27, 2004 19:41 PST
Has any work been done to determine how long chestnut oak lives
or how large
its' maximum size is.
In western Massachusetts and southern Vermont where I first
encountered CO is
was mostly a crooked, scrubby tree on very poor sites.
In central West Virginia, left over old growth chestnut oak is a
component in many private woodlands with individuals between 9'
and 12' CBH not
The tree was never favored for timber so it is often the largest
individual tree species encountered on private woodlands.
Because it grows
exceptionally slow, trees as small as 24" in diameter can
be in excess of 230
years old. I have counted the rings on many trees that were over
330 years old.
I have often wondered just how ancient some of the 14-15' CBH
I have encountered may be.
In some of the better growing sites for chestnut oak the trees
can have 50
feet of clean bole and run up to 110 feet tall. However, if the
CO is 110'
tall, red oak is at least 120' on the same site. The fattest
chestnut oaks are
usually under 90' tall.
Any insights from around the boonies would be appreciated.
27, 2004 22:25 PST
Chestnut oak is very common on the steep slopes along this part
of the Severn River, "The Hudson in Miniature." It
grows rapidly here in "The Highlands of the Severn,"
and I've seen three over 15' CBH. The oldest I've cut was 160
years. Although some, judging from the thick narrow bark plates
on the sheltered side, may be more, older specimens often
succumb to windthrow and root rots.
Chestnut oak dominates excessively drained steep south to
west-facing loamy sands, with some black oak, white oak and
Virginia pine. Form is rather compact on these sites. The
tallest trees, to 124.8', are found on low-slope positions on
sites having some tuliptree.
Maryland's largest specimen is on the Eastern Shore, in Queen
Anne's County. It's open-grown, one trunk, 20' 9" x 90 h. x
115 spr. Coppices are very common hereabouts; the largest I've
seen divided about six feet up and was over 22' in
& Neil Pederson
28, 2004 04:59 PST
I know of at least 6 chestnut oaks more than 400 years old
by 3 different people. There seems to be a 7th on Savage
MD. The exact age of that tree is not given in a paper about
history on Savage Mountain.
One of the 6 chestnut oaks was hollow at the base of its stem.
had just fallen and was cored ~12' above its root collar. All of
would make me think chestnut oak can live at least 450 years. It
hard to prove that chestnut oak lives longer than 4 centuries
heartwood decay is prevalent among trees in this age class. I've
cored several very old looking chestnut oak that proved to be
Hope this helps,
28, 2004 05:49 PST
have cored co to 398 years, and seen trail cut trees over 400 in
Smokies. The largest I know of in the Smokies is 18'10",
but most big ones
are less than 15'. Three trees have been found over 140' tall,
much more common.
28, 2004 12:01 PST
That gives me something good to go by. I think that the maximums
in terms of
size are not likely to be found in West Virginia. It is such a
of the original forest that I have often wondered where they
could factor in.
I'll be taking a closer look at some of the big stumps I
additional ring counts.