

I was hoping to get an even higher figure on the tulips I found this past winter. I rushed through the cove a bit in order to hit another big cove. A few mistakes were made. I haven't located my old notes but it appears that I had a clinometer misread on the two tallest tulips. I wondered why they didn't stand out to me after I did my figures. They are not 186' and 178'. The difference between the two trees' heights matches up with my new figures, so a clinometer misread is the most likely culprit.

I took plenty of time and made sure to check out anything I may have missed before. What I didn't take time on was the Dancing Sycamores, themselves. I did a quick shot and wasted no more time on them. Last winter, I spent nearly 30 minutes on them. After finding the errors I had made, I made my way up a side cove and over a ridge to a cove I hadn't seen before. This cove looked quite different. Red maples struck me first. Many topped 120' but none topped 130'. Further up, bitternuts and silverbells stepped up and oaks dominated the low ridges and side coves. well up, a large red oak easily topped 150'. I got a shot from well below the base and hit 151', despite the fact that the tree still had about half of its leaves. I'll try to get back and get a more accurate figure this winter.

Heading back into Dancing Sycamores Cove, I tried to locate the tall sweetgum that I measured last winter to 147.9'. I measured what I thought was the one and hit about 135'. I thought I screwed up on that one as well. It was actually directly behind the one I measured. This cove presents difficulties in determining species because almost all of the trees are skinny rockets. Bark features of tulips and sweetgums are very similar. I had to check for tulip blooms or sweetgum balls or leaves to be certain of the species. That condition, coupled with low light, made it difficult to measure. When I went up high to get a better shot on the sweetgum, I could not distinguish it from the other trees. I had to settle for a close up shot, the best of which yielded 143.6'. I believe it is actually 148' or 149'. I was pretty disappointed but took stock of the other skinny rockets and found another sweetgum that hadn't been measured before. I'd passed it every time I was in that cove but hadn't noticed it before. I got multiple measurements on it just to be certain. It is a new Smokies record at 152.3'! I undermeasured the tallest red elm last year at 135'. It is also a new Smokies record and just shy of the tallest anywhere at 141.0'. The shagbark was undermeasured last year as well. It hits 127'.


Dancing Sycamores Cove updated Rucker
RHI 10 = 145.01' 44.20m
RHI 5 = 156.74' 47.7m

1. tuliptree L. tulipifera 172.5' 52.57m
2. sycanore P. occidentalis 165.5' 50.44m
3. sweetgum L. styraciflua 152.3' 46.42m
4. white basswood T. heterophylla 150.3' 45.81m
5. yellow buckeye A. flava 143.1' 43.61m
6. red elm (slippery) U. rubra 141.0' 42.97m
7. black locust R. pseudoacacia 137.0' 41.75m
8. Biltmore ash F. biltmoreana 132.7' 40.44m
9. chestnut oak Q. montana 128.6' 39.19m
10. shagbark hickory C. ovata 127.1' 38.74m

red elm 141.0' 135.0' 129.0'
shagbark 127.1'
N red oak 126.2' 124.6'
sourwood 87.2'
sycamore 144.7'
black birch 113.0' 105.0' 101.0'
mtn silverbell 107.3'
black oak 118.0'
white basswood 138.0' 132.9'
tuliptree 166.9' 168.0' 167.5' 159.7'
sweetgum 152.3' 143.6' 139.9' 136.1' 137.3' 135.2'
Last edited by bbeduhn on Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Big Creek

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:10 pm

Tree Amigos Cove

Will Blozan discovered the Tree Amigos over a decade ago. I believe all three topped 170' and are positioned in a straight line. A picture has been posted earlier in this thread. The cove is also home to the tallest black birch and previous tallest sycamore. I haven't come across the black birch but have found a fairly tall one. The sycamore has lost a bit over the years but is again climbing and is at just under 160' Another former 160' sycamore is also present. It is now 157.4'.

