Schwab Estate: Visit to a national champion basswood
  Nov 13, 2005 05:47 PST 

Yesterday, while visiting my sister in Royersford Pa, I loaded up four children in the van, and made a quick trip to Pottstown Pa. We headed to the old Schwab estate out by the Pottstown airport. W. Richard Schwab was the owner of an Oil company. I remember seeing his trucks running around when I was a child. I think they are still in business. The estate is still intact, although it has been converted to apartments. A large beautiful home, probably built in the 1890's. The gardens contain the typical Victorian collection. An English walnut that was 11.6 cbh, a gingko, a european larch, a horsechestnut. There were many stumps. a couple decent red and pin oaks and one tulip poplar worth mentioning. No height records to be broken today though. The most amazing thing we saw there was a gaggle of about 30 turkeys out in the front lawn. They were feasting on acorns and tearing up the lawn. The calls that kept coming from them was interesting background music to measure by.

The tree stands about 200' east of the manor home, and does not appear large at all, from the parking lot. My nine year old niece exclaimed, "That's it? That isn't big!" The three boys ran over to it, and when they were next to it, she changed her mind with a, "Oh man, it IS big!" She then proceeded to run to the tree also. Tilia americana, American basswood. This tree seemed to be used to the better things in life. It had been properly pruned, cabled, and cared for in it's previous years. One large limb had been tarred over, as was popular back in the day. Now the cables blow in the wind, due to the use of threaded hooks instead of through bolts, and it was loaded with dead wood. I feel this is a positive turn for this tree, as it appears to be left alone now, as was meant to be. Often times our efforts to "help" a large tree end in the demise of the specimen. Almost every owner of a champion tree will ask me, "What should I do to the tree to help it." I always tell them "nothing, this tree has grown to this size without anyone's help, and probably doesn't need it now" The only thing I recommend to owners is dead-wooding if liability is an issue. Anyway, enough rambling, here are the numbers:

This tree was introduced to the tree measuring public in 1980. In 1990 it measured:

292" cbh 94' tall with a 100' spread. 411 points

As reported in the National Register of Big Trees 2004-2005, the Linden shrunk a little:

292" cbh 78' tall with a 100' spread. 395 points

Yesterday, using the finest of ENTS measuring techniques, she came to:

287" cbh 89' tall with a 87' avg spread. 398 points

I don't feel measuring at 4.5' is correct for this tree, although it does not branch until well above this line. I feel the correct measurement is at 2' as it is a coppiced specimen. Those numbers are:

277" at 2' 89' tall with a 87' avg spread. 388 points

Part of the reason for the departure from the original circumference is the loss of one of the leaders from the side of the tree.

This is still an amazing big tree, and I look forward to it healing it's wounds and continuing to grow.