Massachusetts sassafras query

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#1)  Massachusetts sassafras query

Postby AndrewJoslin » Sun Jul 17, 2016 3:33 pm

I just saw a post on the New England Native Plants facebook group about a tall sassafras found in the Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, Mass. The reporter suggested a height over 100' but I think that figure represents enthusiasm more than reality, height measurement was an estimate.

I spent way too much time searching the NTS site and internet in general for data on Massachusetts sassafras trees, no luck. Any clues on where to find height and or "state champ" sassafras data for Massachusetts?

Thanks,
-Andrew

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#2)  Re: Massachusetts sassafras query

Postby RayA » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:17 am

Andrew,

  As far as I know, the Mass state champion sassafras is/was located in Taunton, last measured in 1975. The stats then were 118" cbh,  056' high,  46' avg spread,  186 points.

The MA state list is old, and wasn't being kept up to date. The DCR forester who now has responsibility for the list would like to bring it up to date, but he can't devote much time to that pursuit, so it will take time to correct it. I believe he'd be happy to get current info from NTS measurers. Brother Bob has been sending him some updates on a number of species.

The MA list also shows that Connecticut's champ (2002) was 166C, 078H,  058ACS,  259 points.
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#3)  Re: Massachusetts sassafras query

Postby AndrewJoslin » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:59 am

Thanks Ray! I thought it was in the Taunton area. Much appreciated.
-AJ
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#4)  Re: Massachusetts sassafras query

Postby Erik Danielsen » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:29 pm

Andrew, I'd suggest that while the referenced height may not have been accurate, 95-105' for a sassafras somewhere in MA seems entirely possible and even likely. Here in NYS specimens have been measured exceeding 100' at similar latitude. The "state champ" would of course inevitably be a much wider but shorter tree.
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#5)  Re: Massachusetts sassafras query

Postby AndrewJoslin » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:23 pm

Agreed Erik. I have the coordinates of the tree and will measure it. My skepticism is more about people making height estimates in the field.
-AJ
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#6)  Re: Massachusetts sassafras query

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:19 pm

Andrew,

I realize I'm joining the discussion over a year after it was initiated, but I'm curious to know if you ever investigated that allegedly tall sassafras in the Blue Hills Reservation. Earlier this year I found some mature, forest-grown sassafras here in Harvard at about 80' tall, and even broke 90' on a tree in Willard Brook State Forest in Ashby (4.9' CBH x 91.3'). I would agree with Erik that while it can be difficult to estimate heights, 100' should be possible for the species in MA.

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