Treehenge & new member
  Aug 13, 2006 12:44 PDT 

Hello ENTS,

I've been wanting to join for a while now and I finally got around to it.

I became interested in this group because I love trees, old growth
forests, and people who care about accurate and precise measurements. I
am an entomologist by training, but I consider myself a naturalist. It
was difficult for me to pick one group of living things to study, so I
just picked the group with the most species. Anyway, I have a few areas
of interest/projects regarding trees. These are listed below.

Simply planting trees at my parents home in southeastern Michigan (5
acres) and at my home here in southeastern Massachusetts (1 acre).
Doesn't sound like much and I'm now nearly finished, but I also measure
every single tree every single year. OK, so that's no longer true,
because some of the trees became too tall for me to measure without
climbing...and this was causing problems with my mother and wife, both
were convinced I would fall and break my neck. Also, I'm afraid to
climb some trees such as tulip trees with their thin limbs...I feel like
I'll destroy them. So I naturally bought a clinometer and I was
immediately disgusted at the poor accuracy of this instrument. I
probably don't need to go into detail here, but I was measuring my trees
to the nearest inch. I am currently using a telescoping fiberglass
pole, but some of my trees are now over 50 feet and I'm afraid I'll have
to buy something a good deal more expensive. So part of the reason I am
here is simply to learn how to accurately measure trees to the nearest

I have convinced the folks at Kensington Metropolitan Park which has
property adjacent to my parents to allow me to plant bur, white and
swamp white oaks on a 30 acre field that they own. Each tree will be a
seedling from a state champion. Naturally, the measurement thing comes
in again. Many of these trees have measurements which I don't trust.
Some aren't even the correct species! Anyway I was hoping to create
something like an oak opening with the swamp white oaks around a nice
wetland. People could then see the variability within a species such as
a bur oak...from Maine to North Dakota to Texas and Virginia. I am only
part way on this, but it is going well.

My last project is perhaps the oddest, but also the coolest. It is also
the only one which is still on paper. It is called Treehenge. It will
happen in New England somewhere. The initial idea belongs to my friend
Rolf Parker who now lives in Brattleborough, VT. We fleshed the idea
out when we were grad students at Clemson, SC. Since it was Rolf's
idea, we are doing it in New England. He is a native New Englander. I
don't want to spend too much time describing this, but suffice it to say
that it will include every species of tree native to New England in two
rings. One ring will include only one species, bur oak, a real favorite
of ours (Clemson, SC has the state champion for this species). The
center tree is still an item of controversy. Two candidates are the
American Beech, my favorite tree and some food tree. Initially we
thought of fruit trees, but these are mainly non-native. Now we are
thinking of Chestnut. A great tree in every way...and it provides great

Well, that about does it for now.

Oh, one last thing. Has anyone measured the beeches in Warren Woods in
southwestern Michigan. I'm sure someone has, but I didn't see this area
mentioned on the website and I haven't gone through all the old messages
yet. There are some other nice trees at this site too, I'm especially
thinking of a nice hackberry.

Re: new member   Edward Frank
  Aug 13, 2006 20:45 PDT 


I am interested in hearing more about your Tree-Henge Project. As for
Warren Woods. Paul Jost and Lee Frelich visited the site in Sept 1994, but
did not do any measurements. As far as I know there has not been any
measurements by ENTS doen in the forest.

The ENTS website has the various posts to the discussion list sorted by
location in the Locations section - "Field Trips and Localities"   Basically
all of the trip reports are posted to the website. There is the trip listed
above in the index page for Michigan. Also on the home page of the website
is a search box. Type in the location you are looking for, and it will
search for all instances of those words or phrases on the website.

Ed Frank
Re: Treehenge   doug bidlack
  Aug 14, 2006 20:28 PDT 


I'll give you the basic outline for Treehenge for now
and work on some details when I find that info a
little later. All of this is a work in progress and
nothing is even close to written in stone. We have a
number of disagreements as you'll see.

First is the outer ring. This will be composed of
each tree species native to New England with breaks
between the trees for North, South, East and West.

The second, inner ring, will be composed of 12 bur oak
trees. Again, there will be breaks for the four
directions. We would like the branches of each tree to
touch its neighbor, so that a squirrel could easily
move around this ring without touching the ground.
This means that the openings would be more like tall
arches that would need to be constantly pruned. We're
not sure of the required height of these arches yet.

In the center will be a chestnut tree and the four
openings leading to this tree will be lined with two
layers of trees; an inner shorter layer and an outer
taller layer. Each of these four 'hallways' will
occur only between the first (outer) and second
(outer) rings. Outside of the outer ring and to
either side of each of the four openings will be two
large 'gate' trees. The trees composing the gates and
inner and outer layers will be different for each of
the directions.

We don't agree on the trees that should compose some
of these 'gates' and 'hallways'. Here is one
possibility that we sorta agree on. The North
(Winter) will have two white pines as gate trees,
hemlocks for the outer layer and white birches planted
very close together for the inner layer. The East
(Spring) will have sycamores for the gate, cootonwoods
for the outer layer and flowering dogwoods for the
inner layer. The South (Summer) will have beech trees
for the gate, elms for the outer layer and sweetbay
magnolias for the inner layer. The West (Fall) will
have sugar maples for the gate, quaking aspen for the
outer layer and black tupelo for the inner layer. If
I had my way, I would make some changes or at least
suggest some improvements. We completely agree on the
North: I wouldn't change a thing. For the East I
would prefer a couple of tulip trees that flower in
late spring rather than sycamores with their barren
limbs throughout much of the spring. I would also
replace the cottonwoods with beeches. I don't think
there is a more beautiful tree in the spring than a
beech with its new leaves. For the South I would
prefer larger trees than the beeches for the gate.
Ideally, they should be larger than the elms, but
what? Sycamores? I'm not sure. For the West I think
that replacing the quaking aspens with mockernut
hickories or sweet birches might be nice. Another
possibility might be an all maple West. Sugar for the
gate, red for the outside layer and striped for the
inside layer.

I hope this gives you a little better idea about
Treehenge. There are a number of other details, such
as what to plant between the hallways...we thought
about planting flowers, shrubs, grasses and other
plants which would look best at particular times of
the year. For example, the northeast quadrant could
represent spring and be planted in spring flowers
which would flower in sequence in bands running in a
clockwise direction.

There are plenty of possibilities, we just need to
figure out how much land we'll need and then start
working on a site. This is likely to take quite a
while, but we're patient.

RE: new member   Robert Leverett
  Aug 15, 2006 04:49 PDT 


Welcome to ENTS and thanks for sharing your fascinating project of
Treehenge with us. I would guess that there is a lot of symbolism in the
choice of species and their arrangements that is drawn from multiple
cultures. Is that the case? We would assume a Celtic/Druid connection
from "henge", but what else might there be?

   We have a highly creative writer and great Ent among us the the
personnage of Pamela Briggs in Iowa. I'll bet Pamela's head is stirring
with images from your description to Ed.

   Again, welcome aboard. You are among friends.