09, 2002 07:00 PST
Mountain rises approximately 900 feet above the surrounding
terrain of northwestern South Carolina to a height of 1865'. Two
gently inclined, parallel ridges form the mountain. Narrow coves
the sides of these ridges while more exposed steep coves occur
north end of the mountain. While the multiple geological
intersect near the mountain, fine grained amphibolite underlies
all of the
tall tree areas on the mountain. White pine and hemlock are
the south end of the mountain and other pines grow at a few
spots on the
ridges, but the rest of the forest on the mountain is entirely
White oak is the most common canopy species on the mountain, but
variety of hardwoods grow in the coves. Both black walnut and
red elm are
common in the coves while beech is unusually abundant along the
the southeast. Also along the stream, yellow buckeye grows as a
species. Dogwood and redbud are the most widespread understory
but bigleaf snowbell, carolina buckthorn, paw paw, and spicebush
locally abundant. The canopy height is probably only in the
110's on most
of the mountain, but small concentrations of exceptionally tall
occur in sections of many of the coves.
Species Cbh Height Watershed DOM
Basswood, White 7'5" 107.6' Peach Orchard Branch 12/7/02
Basswood, White 9'8" Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Beech, American 121.5' Peach Orchard Branch 9/28/02
Beech, American 114.2' Eastatoe Creek 11/23/02
Blackhaw, Rusty 1'1.5" Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Hickory, Bitternut 8'5.5" 131.0' Peach Orchard Branch
Hickory, Mockernut 6'6" 136.6' Peach Orchard Branch 12/7/02
Locust, Black 7'5" 123.5' Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Maple, Chalk 2'0.5" Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Maple, Chalk 2'0" 55.4' Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Oak, Black >115.5'Jewell Branch 12/7/02
Oak, Chestnut 7'3.5" 125.5' Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Oak, Chestnut 91.3' Clearwater Branch 12/7/02
Oak, Northern Red 6'11" 141.1' Jewell Branch 12/7/02
Oak, Northern Red 7'9.5" 119.9' Peach Orchard Branch
Oak, White 129.7' Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Oak, White 6'10.5" 127.9' Peach Orchard Branch 9/28/02
Oak, White 8'10" 127.5' Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Redbud, Eastern 1'7" 52.4' Clearwater Branch 12/7/02
Redbud, Eastern 2'11" Clearwater Branch 12/7/02
Spicebush 10" 21.8' Clearwater Branch 12/7/02
Sweetgum 8'4" 126.7' Jewell Branch 12/7/02
Tuliptree 155.3' Jewell Branch 12/7/02
Tuliptree 148.1' Peach Orchard Branch 4/6/02
Tuliptree 144.8' Jewell Branch 12/7/02
Tuliptree 10'1" 141.0' Eastatoe Creek 4/6/02
Tuliptree 140.6' Eastatoe Creek 4/6/02
Walnut, Black 3'11" 110.1'+ Peach Orchard Branch 12/7/02
Walnut, Black 7'7" Eastatoe Creek 11/23/02
Walnut, White 5'3" 102.2' Peach Orchard Branch 12/7/02
Walnut, White 4'6" 91.2' Peach Orchard Branch 12/7/02
The mockernut is only the second individual of that species to
measured at over 135'. The northern red oak becomes the fifth
one in the
140' height class. One area just off of the crest of main ridge
mountain may support multiple white oaks over 130' waiting to be
Both the redbuds and spicebush are surprisingly large to be
growing in a
narrow cove. Most of the tuliptrees in the cove at the top of
branch look to be in the 140's, but several more 150'+
probably scattered amongst them. The 155.3' tree becomes only
tuliptree in SC away from Station Mountain to reach 150'. With
measuring, a handful of 115-120' black walnuts should be found.
white walnuts are among the healthiest I have seen.
I remeasured a pair of pignut hickories on Saturday that I first
last April. My initial measurements of the pignuts, which grow
side of the mockernut listed above, left me a bit incredulous.
cbh hickory measured 153.5' and the much younger 6'4" cbh
150.2'. Taking more time on Saturday to obtain accurate readings
bases, two separate tops of the larger tree measured 151.8' and
The more slender tree now appears to be the taller of the two at
The younger tree is probably growing more rapidly, but its top
susceptible to future storms. The pair now in a three way tie
with a tree
on Mill Creek in the Smokies for tallest known pignut hickory.
