By invitation from Ron Busch, an Arborist at the Biltmore
Estate, Ed Coyle
and I accompanied him for a tree measuring day to begin to
document the fine
trees of the estate. A graduate student at the University of NC
requested information about the champion trees of the estate,
and Ron asked
that ENTS assist in the relocation and re-measurement of the
(I) also had the intention of returning to some
"juicy" spots of tall trees
that I had seen on previous visits. We were not the slightest
bit let down,
and due to many distractions from big and tall trees at every
only measured a few of the listed NC record trees. Oh well,
An interesting pic of a spirit leaving a tree. Notice the
from the tulip poplar as they fell the last one at the Biltmore.
pic from Bill
Hascher, managing arborist of the Biltmore in NC. -Scott Wade
In my eyes, the estate is quickly becoming one of the finest
tree preserves and needs to be listed on the ENTS website as
such. Just one
day has yielded several new state champions and a few potential
World/National record heights. Chock full of planted exotics, it
wonderland of old, introduced specimens, some of which are quite
in height and girth. One of the feature trees of the estate is
dawn redwood collected after their discovery in the 1950's. This
though likely less than 50 years old, has reached 11'10" in
girth and 118.8'
tall with no side crown competition.
The tree finds were impressive and inspiring, but we also
eastern hemlocks heavily infested with hemlock woolly adelgid-
known occurrence of this pest on the estate. The estate has
thousands of large eastern and Carolina hemlocks, many of which
in the late 1800's. Treating so many trees is likely out of the
financial feasibility, and the loss of these impressive
vastly change the landscape of the estate. The estate likely
greatest concentration of Carolina hemlocks over 100' on Earth.
Gorge may challenge the estate for this honor, but most of them
from HWA, or will be within 2 years or so. Biltmore Estate has
opportunity to protect these tall trees, and preserve for the
people of the
Earth the tallest known of the species ever accurately recorded.
hope that they do... and soon...
Although we measured dozens of trees, I will only list the
today, and the regional significant of them.
Eastern white pine
8'10" x 150.74'
8'10" x 154.09' Tallest in county
6'3" x 141.25' Tallest in county, planted tree ~100 years
old. In a pure
grove of dozens over 130'
5'6" x 103.14'
7'2" x 103.4'
6'7" x 104.7'
6'3" x 113.95' New World height record?
11'10"x 118.81' Tallest in Nation?
European larch (ID pending)
6'6" x 131.53' Tallest introduced tree in East?
~12' x 103.63' Tallest in county
7'2" x 126.76' Tallest in Nation?
8'3" x 113.52' Tallest in county
8' x 118.7' Tallest in county
3'9" x 87.1' New NC State Champion
White elm (ID pending)
8'3" x 118.56'
10' x 125.14' Tallest in Nation?
13'6" x 99.07' Near State and National record size. 102'
9'7" x 121.14' NC record height
10'1" x 115.66' NC record height
Northern red oak
10'8" x 126.37' Tallest in county
7'6" x 107.76' Largest was 14'4" girth x 95'
6'6" x 131.02'
8'3" x 131.58'
8'1" x 132.22' New record height? Jess, Mike?
I have UTM coordinates for all trees measured today. Look for a
for my online site containing the "Buncombe County Big Tree
Register". "A la
Van Pelt" I will list the largest and tallest of as many
species I can
measure, and welcome the inputs of all ENTS members and
measurers. I am sure
Michael Davie and Ed Coyle will pump many new records into the
it will be tightly linked to the NC Big Tree program and other
The estate has many, many more exotic conifers that are very
thousands of acres of natural, managed and introduced
spruce) left to explore. Ron plans to get set up with laser/clinometer
begin measuring on the estate whenever he can. The place is
President, Eastern Native Tree Society
ISA Certified Arborist