Vanderbilt Estate Rendezvous
   Dec 12, 2004 17:03 PST 
   On Saturday the following groups of Ents assembled at the Vanderbilt Estate as Hyde Park, NY to search for outstanding trees and compute a Rucker index. The team included Phyllis Silvers, Holly Post, Susan Scott, Sheree Brown (ladies first), Howard Stoner, John Eichholz, John Knuerr, Ed Coyle, Scott Wade, and yours truly. The team concentrated on an area of large trees on a hill and in a ravine north of the mansion.

A couple from the Vanderbilt estate. I took the pictures. The tree is one of the red oaks down by the Hudson, and some strange guy who kept following me around in the woods that day. - Scott Wade

The following statistics say it all:

Species                 Height           Circumference
Tuliptree                155.1                    10.8
Sycamore              136.1                    16.4
White pine             133.9                      5.7
Sugar maple          125.0                     9.2
Black locust            124.1                     8.7
N. red oak              123.5                    15.8
Bitternut hickory     122.0                    11.0
White oak              121.6                     11.9
A. beech                115.1                     8.5
Hemlock                111.3                     9.5
RUCKER index       126.8                    10.8

Other species include:
Species                   Height           Circumference
Black birch                105.3              8.8
Mockernut Hickory      103.1             6.9
Black cherry                99.7             4.9
Ginko                          81.3            18.8
Catalpa                       95.5            11.1

Altogether, we measured 4 tuliptrees to over 150.
Species               Height           Circumference
TT#1                   155.1                 10.8
TT#2                   150.7                 11.8
TT#3                   150.5                  10.3
TT#4                   150.1                  11.9
TT#5                   136.0                  14.8

We measured the following sycamores:
Sycamore            136.1                    16.4
Sycamore            128.3                    17.0
Sycamore            104.0                    17.3

     The Hudson River Valley clearly has lots of big tree/tall tree treasures. What was especially satisfying was the stellar team that we fielded. It was a true team effort all day long. Phyllis Silvers put us up at her beautiful home Saturday evening at Middletown, NY. We had a fabulous time. Phyllis is soooooper!! More on our finds tomorrow.

One additional bit of information I forgot to mention is that Susan Scott made her real debut as a bonafide ENTS tree measurer. So, the ladies have struck. Susan is determined to bring the ladies into full team participation as ENTS measurers and I have no doubt that she will succeed. She is formally trained as an archeologist and understands the math very well. Working with Howard Stoner, Susan is learning the ropes.


Vanderbilt Estate Rendezvous
  Dec 13, 2004 04:56 PST 

      The search possibilities for southern New York will concentrate on the Hudson River estates, of which there are many. The FDR and Vanderbilt Estates opened our eyes to what is a growing number of possibilities that include the adjacent uplands with their abundance of ravines and rugged terrain. The proximity of NYC tends to overshadow all the natural and cultural features of the adjoining lands. That cultural spillover no longer intimidates me. There was a time when the thought of going near NYC sent me into a state of half panic and half depression. But now we have our great new ENTS friends Phyllis Silvers and Holly Post to ease the urban shock syndrome for us. Then there's Ed Coyle who lives on Long Island. Ed used to work fro Will Blozan. His location now is strategic. It takes him about the same amount of time to reach the lower Hudson River estates as it does fro the Massachusetts contingent. Howard Stoner is slightly closer. So what I'm coming to is that we now have one heck of a NY contingent. The Empire strikes back, but this time it isn't an evil empire, but a fascinating one.

      We now have to go to work on the NPS to get their full backing and support followed by the State of NY for the state parks.

       Things are good these days, folks. Good.

RE: Vanderbilt Estate Rendezvous   Robert Leverett
  Dec 13, 2004 08:12 PST 


   Unless we find some towering white pines in the Catskills, the
tuliptree is going to reign supreme as the tall tree of southern NY. But
we have so much territory to cover. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
We've needed to expand our NY coverage in the regions that grow big
trees to fully understand where Zoar Valley fits. As we continue
searching, the number of NY sites with indexes in the 120s will
unquestionably grow, but I believe 130s will stay scares as hen's teeth.
And while it may be premature to make statements, I do think the
uniqueness of Zoar Valley will be strengthened instead of weakened as we
scour southern NY.

Vanderbilt Estate Rendezvous-Bitternuts and Ginkgo   Robert Leverett
  Dec 13, 2004 09:54 PST 


   It was an extraordinary bitternut. The others in the vicinity were
more typical, but still large. John Eichholz, Scott Wade, and yours
truly teamed up on those bitternuts. They didn't have a chance.

   The ginkgo branched very low to the ground. So it lost some of its
visual impact, like black willows. I measured it between its branching
point and the ground at the narrowest point, like BVP does.

   I miss counted on the number of 150-foot tuliptrees that we've now
measured in NY. Our count stands at 6, which includes the 156-foot Zoar
Valley tree.


