Tallest Hardwoods   Will Blozan
  Nov 10, 2004 15:52 PST 

Yo, Dale and Tom,

I am totally confident that the tallest hardwoods are in second-growth or
younger stands of natural origin. Seriously-- ignore the OG for tall trees
(except maybe white pine and hemlock) and look at the little guys. This is a
lesson Burl-belly is now learning ;). I measured a grove in the Smokies last
weekend that will have a Rucker well over 130'. Two species of trees reach
160' (all hardwood) and the canopy dominants will easily average over 150'.
I took some core samples to age the stand. Guess what? 66 years at BH. I
know of 170' trees ~the same age (tuliptree). I think that 50-60% of the top
10 height records for the Smokies are in second-growth hardwoods.

I will post a full report soon, but the Smokies can now lay claim to a 167'
white ash and a 141' green ash. White basswood is a new inductee to the "150
Club", and sycamore is close to solidly occupying the 160' class (not just a
single tree as is the current representative). All are young trees and still
growing. White ash will be in the 170' club in 3-4 years, as may be
sycamore. Black locust can do 160+ feet in less than half as many years.

My question is where are the 180' tuliptrees? If a 70 year old tree can
reach 170', why can't 180' be reached by 120 years? Or 300 years? Or 600

I have no Earthly idea!

RE: Tallest Hardwoods   Dale J. Luthringer
  Nov 10, 2004 17:31 PST 


Advice taken. This pattern was beginning to be self evident in the
newly found Maple Drive old growth area. A couple of skinny black
cherry rockets approaching the upper 120's, and Am. beech appeared to be
following that pattern.

RE: Tallest Hardwoods   tpdig-@ysu.edu
  Nov 11, 2004 11:04 PST 

Will, Dale, et al.

Yep, younger growth is definitely the spot for the tallest hardwoods (some
exceptions of course). THE two killer tall tree spots in Zoar are among the
youngest beyond-stem-exclusion groves; just over the hump into maturity, but a
long way from late-successional. Specifically, the downstream/river edge
portions of Skinny Dip and Elm Terraces. These two river terraces offer nice
chronosequences, with most of the gnarly old growth upstream and/or tucked along
the canyon wall, and really impressive transitional groves downstream and nearer
to the river. Vigorous middle-aged tulip trees and sycamores seem to be driving
other species upward in these areas. Skinny Dip extends way out into a
pronounced river meander, and even has well demarcated stranded river banks
marking the transitions. How cool is that? Skinny Dip has a Rucker Index of
130.7', sure to rise by a foot or so because terrace-champion trees may not have
all been identified. BTW, Skinny Dip Terrace measures only 9 acres! Last
weekend's foray into the younger and more disturbed South Branch Canyon leads me
to believe other height champions may await discovery.

So many trees...

RE: Tallest Hardwoods   Robert Leverett 
  Nov 11, 2004 2:47 PM
Tom, Will, Dale, et al:

   The fairly youthful forests of MTSF add to the examples of young and
tall, but I'm reluctant to go too far don into youth as opposed to early

to middle adulthood. Here's a review of Mohawk's champs graded by age.
The ages are slightly conservative.

Species      Hgt       Growth Rate   Age

White Pine   165.4 ft Fast          >140

White ash    147.4 ft Slow          >180 (probably over 200)

Sugar maple 133.1 ft Dying back    >180 (maybe around 200)

Hemlock      131.0 ft Slow          >250 (could be closer to 300)

N. red oak   130.6     Fast           130 (cored)

Beech        130.0     Dying back    >175   

Bitternut    128.4     ????          >100

Bigtooth A. 127.7     Slow          >90

A. basswood 125.5     Slow          >120

Black Cherry 125.4     ????          ?????

   In the case of flood plain trees, greatest height may be reached
earlier than 100 years, but the mountain trees up this way appear to
reach greatest height after 100 years of age. Regardless, the greatest
heights are generally reached before onset of the old growth phase, but
not before a hundred years.

RE: Tallest Hardwoods   Dale J. Luthringer
  Nov 11, 2004 16:39 PST 


Good points. I'd estimate the age of Cook's tallest as follows:

Species Height Est. Age

E. white pine 182 250
E. hemlock 145.7 350
Black cherry 140 200
Tuliptree 136.6 150
White ash 128.3 150
White oak 126.8 225
Red maple 126 175
Am. beech 124.4 115
Cucumbertree 123.1 200
N. red oak 122.9 ? (never saw it-measured by
Leverett & Diggins)

I wouldn't call any of the trees fast growers. Most are slow, <4"/year,
whereas the record white pine and hemlock may put on just over 4"/year
depending on growing conditions. It's interesting how our fastest
growers are also conifers and probably our oldest specimens on this