Tree Amigos

tuliptree L. tulipifera 174.0' 53.03m 164.3' 50.07m 157.2' 47.91m
165.0' 50.29m 158.5' 48.31m 157.8' 48.09m

sycamore P. occidentalis 159.6' 48.64m 157.4' 47.97m 149.4' 45.53m 148.5' 45.26m

Biltmore ash F. biltmoreana 137.5' 41.91m

yellow buckeye A. flava 130.1' 39.65m

N red oak Q. rubra 134.8' 41.08m 129.1' 39.35m

sweetgum L. styraciflua 126.5' 38.55m

chestnut oak Q. montana 127.7' 38.92m

white basswood T. heterophylla 124.4' 37.91m

red elm (slippery) U. rubra 123.6' 37.67m

red hickory C. ovalis 121.1' 36.91m

bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 119.4' 36.39m

black locust R. pseudoacacia 119.6' 36.45m

shortleaf pine P. echinata 114.0' 34.74m

black birch B. lenta 112.3' 34.23m

updated Rucker
RHI 10 = 145.55' 44.36m
RHI 5 = 154.06' 46.95m

1. tuliptree L. tulipifera 177.2' 54.01m
2. sycamore P. occidentalis 162.3 49.47m
3. black locust R. pseudoacacia 148.4' 45.23m
4. Biltmore ash F. biltmoreana 141.7' 43.19m
5. chestnut oak Q. montana 140.7' 42.88m
6. N red oak Q. rubra 138.7' 42.27m
7. black oak Q. velutina 138.4' 42.18m
7. yellow buckeye 138.4' 42.18m
9. sweetgum L. styraciflua 136.6' 41.63m
10.'red maple A. rubrum 133.1' 40.56m

11. white basswood T. heterophylla 124.4' 37.91m
11. red elm (slippery) U. rubra 123.6' 37.67m
12. A beech F. grandifolia 121.4' 37.00m
13. bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 119.4' 36.39m
14. black birch B. lenta 118.4' 36.08m
15. shortleaf pine P. echinata 114.0' 34.74m
16. sourwood O. arboreum 104.2' 31.76m
Last edited by bbeduhn on Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Big Creek

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:42 am

Flats along Big Creek

The flats along Big Creek are full of sycamores, tulips, and sweetgum. They have some other surprises as well. I've reported on some of these areas before but I discovered a good deal more. There is a fair amount of diversity along with the three most common species.

tuliptree L. tulipifera 149.8' 45.65m

sweetgum L. styraciflua 138.0' 42.06m

sycamore P. occidentalis 145.1' 44.22m 142.9' 43.55m

white pine P. strobus 155.3' 47.33m

E hemlock Ts. canadensis 145.4' 44.31m

bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 137.8' 42.00m

yellow buckeye A. flava 137.8' 42.00m

black locust R. pseudoacacia 138.3' 42.15m

white oak Q. alba 134.9' 41.11m 128.8' 39.25m

red elm (slippery) 129.0' 39.32m

pignut hickory C. glabra 129.0' 39.32m

cucumbertree M. acuminata 124.9' 38.06m

A beech F. grandifolia 117.1' 35.69m

A hornbeam C. caroliniana 54.5' 16.61m

Rucker for Big Creek Flats
RHI 10 = 142.55' 43.44m
RHI 5 = 147.74' 45.03m

1. white pine P. strobus 155.3' 47.33m
2. tuliptree L. tulipifera 149.8' 45.65m
3. E hemlock Ts. canadensis 145.4' 44.31m
4. sycamore P. occidentalis 145.1' 44.22m
5. chestnut oak Q. montana 143.1' 43.61m
6. black locust R. pseudoacacia 138.3' 42.15m
7. sweetgum L. styraciflua 138.0' 42.06m
8. bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 137.8' 42.00m
8. yellow buckeye A. flava 137.8' 42.00m
10. white oak Q. alba 134.9' 41.11m

11. pignut hickory C. glabra 129.0' 39.32m
11. red elm (slippery) 129.0' 39.32m
13. cucumbertree M. acuminata 124.9' 38.06m
14. A beech F. grandifolia 117.1' 35.69m
15. black walnut J. nigra 113.8' 34.68m
16. pitch pine P. rigida 102.2' 31.15m
17. black birch B. lenta 100.9' 30.75m
18. yellow birch B. allegheniensis 86.4' 26.33m
19. mountain serviceberry A. bartramiana 63.5' 19.35m
20. A hophornbeam O. virginiana 63.4' 19.32m

21. A hornbeam C. caroliniana 54.5' 16.61m
Last edited by bbeduhn on Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Big Creek

