tall tree news
29, 2006 07:59 PDT
In the light of recent events, this may seem a bit mundane, but
America has its first, laser-documented tree over 180 feet. The
Pacific Northwest's native cottonwood, Populus balsamifera
trichocarpa, was measured yeaterday to 180.3 feet to a live,
This was a tree I reported earlier this Spring as over 179 feet.
Based on information from Will on second-growth Liriodendron,
this west coast record will probably be short lived.
And we are STILL trying to find a second species over 150
10, 2006 11:25 PDT
I just returned from some fieldwork and went to remeasure the
Lewis River cottonwood in Southern Washington. The tree has two
different sprigs that pop above 179 feet, with the tallest being
Since this is just May, and both leaders are thrifty, it seems
likely that one or both of the leaders will be over 180 feet by
September, making this, I believe, THE TALLEST NATIVE HARDWOOD
IN NORTH AMERICA!!
12, 2006 05:54 PDT
Will and Bob,
It would be interesting to compare the density
of the tall
cottonwoods in a few stands where there is one or more very tall
the density of tall tuliptrees in a few stands where there is
more very tall tuliptrees, e.g. the best against the best to get
better idea about averages and probabilities. Given stands of
and cottonwoods on comparably good growing sites for the two
sufficient age on the stands, are we likely to find the stand
average to be greater for the cottonwood or the tuliptree?
We now know that there are many places in the
East where tuliptrees
break 150 feet. In fact, it has become clear that the tuliptree
trees in the 150 and above height class, by far, than any other
species including the lordly white pine. Above 150, the tulips
their way into the 160s in the middle and southern latitudes and
the species height curve takes a sharp dive. Based on what we're
from our ENTS measurements, a very small fraction make it into
but so far none have been confirmed in the 180s - although there
little doubt in my mind that a few have done it historically. I
that the high 180s represents the absolute best that the species
But back to the contest. In choosing the
tallest hardwood in the
U.S., do we go with the species with the single tallest
individual or do
we go with some kind of average or statistical distribution? I
there is a scattering of the pacific cost cottonwoods that are
170s and many in the 150s. Is that true Bob? Will, the gauntlet
thrown down. We gotta find a 180-foot tulip this summer.
12, 2006 18:36 PDT
Bob and Will,
Open-grown cottonwoods over 150 feet tall are fairly easy to
Forest grown cottonwoods over 165 feet tall are super common,
yet I have only measured 7 trees over 175 feet tall.
From my observations from ground-based and within-tree surveys
(I have spent several days on rope in giant cottonwoods), there
is a continual breakage of thumbsized twigs that goes on in the
crowns of these trees. Like many Salix species, the last set of
twigs before the leaves are brittle and snap off with the
With these record height trees, this is probably in part due to
some relationship with moisture stress, but is a feature of the
trees in general.
My guess would be that your second-growth Liriodendrons that are
over 170 feet tall have a better chance of reaching 190 feet
than any of the Populus I am familiar with.
14, 2006 10:06 PDT
To keep things in perspective, here is an interesting recent
One of my close associates, who works with me quite a bit and is
quite good with tree measurements, was working on Catalina
Island in southern California and measured some trees in a grove
of Eucalyptus globulus. He measured several trees over 230 feet
tall, with one just over 239 feet!
These trees have their roots in a stream drainage, and have
sunny weather nearly every day of the year. These are easily the
tallest Angiosperm trees in the Western Hemisphere! They are
also not even 100 years old!
That is the good news. All of these trees are scheduled for
removal because the island is trying to restore native
ecosystems by removing non-native vegetation.
We will certainly try to obtain some canopy-level info before
their demise, but I am not sure if we have any recourse in
trying to save these extremely significant trees.