Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard, MA

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#1)  Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard, MA

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:40 pm

Hello, ENTs!

Last Sunday and again today I spent a few hours in the woods of northern Harvard, specifically the Blomfelt conservation land. This piece of land lies just west of an old Shaker settlement, and includes the southern portion of a small hill with wetlands and a pond flanking it. The town’s brief description and hand-drawn map mentions there being “big pines” here. Naturally, I had to investigate.

Setting off from my car I had high hopes for this place. Entering the woods I walked through a dense stand of ~110’ white pines, crossed a small wooden bridge, and slowly began climbing the southeastern slope of the hill. Here other tree species, like birches, oaks, maples, pitch pines, and the occasional aspen, make an appearance with white pines. As I reached the crest of the hill I realized that I wasn’t going to find any white pines that we ENTs would consider truly big (for eastern MA, at least), so I turned back and, with what little daylight I had left last Sunday, I decided to focus on the pitch pines.

Growing right next to the trail on the lower half of the hill I found a small cluster of pitch pines that are fiercely competing for light with their cousins, the whites. The first one that I measured was 101.75’ with a CBH of 4.41’. This was the first pitch pine I’ve ever measured over 100’, and, coincidentally, it has almost the exact same dimensions as one that Doug Bidlack measured in Lincoln some two years ago. Here it is:

               
                       
101.75 ft pitch pine - base.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
101.75 ft pitch pine - looking up.jpg
                                       
               

I returned today to see if I could find an even taller Pinus rigida. To the best of my knowledge, the tallest pitch pine measured by an ENT in MA is one in Springfield that stands a mighty 102’ tall, so that’s the number to beat. Well, the second tree that I measured today beat that record, coming in at 104.6’ tall with a CBH of 4.0’.

               
                       
104.6 ft pitch pine - base.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
104.6 ft pitch pine - looking up.jpg
                                       
               

Just to be sure that I had gotten the tallest one, I measured the leaning pitch pine next to the height champ at 100.3’ by 48.9” CBH.

               
                       
100.3 ft pitch pine - leaner.jpg
                                       
               

So there you have it, folks. I’d say that 104.6-footer is probably the tallest pitch pine in Harvard, MA. I have a feeling it could even be the tallest measured pitch pine in the state, at least until Bob or someone else takes it upon themself to find a taller one. :)

Jared

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#2)  Re: Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard

Postby dbhguru » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Jared,

  Wow! You da man! That beats any pitch I know about. I'll update our tallest tree of each species in massachusetts list and post it soon.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest

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#3)  Re: Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard

Postby Bart Bouricius » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:22 pm

Thanks for the post.  Yes I remember years ago with Bob band Will measuring Pitch Pines in Forest Park Springfield.  They were a little shorter, but some had substantial girths as well.  Pitch Pines definitely a gorgeous and Gnarly species.

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#4)  Re: Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard

Postby dbhguru » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:50 am

Jared,

  Please find attached an updated list of tall tree champions in Mass. Note that your name now appears twice. Maybe we can get out together to update some of the others with Brother Ray treating us to ice cream for our heavy labor afterwards.

Bob
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Champion Tall Trees of Massachusetts.xlsx
(49.54 KiB) Downloaded 33 times
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest

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#5)  Re: Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:03 pm

Ho ho ho, ENTs!

This Christmas Santa brought me a very special new toy, an LTI TruPulse 200X. He told me he was very pleased with the tree measuring I have done thus far with my Nikon ProStaff 440 and that he would like for me to be equipped with the most accurate rangefinder on the market on all of my future tree hunting excursions. ☺

Taking advantage of the clear skies and mild temperatures today, I brought my new rangefinder, named Spiffy, to re-measure the tallest known pitch pine in the state. I began by wrapping neon orange ribbon around the trunk 4.5’ above mid-slope. I then walked away from the tree to locations where I could get a clear shot at the top sprig as well as the orange ribbon. With Spiffy mounted on a tripod approximately where I had shot from last time I measured the tree at 104’ 7” tall. This is almost exactly what I had calculated previously using my ProStaff 440 and iPhone clinometer app! Excellent confirmation!

What’s more exciting is that even after confirming my previous measurement using my new equipment I continued to comb the crown for a higher sprig. Santa’s second present to me this year was just that: a fascicle of three needles 105’ above mid-slope! Update your spreadsheets, everyone!

Happy holidays and merry tree hunting, folks.

Jared
Last edited by a_blooming_botanist on Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#6)  Re: Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard

Postby Erik Danielsen » Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:07 pm

Congratulations on your new tool! The new top as well. The LTI units definitely reward patient attention to picking over the details. Maybe you should consider this pitch pine your own true personal christmas tree and make a tradition of remeasuring it around this time every year.

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#7)  Re: Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard

Postby dbhguru » Mon Dec 26, 2016 12:51 pm

Hi Jared,

  Congrats! A 105-foot pitch pines is nothing to sneeze at.  Thanks to you, there's hope for significant tree discoveries in eastern MA.

  Oh yes, Sparky is anxious to meet Spiffy. Sparky wants to start an exclusive 200X club. Elijah has a 200X and so does Doug Bidlack. They have to name their instruments though, Can't have any anonymous members in the club.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest

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#8)  Re: Tall pitch pine in Blomfelt Conservation Land of Harvard

Postby RayA » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:18 pm

Jared,

  Way to go !    (Bob told me he left that one for you to find... didn't take you very long!).

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