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:20 am

Cove between Dancing Sycamores and Big Branch

This cove lies between two very productive coves so I assumed it would be productive as well. It is, but in a different manner than the other coves. No sycamores are present and tulip, while definitely having a strong presence, does not dominate. Big Branch also lacks tuliptrees in the main part but I suspect the side coves have plenty. Red maple is among the dominant trees. Many top 120', yet none top 130'. Some old growth trees are apparent but most trees are seconf growth. This cove is spaced differently, like a typical old growth forest. It is very open and only the side coves have fairly close spaced trees. Some rich cove species are present. Large bitternuts and yellow buckeyes are common. Just a few basswoods are present. The cove is home to a host of oaks. Red oak and chestnut oak are the most common. I saw just one white oak, which is hard to find in the Big Creek area. One cove in Big Creek has a fair number of white oaks and the flats below Dancing Sycamores and Baxter Creek have a few large white oaks, but they're scarce virtually everywhere else. Black birch grows extremely well. Hickories are mostly uncommon in Big Creek. Bitternuts represent the majority of hickories but I'm finally finding some pignuts, in this cove and along the flats. One red lies in another cove so they must be present in the higher reaches of other coves as well. The largest and tallest red oak requires another visit. It is well up in the cove but it's on a steep slope and it still had about half of its leaves, so I didn't make the climb. I got a 151' shot from well below the base. It could approach 160'.

tuliptree L. tulipifera 152.4' 151.3' 150.4' 149.7' 147.9'
red maple A. rubrum 129.0' 125.0' 124.5'
yelow buckeye A. flava 133.2' 131.4' 128.4' 127.2'
sugar maple A. saccharum 119.1' 116.5'
pignut hickory C. glabra 141.9'
mountain silverbell H. monticola 116.3' 113.7'
black birch B. lenta 114.6' 109.0' 105.4' 105.0'
cucumbertree M. acuminata 127.1'
Biltmore ash F. biltmoreana 127.0'
chestnut oak Q. montana 121.5'
N red oak Q. rubra 151.0' most likely taller
white basswood T. heterophylla 141.7' 135.3'
bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 144.9' 142.1' 140.8' 134.0'

Rucker
RHI 10 = 136.97' 41.74m
RHI 5 = 146.38' 44.61m

1. tuliptree L. tulipifera 152.4' 46.45m
2. N red oak Q. rubra 151.0' 46.02m
3. bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 144.9' 44.16m
4. pignut hickory 141.9' 43.25m
5. white basswood T. heterophylla 141.7' 43.19m
6. yellow buckeye 133.2' 40.60m
7. red maple A. rubrum 129.0' 39.32m
8. cucumbertree M. acuminata 127.1' 38.74m
9. Biltmore ash F. biltmoreana 127.0' 38.71m
10. chestnut oak Q. montana 121.5' 37.03m
Last edited by bbeduhn on Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dbhguru
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Re: Big Creek

Post by dbhguru » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:33 pm

Brian,

Congratulations, another important post showing the exemplary performance of the Great Smoky Mountain cove forests. If you are able to confirm a 160-foot N. red oak, that would be very significant.

The black birches certainly caught my attention. This winter I plan to coauthor a paper with Dr. Joan Maloof on the black birch. We will showcase the species growth capability and compare it to popular Internet sources that describe black birch.

The posts that you have made on RHI have a value well beyond satisfying us NTS geeks. We love the comparisons, but there's a wealth of growth information in the material that is not generally known. I see this daily. We need to seriously discuss publication of your lists.

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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bbeduhn
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Re: Big Creek

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:35 am

Bob,

I'm all for publication of the lists. The problem with that is that not everybody wants their date posted outside of NTS. If all of the measurers agree to it, then it is a possibility.

Kudos on the black birch project! I know that it has been a pet project of yours for years.

Brian

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dbhguru
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Re: Big Creek

Post by dbhguru » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:38 pm

Brian,

Yes, definitely, we have to honor the wishes of the contributors. Maybe some sites could be given coded names - if that would be acceptable to the contributors who don't want exact locations given. The primary objective would be to provide a broad picture of what many of our forested sites are growing these days and to correct the record about species capability across the full ranges of the species we frequently measure. Just a thought. The second object is to strut our tree-measuring prowess. No harm in that.

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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