While completing hemlock woolly adelgid treatments in the
Smokies this past winter I was required to walk nearly 75 miles
of roads. This gave me the opportunity to slow down my pace I
normally pass through and see more of the vegetation by the
road. In addition to finding various exotics such as pecan and
white poplar, I also found a new occurrence of a rare, artic
orchid in TN (Goodyera
View of Anakeesta Ridge, TN from US 441 with old-growth red spruce.
Gray skeletons are dead hemlock and some spruce and Fraser fir
Foggy valley below (Deep
Getting ready for treatments at Newfound Gap NC/TN state line
Ancient red spruce in the West Prong Little Pigeon River
I located several specimens of native tree that I either
measured or plan to return to measure. While walking the main Transmountain Highway (US 441) from
Newfound Gap to Gatlinburg I spotted what I at first thought was
a really nice, healthy hemlock. It had the growth form, taper,
and size of a large specimen. As I poked through the
rhododendron to go treat it I soon realized it was not a hemlock
but a massive red spruce. This tree, with scaly bark, was not
expected since the elevation was a bit below the normal range
for such a large spruce.
Without a doubt, this is the largest specimen I have ever
seen! At 12’4” cbh X 133.1’ it is among the largest girths known
and attains a respectable height (there is one in this area that
exceeds 150’ tall). It is likely this tree may be the largest in
volume for the species that ENTS knows of. Of course, I plan to
climb it and will probably also map the crown for a 3-D model.
It has some serious gnarl and the beginnings of a large
Eastern Native Tree Society
Appalachian Arborists, Inc.