Day of Retirement - MTSF
30, 2007 18:25 PDT
On Saturday, Monica and I went to
MTSF to continue Tsuga Search-New England project. The program
was officially kicked off when John Knuerr and I explored a
drainage in Trout Brook Cove on May 20 that contains a stand of
fairly young, very healthy, and fairly tall hemlocks. Hemlocks
measured in that grove that day are recaped below.
Many hemlocks are in the
100-foot height and 6-7-foot girth class. The appeal of this
stand is that it has tremendous potential and may show us what
hemlocks can do given 110-130 years of growing time in good
On June 3rd, Monica and I scouted
out a small cluster of much older hemlocks in MSF on a ridge
overlooking the Deerfield River. Trees measured on that outing
are listed below.
The 11.3-ft girth, 103.7-ft height
tree falls into a special class for Tsuga Search-New England.
Trees 100 feet or more in height and 10 feet or more in girth
will fall into a special class. I'm still thinking about a more
complete criteria to identify heritage trees. I'm thinking of
something like the following. A hemlock meeting any of the
following criteria would be identified as a heritage tree.
1. Height >= 125 feet
2. Girth >= 11
3. Height >= 100 feet and Girth
>= 11 feet
4. Volume >= 500 cubic feet
5. Age >= 231
years or more (predating the Declaration of Independence)
Trees that meet multiple criteria are
higher on the totem pole. For example, the height champion
hemlock of MTSF is 130.3 feet tall, 11.1 feet in girth, probably
exceeds 500 cubes in volume, and is well over 231 years of age.
It makes 4 of the 5 criteria above, and consequently, is a very
high ranker. The huge Mount Tom hemlock meets all 5 criteria as
does the champ in MTSF. They are unique in the state in this
respect. So far, Iíve measured a total of 11 hemlocks 11 feet
or more in girth in Mass. There are many more. Iíve measured
12 hemlocks over 125 feet in height. Iíve measured only 9
hemlocks that are 100 feet or more in height and also 11 feet or
more in girth. I have no doubt that there are quite a few more.
It is now a matter of expanding the search.
Any ideas from fellow/lady ents would be
most welcome. Of course a heritage criteria is promotional. It
has little ecological significance, but these great trees need
to be seen as individuals, not simply as part of a nameless,
faceless collection with relevance only in the context of
representing their species. The older I get, the more I relate
to these old arboreal citizens as distinct individuals.
On Saturday, Monica's and my
destination was a cluster of hemlocks on a ridge overlooking the
Cold River. The off-trail climb gains 630 feet elevation and is
extremely steep in places, so the trees don't get many visitors.
There are 4 large hemlocks scattered along a contour. Hardwoods
surround these trees, but the stick up above the general
hardwood canopy and can be seen from a distance. On Saturday, I
had time to measure and model just one of the hemlocks. It is an
old tree with an extremely columnar form. Its vital statistics
Height Girth Trunk
100.9 11.2 572
The old hemlock makes 3 of the 5
individal criteria. The tree was named by Monica as the
"Retirement Tree" in recognition of my first official
day of retirement. The bulky hemlock still has a 33 inch diamter
at 65 feet. But the foliage from surrounding trees was so thick
that I couldn't see the trunk above 65 feet. I went up ridge and
eventuallyspotted the crown to get a full height, but couldn't
see the intervening part of the tree.
One objective of Tsuga Search-New
England is to accumulate data on hemlocks so that exceptional
trees across the range of the species can be identified.