Oxbow NWR and two putative state champion trees

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#11)  Re: Oxbow NWR and two putative state champion trees

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sat May 28, 2016 3:06 pm

Bart,

Thanks. I spent some time watching five or so young weasels play around what I take to be their den in that old stump. They were climbing around, chasing each other, occasionally startling each other, but when I took a few steps closer they stopped playing and retreated.

Jared
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#12)  Re: Oxbow NWR and two putative state champion trees

Postby DougBidlack » Mon May 30, 2016 10:25 am

Jared,

I had measured a couple of large swamp white oaks in Concord several years ago but I wasn't sure which notebook I used to record the measurements.  Luckily my parents were here this weekend and we decided to visit Walden Pond and the site where the Revolutionary War started (and where the big swamp white oaks are located).  I already knew that one of the trees had died and I think it was the smaller one.  I only made fairly quick measurements of the girth and height and I'd like to go back when the leaves are off and I can spend more time to make better measurements.  Anyway, I ended up with a girth of 14.19' @ 3' 3" and a height of 75.1'.  I measured the girth below a rather large burl and the girth may be slightly less a little lower.  This is the largest swamp white oak I have ever seen in Massachusetts but there are likely some other big ones to be found in Concord, Bedford, Wayland and Sudbury among other places.  Here are a couple pictures I took of the swamp white oaks in April several years back.

The first picture shows the swamp white oak that is now dead in the foreground on the left as well as the one that I measured yesterday.
               
                       
SWO1.jpg
                                       
               


This next picture only shows the tree that I measured yesterday and you can clearly see all the burls on the trunk.
               
                       
SWO2.jpg
                                       
               


Doug

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#13)  Re: Oxbow NWR and two putative state champion trees

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:14 pm

Doug,

You seem to have a knack for knowing where the big trees are in eastern Mass! Like everyone who grew up in this state I have visited the Old North Bridge and surrounding area, but never with an eye for the trees. I’ll be eager to know what the final measurements are of that big SWO when you obtain them!

Just yesterday I had occasion to take an afternoon walk in the Bolton Flats Wildlife Management Area, which is just upstream (south) of Oxbow NWR and straddling Route 117 in Lancaster. Having pulled off into the parking area on the south side of the road, I set off down a tractor road that borders a series of cornfields. After walking a mile or so, I caught sight of a large, “spready” swamp white oak on the other side of the field. The trunk is well concealed within a honeysuckle, knotweed, and grape vine thicket, but I knew it must have some substantial girth. Worthy of further investigation, I carefully walked around the field, being mindful of the baby corn plants. It just so happens that there is a large, fallen branch that can serve as a passageway through the thicket to the base of the tree with only a minimal amount of bushwhacking involved. Once I was at the base of the tree it wasn’t difficult to measure the girth; the ground is quite level and there are no deformities of the trunk to avoid. There is, however, a large split in the tree that extends down to about 5 feet above ground level. I’m guessing it’s the result of a lightning strike or perhaps that's where that large, fallen limb once grew from. With the girth measured, I took the best straight-up laser shot I could for a minimum height measurement and then ventured out of the thicket to get height and crown spread measurements. From a vantage point in the cornfield it was easy to shoot the top sprig, but seeing the base of the trunk through the thicket was impossible. So, I used the lowest reference point I could find on the tree that I was able to see/access once inside the thicket again.

Here are a few photos of the tree:
               
                       
Bolton Flats SWO - full.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
Bolton Flats SWO - crown.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
Bolton Flats SWO - trunk split.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
Bolton Flats SWO - trunk base.jpg
                                       
               


And its champion-deposing measurements:

Height: 63.2’
CBH: 186.4” (15.5’)
Average crown spread: 78.7’
Big tree points: 269.3

Jared
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#14)  Re: Oxbow NWR and two putative state champion trees

Postby ElijahW » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:24 pm

Jared,

That's a whopper of a tree.  How is its health, other than the trunk injury?  

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks
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#15)  Re: Oxbow NWR and two putative state champion trees

Postby Lucas » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:44 am

Image

I like it.

A gnarly old warrior Ent.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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#16)  Re: Oxbow NWR and two putative state champion trees

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:10 pm

ElijahW wrote:Jared,

That's a whopper of a tree.  How is its health, other than the trunk injury?  

Elijah


Elijah,

It sure is a whopper! Aside from the trunk injury its health seems to be good, though I'm no tree doctor. It's got several dead limbs still attached to the trunk and a few lying on the ground, but many more with lush foliage. When I was walking around the trunk with my d-tape I tapped on the trunk and it sounded a bit hollow, at least on one side of the split. Might be a bit rotten inside, but what do I know?

Lucas wrote:Image

I like it.

A gnarly old warrior Ent.


Lucas,

Now that I think about it, the trunk injury is probably a battle-axe wound from an Ent skirmish.

Jared
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