Southern Illinois Oaks   doug bidlack
  Nov 15, 2006 20:17 PST 


I was in southern Illinois just last month to collect
acorns from some of the state champion oaks. I was
most interested in the bur, white and swamp white
oaks, but I also had an interest in the willow oak as
well. All of these state champions are in southern
Illinois except the champion white oak. The white oak
is up in Putnam county...a beautiful tree that my
parents visited.

I emailed Jay Hayek to see if any of the champs had
changed recently and he indicated that there was a new
swamp white oak champ. I wondered what had happened
to the old champ that I visited in 2003, because I
figured it might be larger if it were remeasured. It
was last measured in 1984 and Jay said that his notes
indicated that the top had been blown out of this 1983! Didn't make sense to me, so I had to
go back to see if the tree was OK and at least get a
cbh measurement.

Well the old swamp white oak was just fine and I
measured the cbh at 202" or 16" more than in 1984.
This also pushed the point total to 312 or 4 more than
the new champ...and that's without new height or
spread measurements. I let Jay know what I found and
he wrote that the notes about the blown out tree top
actually referred to a different tree in Williamson
county. The one I measured was in Crab Orchard
Wildlife Refuge. Anyway, it could sure use new height
and crown spread measurements. In fact, some poison
ivy vines may have made my cbh measurement a bit high,
so I wouldn't trust them too much. The vines had been
cut near the base of the tree, but I didn't have much
time to try and remove them.

As for the bur oak champ in Lawrence county, well,
unfortunately Earl Minderman (the property owner} told
me that the huge tree had blown over in a storm last
year. Maybe Jay knows the new champ, but I forgot to
ask him about that. The willow oak at Fort Massac
looks great and it produced plenty of acorns last
month. I didn't measure this tree though.

I hope those of you going to southern Illinois find
this helpful. Good luck!

RE: Southern Illinois Oaks   beth koebel
  Nov 19, 2006 14:33 PST 


Thank you Doug on your report on southern Illinois. I was in
Washington, Clinton, and St. Clair counties this weekend. I found a
hackberry in St. Clair county that is about 30 points from the state
champ and is in a field by itself. It is just smaller all around than
the state champ, but still has a impressive cbh of 17' 6".