Latitude and Height Variations:    Robert Leverett
  Apr 27, 2006 05:59 PDT 

It is really interesting how white ash and sugar maple do so well in
MTSF, but hemlock and black cherry fall well behind Cook Forest. It
would be interesting to tally the tall trees of the Northeast and
compare them to their counterparts in the Southeast now that our bank of
data has grown to the point where comparisons are based on plenty of
data. I have had the perception for some time that the height
differential from north to south averaged over the species that have a
large north-south latitude range is on the order of 20 feet. Maybe it's
time to take a look at the data we have and see what the numbers show.
For instance, when the Boogerman Pine had its top, it was 207 feet. The
Longfellow pine is 182.5. That's a 24.5-foot difference. The maximum
height difference for northern red oak is probably 155 versus 140 or 15
feet. Tuliptree is 178 versus 158, etc., etc., etc.

   The difference from north to south would ultimately increase by
adding species that are marginal in the north, but strong in the south
like sweetgum and decrease with species that are strong in the north and
weak in the south like big tooth aspen, but I'll bet the overall average
will stay around a 20-foot differential.

   We're collecting the maximums for Lee Frelich anyway. Might as well
do some regional comparisons while we're at it.

Re: John Eichholz strikes again
  Apr 27, 2006 07:13 PDT 

I would wonder whether the shorter hemlocks in MTSF than Cook and points
south could relate to the growing season as much as anything else. Hemlock
seems to be an earlier growing season tree and most of its growth stops a little
earlier than the white pine.

One thing I have learned about black cherry is that although species has one
of the largest physical ranges of any tree in the eastern US it has the
smallest commercial range of any major timber species in the world. Cook Forest
and PA in general is close to the center of where cherry grows best but I
have also heard of some excellent cherry sites in the Finger Lakes Region of NY
and near Jamestown, NY.

Black cherry grows from Maine to Mississippi and throughout West Virginia
but it is generally thought to grow to its highest quality and size above 2500'
in elevation.

My bootstrap guess (with nothing other than gut instincts) is that in places
like GSMNP the best cherry would occur at elevations above 3000 to 3200'.

RE: John Eichholz strikes again   Robert Leverett
  Apr 27, 2006 07:33 PDT 


   It will be interesting to see what Will says about where the best
Cherries grow in the Smokies. I suspect that you are right, though. One
thing I do know its that there are monster black cherries in the Smokies
that redine large for the species. There are some huge black cherries
near Lake Erie in upstate NY. What's the largest you've seen of the
species in WV?

   How does prime black cherry rank today value wise relative to black
walnut and other commercially valuable species?

Re: John Eichholz strikes again
  Apr 27, 2006 07:57 PDT 

Black cherry is at the top of the price and value heap but exceptionally
high quality sugar maple veneer will rival the best cherry in price.

The very top end for veneer cherry logs right now is between $8 and $10 per
board foot with top end sugar maple close to $6/foot. Walnut is up there but
not much more than sugar maple....walnut has lost a lot of its value since
plastic, polymer and metal gun stocks have become more popular.

I have only seen really impressive cherry in the Mon around Cranberry Glades
and near the headwaters of the Cherry River....quite appropriately named, if
I say so myself.

Today I am working on a property where I have encountered several scarlet
and black oaks above 11' CBH and a lot of red oaks over 10' CBH...most of the
three species mentioned are over mature and in poor health and low vigor, esp
black oak.