Wadakoe's north end (SC)   Jess Riddle
  Mar 03, 2005 09:11 PST 

Wadakoe Mountain, elevation 1865', rises some 900' on the southern edge of
the Blue Ridge in Pickens County, South Carolina. The small coves on the
northeast corner of the mountain were the last to be searched for tall
trees, generally due to more difficult access than other parts of the
mountain. The coves turned out to have greater oak dominance and lack
some of the high nutrient indicators, such as paw paw and black walnut,
that occur in coves that begin higher on the mountain. Both drier
conditions and location near a change in bedrock may explain part of those
relative differences. The northernmost sections of the coves had dense
heath understories, lacking on the rest of the mountain, and are most
likely underlain by a somewhat acidic nice rather than the calcium rich
amphiboles that occur higher up the mountain. However, section of the
coves closest to the steep slopes of the mountain proper support some
exceptional trees growing in canopies of unremarkable height, and
revisiting some of the adjacent coves yielded some pleasant surprises.

Cbh Height Species
NA 136.2 Ash, Green
6'2" 129.0' Basswood, White
7'1" 153.4' Locust, Black
7'7" 133.3' Maple, Red
9'3" 114.3' Oak, Black
6'?" 123.0' Oak, Black
4'8" 124.7' Oak, Black
NA 111.1' Oak, Chestnut
7'5" 133.6' Oak, Chestnut
NA 131.1' Oak, Northern Red
10'9" 147.4' Oak, Northern Red
5'3" 118.0'+ Oak, Scarlet
NA 125.2' Oak, Scarlet
Small 117.8' Pine, Shortleaf
4'9.5" 114.8' Pine, Virginia
7'2" 156.3' Tuliptree
5'10" 157.4' Tuliptree
6'9" 160.8' Tuliptree
9'4" 161.3' Tuliptree
4'9" 108.0' Tupelo, Black

The green ash is a remeasurement, and the only individual of the species
over 130' on the mountain outside of one cove that contains three
individuals over 140'. Growth intervals on the upper branches appear to
be slightly under a foot in length.
The basswood also has a couple of well defined, dominant leaders, and has
already reached the second greatest height known for the species in the
The black locust seemed like the real find of the day although it too had
been previously measured. On the original summertime measurement for the
tree I had to guess the location of the base, and the tree was still the
tallest measured on the mountain at 136'. Revisiting the tree, I
discovered the grapevine shrouded silverbell, spicebush, and pawpaw around
the base had hidden more of the lower trunk than suspected. Extending a
telescoping pole to 15' did little to help counteract the effect of the
vines, which are likely largely responsible for the three foot discrepancy
in heights. The 153.4' figure comes from throwing out the highest
measurement and averaging the other two. The tree looks every-bit of it's
height since natural disturbances have afforded a clear view of the entire
tree down to the grape vine shroud. The tree stands just upslope of talus
produced from a low volume waterfall. Even though the tuliptrees farther
down the cove have only reached approximately 150', the locust now stands
approximately 20' taller than any other locust on the mountain and over
nine feet taller than any other locust in the state.
The red maple also appears to be an anomaly. The next tallest I have
measured in the SC mountains is nearly 20' shorter, and the previous state
height record in the Congaree is over 10' shorter. The shagbark hickory
like bark, unusual for maples in the area, first attracted my attention to
the tree, and the weaving, off-center branches made the overall height
quite surprising to me.
The black, chestnut, and northern red oak heights are all new bests for
the mountain. The northern red oak stands at the top of an otherwise
unexceptional ravine sheltered by forest covered slopes inclined at over
40 degrees. The base is somewhat swollen to support the offset main
trunk, but the entire crown is ascending and upward pointing. While this
tree is the forth tallest known in the state behind one on the Whitewater
River, one at Tamassee Knob, and another in the Brevard Belt. Tall
northern red oaks are far scarcer and more scattered at Wadakoe than at
Tamassee Knob.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Francis took down the tallest known scarlet oak
in the state, but several others in the vicinity, including the two listed
above, survived the storm
The virginia pine survived Francis unscathed, but time has still caught up
the tree. The pine's foliage was quite thin, so it will probably not
survive much longer. The 114.8' figure is the second highest measured in
the state.

Rucker Index
161.3' Tuliptree
153.4' Green Ash
153.4' Black Locust
152.6' Pignut Hickory
147.4' Northern Red Oak
137.1' White Pine
136.6' Mockernut Hickory
133.6' Chestnut Oak
133.6' Shortleaf Pine
133.3' Red Maple
144.23' RI

That index places Wadakoe firmly in the third position in SC, behind the
Congaree and Tamassee Knob/central Brevard Belt.

Jess Riddle
RE: Wadakoe's north end   Robert Leverett
  Mar 03, 2005 10:59 PST 


   Will Blozan has measured them to even greater heights in the Smokies.
He has broken 160. Reference the ENTS website tall tree Listing

   162.0 6 1.0
   152.2 N/A
   148.4 4 10.0                                    

   In the Northeast, so far, roughly 126.6 ft is our best. Black locust
is a remarkable species, north or south.

   When we review our discoveries/confirmations of the past decade, a
picture of species potential begins for me that leads to the possibility
of even grander pre-settelement forests than I had heretofore believed -
at least in large areas of the South.