Thanksgiving Trees in VA & NC  

TOPIC: Thanksgiving trees

== 1 of 7 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 5 2008 3:52 pm
From: "Will Blozan"


During my travels this past holiday I was able to have a few brief trips
into some new woodlands in the piedmont of NC and VA. While visiting my
brother in Greensboro, NC we went to the Greensboro Arboretum for a walk. Of
course I had my laser and shot a few trees. One nice white ash topped 123
feet but the find of the day was a huge Virginia Pine that ties a big one in
Asheville as a potential state champion. This straight, well formed tree was
80" cbh X 101' tall X 41' ACS for 191 points.

Speaking of Virginia, I was next at the "Poplar Forest", a retreat of Thomas
Jefferson in Forest, VA. Well, five trees remained of the original "Poplar
Forest" near the house. I did not measure any of them but they were nice,
old tuliptrees up to ~14' in girth. However, the forest bordering a creek by
the golf course harbored some nice tuliptrees. I measured or roughed out all
the tall-looking ones but could not break 150'. Mid 140's were hard to come
by and the tallest was 146.9 feet. A tree-of-heaven reached 97 feet. One of
the finest collections of black-haw viburnum I have ever seen grew in the
understory of the tuliptrees and associated exotics. Diameters over 8 inches
were encountered and one measured 35.3 feet tall which may be a new height
record for the species. The largest black-haw could be a single stem state
champion- the current champ is a fused mass as pictured on the VA Big Trees
website. There were no other trees of note other than a nice white oak 12.2
feet CBH X 115.9 feet tall. No photos were taken.

However, on the way to poplar forest I spotted a huge dome of foliage along
the highway. On the way back I pulled in and stopped at the house with the
huge tree. I asked and was given permission to measure and photograph the
tree. It was a southern red oak a whopping 21'1" in girth- with almost no
trunk flare. Although some huge limbs had been hacked off the tree it still
supported an average crown spread of 108 feet. Height was 84.8 feet and as
big as it was, it does not quite make the VA Big Tree List. Ed Frank will be
pleased to know I brought the midget for scale in the photographs.

I also spent some time at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, VA. I hiked
portions of most of the trails in the park and found nothing to report. The
forests are too young and disturbed to produce much yet. It was disturbing
to see acres and acres of Virginia pine forests with an understory component
dominated by Japanese honeysuckle, privet, and earthworms. I come across an
interesting site that must have been some form of limestone outcrop. Over
this several acre patch the short- canopied, open forest was dominated by
black walnut and honey locust. The mid and understory was full of redbud,
red cedar and a highly contorted Celtis, perhaps C. tenuifolia. They were
full of fruit and shared some space with paw-paw. The overall appearance of
the site was very unique to me- short trees, open canopy and an assemblage
of species I have not seen together in such abundance. It was perhaps
semi-savanna perpetuated by black walnut allelopathy. Here is a shot taken
just before the rain came.

Will F. Blozan

President, Eastern Native Tree Society
President, Appalachian Arborists, Inc.

== 2 of 7 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 5 2008 4:14 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


Places like this in which the trees are not spectacular, but represent an unusual assemblage or exhibit unusual character are something I feel is as important to document as are the big trees we measure. Other examples, such as the the rock elm forest in Minnesota, are also worth documenting. I am wondering if you or others have any ideas on how to better define or document these unusual assemblages that would give them more weight or importance when considering the ecologic or aesthetic value of various forested landscapes?

Ed Frank

== 3 of 7 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 5 2008 4:19 pm
From: "Will Blozan"


True. I have no idea if such a site has any significance at all in the
context of the state or eastern woodlands. To me, they are a novelty since I
don't encounter them regularly.

Will F. Blozan

== 4 of 7 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 5 2008 4:22 pm
From: James Parton


That is one monster Red Oak! I was also impressed with the Paradise
Tree ( Tree of Heaven ). I have never seen an Ailanthus so tall.

James P.