|| Colby Rucker
| Friday, June 21, 2002 1:32 AM
So that 62 foot error on a white oak did get your attention! Of
we've come across some surprisingly tall trees of various
species, so I
always hesitate to say that any reported height is impossible,
factors often point to the likelihood of serious errors.
The new Md. champion white oak is said to be 22-4 x 102 x 83,
perfectly reasonable at first glance. We also read that it's 25
feet from a
farmhouse built in 1820. I'd expect an old farmhouse to be on a
piece of ground, with no advantageous topographical or
influences. Fallen limbs yielded seven cords of wood, so it's
The trunk is decayed and leans from the house, but the tree
over. From that, I'd guess the big trunk is short, with a low,
heavy-limbed canopy. Therefore, I'm skeptical about the 102
I recall my father talking about warships. There were three
firepower, speed, and armor. You could have any two, but not all
Cruisers and battleships had firepower, but the cruiser traded
speed, etc. The same approach can be applied to trees. The tree
its energies to height, spread or girth, but it usually can't
three. Tuliptrees grown in the open can have a trunk four or
thick, and a ninety foot spread, but the height will be fairly
114, with multiple arching down to twig scale all across the
Forest-grown white oaks, like northern reds, can have handsome
dominating a good chunk of woodland atop a big clear trunk, but
will be around 98-111, and that's it. Any twig that gets up
companions will develop side branches, moderating upward growth,
slender neighbors are forced up, and an even top is maintained.
many twig ends, the energies of the tree go in many directions,
least of all
That 200 foot Alabama basket oak was doubtful, not just because
had ever broken the c2 barrier, but because it supposedly had a
spread. With that much spread, the tree would have had little
and no reason (or sufficient concentration of energy) to strive
The big white pines on our list are all surprisingly similar, or
consistent with the warship example. Within the productive life
of the tree
it can lay down a certain number of board feet, either short and
long and skinny. The one factor that's needed to do better than
environment. Chase Creek and Mohawk Trail don't get eighty
rainfall, but soil and exposure can be a big advantage.
Of the tallest ten species at Chase Creek, eight come from site
1, which has
northern or eastern exposures. The soils are shared with glade
maidenhair fern, broad beechfern, Collinsonia, pawpaw,
snakeroot, mayapple, bloodroot, etc. Add what may be the
on the Maryland coastal plain, and you've got a cove hardwoods
machine, to use your MTSF phrase.
So, again, things come down to logic and consistency in the
where my title for this e-mail comes in - "130 club."
A couple of months
ago I thought CC had a chance to catch MTSF if I could get a
better read on
a mid-slope black oak after two years of growth. About then you
with another winner, and MTSF went to 130.80, just behind Belt
Cook had 130.03, leaving CC back at 129.48.
Two days ago I walked over to site 1, and ended up at an
that had oaks and some decent tuliptrees instead of all chestnut
scarlet oak. A small ravine flanked the terrace, and a low slope
the north facing side had lots of pawpaw, black snakeroot, etc.
black oak on this site was 10' 2.5" cbh. It was impossible
to see anything
through the pawpaws, so I ran the pole to 19-9.5, which set up a
height of 135.6'.
The black oak is shorter than that Belt Woods giant that went
taller than the next best at Belt, or anywhere else in the east.
black oaks, the form is more heavy-handed than symmetrical, but
That brings Chase Creek black oaks up 7.1 feet for a big ten
130.19. That's only third place in the 130 club, with very
little chance of
catching MTSF, but it's select company. Most importantly, the
location, location, location holds true, with exposure and
right on the mark.
I've always thought that our numbers are more than just a
Almost everything we're doing is breaking new ground, but I
starting to see some scientific insights from the numbers. What
seems to be
needed is to record more data regarding soils, exposures,
etc. This suggests that the sites of many of our old records
need to be
revisited, and forest profiles created. I'm not sure how much
more data is
needed, but any additional information would allow our numbers
evaluated in a more useful context. Creating detailed forest
be a big order, but I think Jess shows much promise in this
Enough chatter for now.