Delaware trees measured today
  Feb 21, 2007 20:54 PST 

Today Meg Varnes and I visited several of Delaware's state Champion trees. As most of you know, Delaware is mostly coastal plain with a dash of piedmont in the northern part of NewCastle County. The area we were in lies in the Piedmont portion near Wilmington and north. I think the highest elevation was 330' or so. Delaware seems to have a so so champion tree program with little interest. Meaning that the champs are in public parks and arboretums mostly with fewer trees being reported from private property. The first park we visited was Rockwood. Built in 1851 by a Quaker merchant, it was nicely planted and also retained some of the original woods.


rockwood_black_gum.jpg (98817 bytes)
Rockwood Black Gum
rockwood_weeping_beech.jpg (96535 bytes)
 Rockwood Weeping Beech
rockwood_basswood.jpg (84493 bytes)
Rockwood Basswood

Hemlock                 11x83.1
this tree was originally listed at 11.8 cbh but a codominate leader has come off the tree.
European larch        7.6x78.0
American elm          12.9x82.6
Atlas cedar              11.5x61.9
Black gum                12.9x80.4   very nice specimen
Big leaf magnolia      7.5x60.3
Blackhaw viburnum 3.5x29.4 @2.5' a new champ, as one was not listed
Weeping E. beech    9.8x59.9
Basswood                13.8x72.2 interesting fluted base
Tulip poplar              12.3x128.3
Monkey Puzzle champ had died and been removed : (

The next spot we stopped was Bellevue State Park

Not a lot to see here tree wise. The state champ red buckeye appeared to be a Horsechestnut (sticky buds) They had a Austrian pine labeled as a red pine. and they listed a little leaf linden as being native??

Bellevue_horse_chestnut.jpg (96921 bytes)
 Bellevue Horse Chestnut?

The Austrian pine was a three trunked tree branching at 8" it was not a coppice. The stems were 6.3 cbh the 8" mark was 13.3 cbh and it was 66.2' tall.
We will check the bloom on the buckeye /horsechestnut for verification, but it was 10x62.6

a Tulip poplar growing near the mansion was 12.8x106.4

The next stop was in search of a laurel oak. I have never seen a laurel oak this far north, but Delaware claims to have two on their list. We did not find a laurel oak at Rockford Park but we did find a nice red oak that was 16.5x72.9x111' spread.

rockford_red_oak.jpg (81474 bytes)
 Rockford Red Oak
Rockford_water_tower.jpg (69924 bytes)
 Rockford Water Tower

Our next stop was Hagley museum. Home of the original DuPont gunpowder mill and factory. this area was developed on the Brandywine river in the 1700's and was heavily used by the Lenni-Lenape indians before that. This place is a gold mine for big trees, as the DuPonts were noted Botanists. We will return another time and try for a Rucker index. We measured the following today all within about 300 yds of each other!

hagley_osage1.jpg (80078 bytes)
 Hagley Osage Orange
hagley_osage2.jpg (149267 bytes)
 Hagley Osage Orange

White ash                 13.8x136.2 there are more of these, a nearby tulip poplar was 15.6 and  probably just as tall. I couldn't get a clear shot to the top with the time I had.
Sugar maple             13.1x87.2 believed to be a naturally occuring specimen, but I have my doubts
Dupont Buckeye       11.4x77.7 a hybrid of A. pavia and A. sylvatica Dupont had a fixation with buckeyes and named many products after them.
Black walnut             10.2x85.0
osage orange             25.2x68.9   a massive gnarly tree at the end of a sweet gum alle
Yellow buckeye        10.3x88.0
Witch hazel               2.1x27    a new champ, as one was not listed

We had a great day with great weather. We will return to Hagley soon to get a rucker. They have 240+ acres.

Scott and Meg

Back to Scott   Robert Leverett
  Feb 22, 2007 05:42 PST 


   Thanks for giving us our first look at Delaware. The white ash you
reported is a beaut. Sounds like ash and tulip poplar are not to be put

RE: Piddling around in dendromorphometry as a cure for insomnia   Robert Leverett
  Feb 22, 2007 05:53 PST 


   You put your finger on my biggest fear. Future expert tree measurers
will probably be plump little computer geeks who sit on their laurels
and manipulate virtual trees on CRTs, while gulping gallons of coffee,
wolfing down MacDonalds fries, and playing naughty computer games. Ugh!
I'd rather drink pond water.

Re: Back to Bob
  Feb 22, 2007 06:22 PST 

I think once we get into the woods at Hagley, we will find a lot of tall trees. Delaware has a lot of nice hickory too. Stay tuned. I am going into Fairmount Park again on the 21st of March to look for a new deciduous height champ. Come on 160'

Re: Delaware trees measured today   MICHAEL DAVIE
  Feb 22, 2007 16:00 PST 
Is that 25 foot osage orange a single stem? If so, that sounds like a jaw-dropper. Did you take any photos? That blackgum is no shrinking violet, either, nor the ash, nor the maple... Thanks for the report, can't wait to hear more.
Re: Delaware trees measured today
  Feb 23, 2007 06:32 PST 

Although it is a single specimen, the Osage orange has a tendency to branch very low when given the opportunity. It is very difficult to tell how this beast grew. This species was brought east in 1818. It is very possible that this tree was planted close to that date, as the property far outdates the tree.

I will send photos to Ed to post with the report. I think Hagley will hold some amazing discoveries. The Delaware state champion book from 1997 list a white ash at 156' tall at Hagley, but I think the height I reported will be more likely for the taller species. Luckily for the forest, the mills were all water powered, and the wood was left to grow.

Re: Delaware trees measured today
  Feb 23, 2007 07:40 PST 

Great job, Scott!

That osage orange is incredible. When I first saw 25.2ft, I thought it was