Long Cane Creek   Jess
  Mar 09, 2002 21:05 PST 
     Long Cane Creek drains a portion of the South Carolina piedmont in the
Savannah River watershed. The large, slow moving creek has a scenic area
located on its floodplain at approximately 400' elevation. On the
surrounding uplands pure stands of loblolly pine range from recently
clear-cut to roughly 50 years old. Around the pine hills are hardwood
drainages. Beech, hickories, white oak, and other oaks form the canopy in
these areas. Eastern red cedar forms a midstory in both the conifer and
deciduous forests. 

In the creek floodplain bottomland hardwood species
dominated. Green ash is the most widespread canopy species in the
floodplain. In some it associates primarily with eastern cottonwood while
in others sycamore is the main canopy compliment. Both american hornbeam
and boxelder are common in the midstory. Around the edge of the floodplain
their role is paralleled by florida maple and hophornbeam. These latter
species occur under loblolly pine and an oak, probably cherrybark. One
bottomland species, swamp chestnut oak, is uncommon in the floodplain areas
I saw, but is common along one ridge that protrudes into the floodplain in
a bend in the creek. Swamp trees such as baldcypress and tupelo due not
occur as far inland in South Carolina as Long Cane Creek. 

Two herbaceous
species I am more familiar with in the southern Appalachians occur in the
area. Both trout lily (Erythronium americanum) and ground pine/running
cedar (a lycopod) are present along the borders the floodplain. I was not
able to see the scenic area, which is home to the national champion
shagbark hickory, as a result of a fire that was not quite out, but in the
area I saw I counted 47 tree species.

Species        cbh height
Ash, Green          6'11"     108.8'
Cottonwood, Eastern 11'9"     121.9'
Cottonwood, Eastern 9'10"     123.4'
Cottonwood, Eastern 12'9"     125.5'
Cottonwood, Eastern 10'1"     126.2'
Cottonwood, Eastern 12'8"     132.4'
Elm, American       8'6"
Hophornbeam, Eastern     3'1"
Maple, Florida      4'8"
Maple, Red          10'1"     106.0'
Oak, Water          9'2" 107.5'
Oak, Water          11'4"     ~110'
Pine, Loblolly      10'3"
Redcedar, Eastern   4'9"
Sycamore, American 10'9"     ~116'
Sycamore, American 6'10"     127.4+

     The redcedar may be very tall, but I don't trust my numbers on it.
The disparity between how tall the tree looks and how tall I measured the
tree to be is substantial. The area was also once home to the state
champion white oak. The log that is now laying on the ground is large
enough so that I can not see over it when I stand next to it. The tree was
reported to be 23' cbh. Scattered sweetgums are common in the floodplain,
but they probably do not exceed 125'. Along one tributary tuliptree and
northern red oak are common, but they do not reach exceptional heights.
Loblollies eight to 11' cbh looked to be common. One that has fallen
across the tree was about 90 years old. All of the floodplain looked to be
second growth.

Jess Riddle

Long Cane Creek   Jess
  May 16, 2002 20:01 PDT 
     Long Cane Creek is a large, silt laden stream that meanders through
the piedmont of western South Carolina at an elevation of around 400'. The
rolling hills surrounding the stream are covered with stands of loblolly
pines that have gown up after extensive agricultural activity. The shallow
drainages on the hills support hardwood forests and connect to the forests
of larger trees on the rich soils of the floodplain and adjacent slopes.

These forests of larger second growth trees are primarily hardwood
dominated with occasional pockets of loblolly pine and open areas flooded
by beavers. Many of the species common in the Congaree form the canopy
along Long Cane Creek, but they are present in different proportions.
Cottonwood, sycamore, and cherrybark oak are more common at Long Cane while
sweetgum is much less prolific. The lack of sweetgum may be related to
beaver activity sense most of the sweetgums in the canopy have had the bark
stripped most of the way around their bases. The area lacks coastal plain
species that are present in the Congaree like water tupelo and baldcypress,
but mountain species such as northern red oak and cucumbertree are present.
Florida maple, while listed as occurring in the Congaree, is much more
prominent at Long Cane since the tree is the primary midstory species in
the area. Underneath the florida maples and hophornbeams and hornbeams
that grow among them, the understory is sparse but the ground cover is
often thick with grasses.

     The land along one section of Long Cane Creek has been designated a
scenic area due partially to the large trees that grow in the area. The
best known of these trees is one of the national co-champion shagbark
hickories. The tree, which is listed in the NRBT as being 11'8" cbh and
153' tall, has been a state champion since sometime before 1987. The sign
along the trail that passes near the lists the smaller, and probably older,
dimensions of 10'6" cbh and 135' tall. The tree is a single trunked
individual exhibiting forest grown form. The hickory as reached its
exceptional size on a gentle slope about 50' from the edge of the
floodplain. There are no clear views of the tree's crown during the
summertime, so my measurements are probably to two different leaders and
may not be to the highest twig. From two widely separated positions I
measured the trees height as 127.3' and 130.9'. The tree could easily be
135' tall, and 140' is not out of the question, but the chances of the tree
being 153' are slim to none. The listed circumference of the tree is fine.
Being somewhat generous with the height I picked for midslope, the cbh was
12'1". The tree may have grown slightly since the measurements for the
NRBT were made, and substantially since the sign was erected.