Jess Riddle wrote:
Yeash. That's an impressive series of measurements. I would be ecstatic
over finding a site with comparable numbers in north Georgia. Tuliptree
certainly can out-grow other hardwoods over a wide latitude range. I
didn't realize bitternut hickory grew that large in the north east. All
the other tall ones of the species that I remember reading about were
skinny. The black birch also appears massive by any standards for the
eastern US. Seeing an 18' cbh Ginkgo had to be fun also. Is that tree a
single stem? The radial growth rate for the tree must be exceptional.

RE: Anders Run update   John Eichholz
  Dec 21, 2004 17:44 PST 


I was reviewing your post on PA Rucker indices when I noticed the part
about ENTS points trees over 2000. I thought I should note that we
found 3 trees at the Vanderbilt estate over 2000:

Sycamore    136.1' h,   16.4' cbh,   2232 ENTS points   (hgt x cbh)
Sycamore    128.3' h,   17.0' cbh,   2181 EP
Tulip Tree    136.0' h,   14.8' cbh,   2012 EP

I remember another tulip tree that had 2232 points -- the same as the
sycamore, but I can't find it in my journal. There were some very fat
tulips there.

Vanderbilt Estate
  Feb 12, 2005 19:12 PST 

      Holly Post, Phyllis Silvers, Dennis Hayman, and myself returned to the Vanderbilt estate. I didn't confirm any more 150s. I think we got them all, but I did measure two skinny sycamores, a pignut hickory, and a basswood that were noteworthy. The Rucker index for Vanderbilt is now as follows:

Species       Height    Circumference

Tuliptree        155.1       10.8
Sycamore      137.6         7.1
White pine     134.0         5.7
Sugar maple   125.0        9.2
N. red oak     123.5      14.8
Bitternut H.    122.0       11.0
A. beech        115.1         8.5
A. basswood 112.8         7.1
Hemlock         111.3        9.5
Pignut H.         109.9        7.2

R.I.                  124.6        9.1

RE: Vanderbilt Estate   Robert Leverett
  Feb 14, 2005 11:51 PST 


   We largely ignored two species on the Vanderbilt estate, black oak
and chestnut oak. I do want to return to Vanderbilt one more time to
collect data on those species for completeness sake, but not before
moving on to some other estates first. Phyllis Silvers believes that a
couple of estates nearer to NYC may harbor a wealth of big trees. So,
we're going to have a look at one of the Rockefeller estates next,
which is much larger than the Vanderbilt Estate.

   I'm really chomping at the bits to extend our coverage of NY and
eastern PA sites. We'll never be able to match the incredible trees that
Will and Jess routinely measure, but we need lots more numbers before we
can develop regional patterns and trends and profile individual species

   I'm still fixated on cottonwoods, although my son Rob and I have
spotted what appears to be a promising area of large silver maples in
the Oxbow region of Easthampton. An exploration may be next weekend's
big tree jaunt.

   Given what we've measured for cottonwood in the Northeast, I wonder
what the mid-west produces? If we're going to break 140, we may need to
visit Tom Diggins and work our way west toward the mighty Mississippi.
The New England cottonwoods seem to have a self-imposed ceiling. We just
cannot break 130 feet. Nor do we reach extremely large girths very
often. Lee Frelich definitely sees larger girth cottonwoods. Perhaps it
is tree age, but I believe that Lee is going to see larger cottonwoods
more often even factoring in age. Still, there are plenty of relatively
large ones still to find in western Massachusetts before moving south.   

RE: Vanderbilt Estate   Robert Leverett
  Feb 22, 2005 06:17 PST 


   You are correct. The trees I quoted from our latest Vanderbilt trip
are the ones in my Access database. I failed to get the input from the
others on the black locust and white oak. I believe John Eichholz shot
the locust and Howard shot the white oak. Also, you'll note that I got a
taller sycamore on our last trip (137.6). However, I failed to
authenticate the 155.1 number for the tuliptree. I got heights to around
153.7 feet, which I think is very close to what John Eichholz got when
he shot the same tree from a different location. I am reasonably sure
that the 153.7 feet is closer to the actual height. Using that figure
and making the other corrections leads to 126.93.
   Thanks for riding herd on us.





White pine           


Sugar maple          


Black locust        


N. red oak          


Bitternut hickory   


White oak           


A. beech             


A. basswood          




RUCKER index        



Re: Vanderbilt Estate   John Eichholz
  Feb 22, 2005 08:44 PST 

The measurements for the black locust are:
33y top, 25y bottom, 56.8d top, 29.2d bottom, + 4.7' base offset, for a
height of 124.1'. The cbh was 8.7'. The tree is located on the slope
below the yard area of the estate just before entering the main tulip
tree grove. It was one of the first trees I measured, and I only took
one reading.

For the tall tuliptree, my measurements were:
67y top, 40y bottom, 49.0d top, 0.0d bottom + 0.8' base offset, for a
height of 152.5'. I measured the tree from across the ravine. I got
145' from the other side, a different top. The tree had many tops, so I
might not have found the tallest.