noble ash tree
02, 2004 10:11 PST
Jess and Will:
Our hats are off to the two of you for giving
us some ceiling numbers
form Fraxinus americana. Jess, you trumped my weekend finds by
bit. However, the Trout Brook ash trees are mere seedlings. They
lots of growing left to do. If were ever going to get a
Mohawk, I think the Trout Brook drainage will be the place where
When Jani and I first moved to New England, I
noticed the white ashes
with their unusual fall color change sequence. Their foliage
delicate and feathery. I didn't know where the ash fit into the
tree hierarchy in those days and didn't really see their heights
Twenty-nine years later the ash trees
are the lords of the
Berkshire hardwoods. They top the sugar maples, northern red
American beeches by 10 to 15 feet and sometimes nearly 20. Yet
relatively light furrowing, gray-white bark, and feathery
imparts a delicate appearance.
For a period of time, it looked like the
southern Appalachians were
going to play second fiddle to the northern Appalachians for at
this one species. They Will broke 150, followed by 160, and now
broken 150. The southern ashes soar and surpass their northern brethren
by 10 to 20 feet.
Whether of the white or green variety,
the ash is a noble species
worthy of all the accolades given it by Donald Culross Peattie.
as fine as our northeastern ash trees are, I feel cheated that
have the third species, the blue ash. Now, that is one classy
presume they require limey soil. I've been thinking about
planting one. Does anybody have any words of wisdom about the
02, 2004 17:56 PST
I am amazed at your white ash up there. It kicks the snot out of
western PA glaciated sites. The best ash I've seen so far is in
Ricketts Glen. Your description of the ash at Ice Glen sounds
comparable to the best I've seen at Ricketts. I haven't broke
ash there yet, but the odds point to one being there somewhere.
last grove I was in on my last trip there had many over 120 with
in the 130's. In time, I'd put money on one of us finding a 140
ash in there somewhere. I didn't fully survey that entire stand
ran out of daylight.
02, 2004 15:45 PST
After my walk today in the Trout Brook basin I would agree. The
noble ash reaches a
pinnacle of sorts in there.
As I entered the basin I rechecked the lower pine area. The
151.4'h x 8.1'c one is
the tallest found so far but there is a 148' and a couple over
140' also. These are
young pines growing in an extremely favorable site. Barring
tallest one should exceed 160' in the next decade or two.
Travelling upstream, a tall 121.5' basswood caught my eye. This
led me to cross the
stream and enter an area I had ignored before, but which turned
out to be a classic
example of a high growth boulder field, with moss and ferns
covering the boulders and
fallen logs. It reminds me more of Dunbar Brook than the boulder
field at the base of
Todd mountain, but the average age of trees is lower. The canopy
was almost entirely
hardwoods, dominated by white ash, yellow birch and black birch,
with some beech,
sugar maple and red maple.
On the slope, I measured an American Beech to 118.8', which
surprised me. Beech in that
height class are rare in MTSF. I next measured a red maple to
111.7' and another very attractive beech to 105.7'
This was followed by a series of the nicest white ash I have
encountered. They are growing on a bench above the brook, at the
base of the boulder
field. The bench is wide enough to have good soil depth and long
enough to fit lots
of trees. I measured three ash over 130' and there are many over
120' Most of them
are young, with circumferences in the 4' to 6' range, although
there are several in the
7' to 8' range.
Across the brook I measured a hemlock to 120.7' Farther upstream
was a hemlock to
126.1', which I think has been reported before. I also found a
formed hemlock growing in a thick patch of hemlock on the slope
above the brook.
This led me to a grove of ash trees I have had my eye on. They
are growing thickly in a
bouldery cove above the brook and are hard to measure. I
measured one to 133.7', and
another nearby to 126.8'. I was then surprised by a black birch
at 109.3'. The
capstone of the day followed, a white ash that climbed to 142.4'
with a circumference
The Trout brook basin now has three state height champions
(Norway spruce, black
cherry and yellow birch) a runner up (sugar maple), white pine
above 150', white ash
above 140', sugar maple above 130', and a great depth of other
species. Missing from
the canopy but present elsewhere in MTSF are bitternut hickory
and bigtooth aspen. Red
oak is present, but not to great heights. My records show
a Rucker index of 126.5 in
an area that does not exceed 150 acres. What else is in there?,
one has to wonder.
Top ten list I am aware of:
White pine 151.5'
White ash 142.4'
Sugar maple 132.0'
Norway Spruce 127'+
Eastern hemlock 126.1'
Black cherry 125'
Am. basswood 121.5'
Am. Beech 118.8'
Red maple 111.7'
(should go higher)
Black birch 109.3'
Rucker index 126.5
WP 140.0' 9.4'c
WP 151.5' 8.1'c
BW 121.5' 4.9'c (one of a triple)
AB 118.8' 7.3'c
AB 105.7' 6.8'c
RM 111.7' 6.4'c
WA 111.9' skinny
WA 134.0' 6.3'c
WA 132.6' 7.2'c
WA 127.3' 4.5'c
WA 126.2' skinny
WA 126.2' fat
WA 131.6' 5.1'c
WA 133.7' 7.0'c
WA 142.4' 8.0'c
EH 120.7' 7.1'c
EH 126.1' 6.7'c
EH 123.9' 7.0'c
BB 109.3' 5.0'c
That was the most fun I have had tree hunting in many moons.