Eastern Cottonwood in southern Michigan

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Eastern Cottonwood in southern Michigan

Post by edfrank » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:37 pm

Mr. Frank,

I love your website! I have browsed through many of the selections that you have on tree data. I have a strong background in forestry and recently while doing work with an organization called MNFI, I found a large tree that I wanted to show to you'all. Its a picture of an eastern cottonwood, by far, the biggest tree I have seen of this species, also known as populus deltoides. It was growing in far southern Michigan, on alluvial soils, within 15 feet of the raisin river. Take a look at the photo below.

Anyway, there is very little trunk taper from the base to the top. It would have taken about 5 or 6 people probably to stretch arms and touch around it. I realize that it is a double tree, but the split comes above breast height DBH. Its probably about 90 feet tall, and the trees leaf area, or the amoun of total tree volume is very high. I did not take time to determine circumference, or height.. I believe that it is the biggest cottonwood in this county for sure, and maybe in all of southern Michigan? Show it to your guys and see if they are interested in measuring. I can GPS the site for you, so that it is easy to get to.

I hope you guys like this, and hope that you are interested in looking at closer. Its truly a huge tree for this specimen! I hope to hear back from you.

Dan Morris
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Re: Eastern Cotonwood in southern Michigan

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:36 pm

Cool! I wonder if that is Monroe County? I used to live in Monroe County and worked at Sterling State Park for a couple of seasons. We had tons of cottonwoods in that park (lots of cleanup to do following big storms). I would be interested to know where this specific tree is. I still have family out there so might try to go see it sometime.
Last edited by PAwildernessadvocate on Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Will Blozan
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Re: Eastern Cotonwood in southern Michigan

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:51 pm

Mr. Morris,

Very nice trees! Definitely twins and should not be considered a single specimen.


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Re: Eastern Cotonwood in southern Michigan

Post by morrisd28 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:24 pm

Thanks for the responses gentleman. The tree is located in Lenawee County. It is south of 223 on Crockett Road. The tree is roughly 10 miles or so from Ohio. It is an example of a tree that takes excellent site conditions, and a distinct amount of time to grow to a size that large. The most impressive features of this cottonwood circumference at 5 ft, and then the total volume of the tree on the right in the picture. I would say that "branches" at 75 feet tall are about 16" in diameter, and the main trunk on the right in the photo is still 24" in circumference.

Finally, Will, thanks for the clarification on the trunks being two trees, and not one. That makes sense as well, for obvious reasons.

Dan Morris

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Re: Eastern Cotonwood in southern Michigan

Post by DougBidlack » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:09 pm


very nice trees and I have to say that I'm interested in visiting them. I've been to the River Raisin a couple of times but farther upstream in Washtenaw County. There is some conservation area there...possibly the Michigan Nature Association.

I wonder if you've seen the two older posts on the Lower Huron Metropark by Will. He measured some huge cottonwoods there and that got me excited about visiting the site last Christmas vacation when I went to see my parents. Here is a nice 16.2' x 129' cottonwood and my wife Ellen.
The tree is probably a little taller since I was just shooting straight up. In late February of this year I spent several days in Lower Huron Metropark in hopes of measuring the tallest 10 and fattest 10 trees of every species present. I still have quite a long ways to go since I'm also doing Willow Metropark and Oakwoods Metropark which are just downstream from Lower Huron Metropark. Here is one shot of some cottonwoods in Lower Huron from late February.
I met guy named Dave on Belle Isle while I was measuring trees and he was identifying trees. We met up at a later date to check out some trees at the same site when the leaves were down and we were hoping to visit a homeowner near where he lived in St. Clair County but we ran out of time. This homeowner was supposed to have a 250" Bur Oak growing in their yard. Well, Dave checked the place later on and he did find some nice bur oaks but none over 250". However, he did find a single trunk cottonwood that he measured to 305" and we're thinking that this tree was misidentified as a bur oak.

I guess the bottom line of my post is that there are a number of nice-sized cottonwoods in southeastern Michigan and it would sure be nice to sort them all out!


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Re: Eastern Cotonwood in southern Michigan

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:30 pm

That's a hell of a cottonwood, even if it is a double-trunk. It looks from the photo as if it's in a flood plain. Appears to be a lot of silt lying over the surfaces of the tree and surrounding stuff.

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