The Rucker index for Wadakoe is now 134.35', without the aid of
conifers. Once white ash and white pine are included I expect
will rise to around 138'. 140' is not out of the question. Much
mountain is still unexplored, especially on the north side. Two
mountains that have not been searched at all may have similar
Needless to say, I will be making several more trips to the area
27, 2003 21:21 PST
A few weekends
ago I spent a day looking at new coves on the west
and north slopes of Wadakoe Mountain in northwestern SC. The
rich soils present elsewhere on the mountain continue onto the
side, but steep slopes occupy the richest and moistest areas.
has also opened up large sections of the canopy. The canopy is
diverse with tuliptree, pignut hickory, bitternut hickory, white
black locust, and white basswood all being common. Beech, white
northern red oak, yellow buckeye, mockernut hickory, black
red elm are less frequent canopy species. On the north side of
mountain, canopy composition and topography are surprisingly
correlated. While buckeye grows only in the middle of the coves
white oak and mockernut hickory are restricted to the slopes and
the rest of the species listed above grow in both the coves and
on top of
one of the ridges. The rich ridge that separates two groups of
unusual topography. On one side, the ridge drops away at over 40
degrees, but a series of alternating short, steep slopes and
benches for the other side of the ridge.
Species Height Cbh
Ash, white 119.3' 8'9"
Beech 129.4' 9'8"
Buckeye, Yellow 107.5' 7'3"
Buckeye, Yellow 112.2'
Elm, Red 112.9' 5'5.5"
Hickory, Bitternut 116.1' 5'7"
Hickory, Mockernut 131.2' 7'8"
Hickory, Pignut 126.2' 7'10"
Hickory, Pignut 134.5' 7'8"
Locust, Black 130.4' 6'11"
Oak, White 129.0' 7'6"
Sycamore 116.6' 6'9"
Tuliptree 160.2' 7'3"
Yellowwood 78.3' 4'2"
I nearly walked
right past the 160' tuliptree without noticing
how tall the tree was. Shooting straight up in an adjacent tree
45 yards. A assumed the two trees were close in height, and
the cove. Looking back I saw that the tree towered above its
The tree has unusual crown structure, and the long limbs of the
appear to be continuing upward even though they are well above
surrounding canopy. The tree is the sixth tuliptree I know of in
exceed 160'. The yellowwoods on Wadakoe are the only ones I've
SC, and one of only two stands I have heard of in the state. The
is the third tallest I know of in SC, and the locust is the
Mountain (lower slopes)
28, 2003 06:17 PDT
Yesterday I visited several of the small coves on the lower
Wadakoe Mountain in northern SC. Most of these shallow coves
and open into the broad, cleared flats of Eastatoe Creek at 950'
elevation. The two drainages that I had previously explored the
parts of lead me to think that the lower elevations were drier
rich that the upper slopes of the mountain. This situation
turned out to
be the case in all but one pair of coves, which was sheltered by
relatively high, steep ridges. Beech, pignut hickory, mockernut
and tuliptree were the most abundant canopy species with some
chestnut oak, bitternut hickory, and sweetgum. Black walnut and
ash, which are common on the upper slopes, are absent from the
Species Cbh Height
Ash, white 6'3.5" 135.3'
Beech 4'10" 108.8'
Beech NA 108.8+
Beech 8'9" 116.3+
Hickory, Bitter 3'10" 113.6' 91:1 H/D
Hickory, Mock 5'0.5" 111.6'
Hickory, Mock 5'2" 118.6'
Hickory, Pignut 9'11.5" ~118' Upper slope
Hickory, Red 7'7.5" ~125' Upper slope, distinctive tree
Locust, Black NA 136.2+
Maple, Red 6'6" 102.6+
Oak, Chestnut 5'8" ~119'
Oak, Chestnut NA 121.7'
Oak, White 6'8" ~125'
Persimmon 3'2" 103.6' 103:1 H/D
Sweetgum 5'4" 122.0'
Tuliptree 5'8" 140.8+
Tuliptree NA 146.7+
Tuliptree 6'8" 151.3+
Several of the tree need to be remeasured in winter when crown
visibility is better. Two of the tuliptree bases where obscured
by a paw
paw thicket. The white ash puts the Rucker Index for the site
The locust is the second tallest I've measured in the state and
over 140'. The red maple and persimmon are the 23rd and 24th
the mountain I've measured over 100', which is the most I know
of for any
Appalachian site south of the Smokies.
