New MA state champion yellow birch

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#1)  New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:57 pm

Welcome to 2017, all ye Native Tree folk!

For all the talk about how 2016 was such a bad year, there was at least one positive event that deserves recognition: the discovery of the new Massachusetts state champion yellow birch.

In doing what we do best (i.e., wandering around old second growth and old growth stands), Ray Asselin, Arnie Paye, and I found ourselves in Monroe State Forest in early December. Our mission was, and continues to be, to evaluate the area’s potential old growth stands. There are surely some nice, large individuals scattered about, but it was this big yellow birch that stopped us all in our tracks.

               
                       
MA champion yellow birch.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
MA champ yellow birch - looking up.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
MA champ yellow birch - backside.jpg
                                       
               

I’ve never seen a yellow birch with such old, weathered bark and with such a prominent root flare. There are other yellow birches in this forest that display advanced age characteristics, but our new champion does so on another level.

I took preliminary measurements of the tree on our first visit, and subsequently I have taken the time to measure the tree as accurately as I can. The final set of measurements that Ray and I came up with is:

Height: 86.8’
CBH: 12.78’
Average crown spread (of 10 spokes): 57.4’

Big tree points: 254.2

May 2017 bring many tree discoveries for all of you!

Jared

P.S. For another account of this discovery with additional photos, check out Ray’s blog at neforests.com.
Last edited by a_blooming_botanist on Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2)  Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby Erik Danielsen » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:34 pm

Wow! That's a fantastic trunk. 2016 was a good year for Betula, indeed- new max height for B. lenta, your beautiful allegheniensis here, and I think Tom and Elijah might have found an exceptional gray birch? 2016 was quite nice for trees, perhaps to balance out the human events. If so, that bodes well for 2017- already I've been in a car accident and had my basement flooded with sewage and we're just three days in, so I'm sure the forests are going to offer up some exceptional trees this year to even things out.

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#3)  Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby Lucas » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:10 pm

I like it. Great form and setting.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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#4)  Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby RayA » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:02 pm

Jared posted some good photos of the new champ. I would like to add just one more, of the tree's base. He's in the shot, so readers can get a greater appreciation of the size of this tree.

               
                       
IMG_1050.JPG
                                       
               

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#5)  Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby wisconsitom » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:26 am

Impressive allegheniensis!  Keeping in mind this species predilection towards starting life atop a rotting stump or log, it's quite common to see large old yellopw birch "standing on stilts" the old stump or log having long since rotted away.  But this is a nice one and I agree that the form is great.

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#6)  Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:47 pm

wisconsitom wrote:Impressive allegheniensis!  Keeping in mind this species predilection towards starting life atop a rotting stump or log, it's quite common to see large old yellopw birch "standing on stilts" the old stump or log having long since rotted away.  But this is a nice one and I agree that the form is great.

Tom,

Thanks! You're right that yellow birch seems to have a tendency to start life on top of something else. In the area of the new champ we've seen a good number of yellow birches and hemlocks perched atop boulders of varying sizes. In some cases the trees have grown over their perch to such an extent that it's barely visible anymore. As far as I can tell, the champion yellow is not on top of a rock, but it could well have been on a nurse log that has long since disintegrated.

Jared
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#7)  Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby George Fieo » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:09 pm

Congrats to all involved in the discovery of this fine beast of a tree. It's a beauty!!! I've yet to find a mature specimen of Betula alleghaniensis here in southeastern Pa., although i have only seen them on two different sites. Max height in the 60's. Always in the bottoms of spring fed streams. I'm curious as to where the slope position is for the new Ma. champ?

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#8)  Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Postby RayA » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:12 am

George,

 The birch is in a stream valley along with plenty of other yellow birches; it's upslope from the stream, perhaps 100 yds or so. We just discovered another beauty, 10.0 cbh x 77', as well as a black birch (B.lenta)  8.7  cbh x 78'. The black birch is surely well over 200 years old, and I believe the yellow is as well.

               
                       
P1020641 Y Birch 10.0cbh.JPG
                       
Arnie Paye, at Yellow Birch, 10.0 cbh
               
               


               
                       
P1020650 B Birch 8.7cbh.JPG
                       
Black Birch, 8.7 cbh
               
               

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