     BCC in the table below refers to Big Curltail Creek, one of the larger
tributaries of Long Cane Creek. The forests along the tributary resemble
those along the main creek, but cottonwood is more wide spread, sycamore is
more common, and black walnut is present. Approximate heights rounded to
the nearest foot were found by shooting vertically with the rangefinder,
and approximate heights rounded to the nearest tenth of a foot are of
floodplain trees where the distance below eye level was conservatively
estimated. Due to summertime conditions, several of the measurements may
be to the highest visible branch but not the absolute top of the tree.
Species codes are the first two letters of the genus and the first to
letters of the specific epithet.

ACBA 5'5" NA   LCC
ACBA 5'4" 65.6'     LCC
ACBA 6'4" 84.9'     BCC
CAVO 8'5" 123.2'    LCC
CAVO 9'9" 126.6'    LCC
FAGR 9'6" NA   LCC
FAGR 9'7" NA   LCC
FRPE 7'5" ~118.8'   BCC
JUNI 5'0" ~105'     BCC
LIST 10'7.5"   NA   LCC
LIST 8'7.5"    ~124.6'   BCC
LITU 8'2" 128.1'    LCC
PITA 8'7" ~125.1'   LCC
PLOC 8'11"     ~123.1'   BCC
PODE 10'5"     ~125'     BCC
PODE 11'2"     ~126.2'   BCC
PODE 10'6.5"   ~134.2'   BCC
QUPA 14'6"     NA   LCC
QUPA 9'5.5"    ~130.4'   BCC
QURU 8'3" 111.1'    LCC
QUSH 9'6" ~116'     LCC

Jess Riddle

Long Cane Creek    Jess
   Jan 26, 2003 18:00 PST 
Since the SC mountains still have a coating of snow, I decided to spend
this weekend looking at floodplain in the piedmont. The portions of Long
Cane Creek I saw last year were promising, so I decided to return to the
stream and its tributary, Big Curltail Creek. These streams, part of the
Savannah River drainage, flow through the Sumter National Forest. Their
floodplains are generally in one of three states: beaver produced
wetland, hardwood forest under 40 years old, or bottomland hardwood forest
approximately 90 years old. Hazel alder and black willow grow in some of
the the beaver complexes, which may cover over 50 acres in extent, while
other areas have entirely herbaceous vegetation. The areas of young
forest either have a mixture of bottomland hardwoods, or are dominated by
boxelder. Eastern cottonwood, green ash, sycamore, and sweetgum form most
of the canopy in ther areas of more mature forest. These areas have a
midstory composed of boxelder, sugarberry, and American hornbeam. Large
areas have open understories, but river can is abundant in some sections
of the floodplain and paw paw is common along sections of Big Curltail
Creek. Tuliptree and black walnut are also much more common along Big
Curltail Creek. Beavers have eaten the bark at the bases of oaks, cedars,
ash, and sugarberry. Sweetgum appears to be the beavers favorite since
all sweetgums in the canopy have heavily scarred bases, which appears to
lead to signigicant mortality through rot. Syacamores are not touched by
the beavers.
Cottonwood and sycamore are the most prominent species in the floodplain.
The cottonwood trunks, which are usually nine to twelve feet cbh, stand
out amongst the smaller trees, and the white bark of the sycamore stands
in stark contrast against the dark ash and sweetgum. Oaks and loblolly
pine while present are widely scattered. Swamp chestnut oak grows in the
area, but is most common at the edge of the floodplain and does not reach
large sizes.

Species Height Cbh Stream Comments
Ash, Green 126.4' 6'4" Long Cane Creek State height record?
Boxelder 64.4' 8'7" Big Curltail Creek
Boxelder 65.2' 7'11.5" Long Cane Creek Good health
Boxelder 73.5' 4'1.5" Big Curltail Creek State height record?
Cottonwood, Eastern NA 12'4" Big Curltail Creek
Cottonwood, Eastern 119.9' 9'6" Long Cane Creek
Cottonwood, Eastern 122.5' 12'7" Long Cane Creek
Cottonwood, Eastern 123.9' 11'5" Long Cane Creek
Cottonwood, Eastern 126.1' 10'4" Big Curltail Creek Beaver Girdled
Cottonwood, Eastern 127.1' 10'2" Long Cane Creek
Cottonwood, Eastern 131.7' 11'9" Long Cane Creek
Cottonwood, Eastern 133.1' 11'4" Long Cane Creek
Cottonwood, Eastern 135.1' 12'3" Big Curltail Creek State height record
Hornbeam, American NA 4'8" Big Curltail Creek
Hornbeam, American 53.1' 3'3" Big Curltail Creek
Maple, Florida 73.4' 7'1" Long Cane Creek
Oak, Cherrybark 138.0' 15'8" Long Cane Creek Easily largest tree seen
Oak, Willow 111.2' <10' Long Cane Creek All willow
Oak, Willow 113.5' 13'8" Long Cane Creek oaks in the
Oak, Willow 127.9' 11'4" Long Cane Creek same area.
Sweetgum 131.0' 10'1" Long Cane Creek Largest cbh of species
Sycamore 120.1' 9'6" Long Cane Creek
Sycamore 123.4' 12'1" Long Cane Creek Gorgeous tree
Sycamore 125.2' 6'4" Big Curltail Creek
Sycamore 125.5' 8'11" Long Cane Creek
Sycamore 126.5' 11'4" Long Cane Creek Gorgeous tree
Sycamore 130.3' 9'10" Long Cane Creek Well formed crown
Sycamore 130.7' 12'8.5" Long Cane Creek Largest cbh of species
Walnut, Black <100' 8'2" Big Curltail Creek Largest cbh of species
Walnut, Black 109.3' 7'7" Long Cane Creek Only mature individual on Long
Cane Creek

Jess Riddle