Wadakoe Mountain (lower slopes)
06, 2003 18:58 PDT
attached a small spreadsheet for the sites in South Carolina
we've measured enough species at to compute a Rucker Index, but
fairly significant sites have been left off due to lack of data.
seven species on Rich Mountain, in the Chauga River drainage,
128.77', so mid 120's is likely for the site. The seven tallest
in a series of coves south of Station Cove average 135.43'.
more species will bring the index down some, but taller
individuals of the
presently included species will likely offset most of this loss.
Brasstown Creek, in the Brevard Fault Zone near the Georgia
has not been sampled at all. I think that creek is the most
unexplored area to have an index comparable to Wadakoe Mountain
Carolina Rucker Index
||Rucker Site Index
||Tallest Tree (ft)
||Largest Cbh (in)
Wadakoe Mountain (lower slopes)
06, 2003 19:52 PDT
Great information. I was curious about the acreage at these
sites, so have
added that to our index list (attached). I see that I'm a bit
Station Mountain, high for Long Cane/Big Curltail, and two
points off for
Wadakoe. Looks like I've missed a few of your trees. Can you
fill me in?
Will be interesting to see what you get along Brevard. You
great soils, right?
Wadakoe Mountain (lower slopes)
10, 2003 14:35 PDT
The discrepancy for Long Cane Creek stems from which species
grow at the
site. I original thought that either pin oak or shumard oak grew
pin oak's range ends several miles to the north and the oak is
in fact a
shumard. Replacing the 130.4 pin oak, with 116.0 for shumard
index I listed. The 130.4' tree was an unrelated cherrybark oak.
Station Mountain and Wadakoe mountain have benefited from more
findings. Wadakoe mountain now includes 136.2' black locust,
ash, and an odd 131.2' bitternut hickory (formally identified as
mockernut). A new 146.8' pignut hickory and a 143.4' black
been located at Station Mountain.
I more hoping than expecting to find rich soils in the Brasstown
section of the Brevard Belt. The areas of the Brevard Belt that
so far are very variable in soil quality. I think Station Cove
in SC and
some Panther Creek coves in Georgia have among the richest soils
sites I've ever visited, but adjacent coves at Panther Creek and
just north of Tamassee Knob have acidic soils and mediocre
conditions. I'm hoping Brasstown Creek will have more coves like
circumneurtral Panther Creek coves.
01, 2004 12:46 PST
The calcium and magnesium rich bedrock of Wadakoe Mountain help
peak at the edge of the Appalachians in northern South Carolina
exceptionally diverse forests. Almost the entire mountain was
once, but never farmed. The extremely narrow section along the
and the steep upper rim may have helped one cove on west side of
mountain receive only a selective cut. The small flat area
forks of the drainage, a bench on one ridge, and the forks of
all support impressive trees. Rich soils and very sheltering
probably make the greatest contributions to supporting the tall
the cove. The rich soils also support high diversity in all
layers of the
canopy. Eupatorium, goldenrods, black cohosh, canada violet,
fern, wood nettle, and glade fern among other cover the forest
a few spots, spicebush and sweetshrub block out the herbaceous
they more frequently mix with slippery elm, flowering dogwood,
Hoptree and mock orange occupy the same position as those
species on some
thin soiled sections of the cove. The overstory is similarly
white ash sharing room with white basswood, pignut hickory,
chesnut oak, and northern red oak. Lianas, including poison ivy,
vines, and virginia creeper, occasionally tie the canopy layers
Overall, the mountain supports at least 60 species that can
size, and two new species of herbaceous plants were recently
The dogwood, blackjack oak, and downy serviceberry grow on one
mountains two main ridges. The white pine, a species restricted
edges of the mountain, grows along a stream at the foot of the
All of the other trees listed below grow in the cove described
Species Cbh Height Comment
Walnut, white 4'7" 95.7' Third on mountain confirmed over
Silverbell 4'8" 82.0'
Serviceberry 11" 19.4' Downy, small species in SC
Pine, white 8'10" 137.1'
Oak, blackjack 3'10" 62.6' Greenville likely has taller
Dogwood 1'11" 43.3' Beside blackjack oak
Cherry, black 6'11" 108.1' over 100' rare in SC
Ash, White 9'7" 143.9'
Ash, White 11'3" 144.3' Potential state champion
Ash, White 8'6" 153.4' Tallest known in state
Previously, a white ash on the East Fork of the Chattooga was
the only one
in the state confirmed at over 150'. The ash appear to still be
at a rate of 6" to 8" a year. The white ash and white
pine move the
Rucker Index for the site up to 141.37', the third highest in
behind the Congaree and Tamassee Knob.