Cold Mountain Overlook American Chestnut

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James Parton
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Cold Mountain Overlook American Chestnut

Post by James Parton » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:50 pm

ENTS,

Yesterday I went on a Blue Ridge Parkway ride with my close friend Clay Tench and his two kids Ian and Emily plus Ian's friend Dakota. The last stop we made before coming off the Blue Ridge Parkway was the View Cold Mountain overlook. The overlook is at the junction of US 276 and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

While walking along taking in the sights I noticed a chestnut tree that looked absolutely full of nuts! I showed it to Clay and then went to get my camera and measuring gear out of the car. Clay knew of a trail down to a forest service access road below the overlook and below the chestnut. Heading on down we accessed the road and walked the short distance up until we saw the tree. I explained to Clay that many American Chestnuts do not make it big enough to bear nuts and that this was a decent find. I told him some about the blight as well. I also noticed several other smaller trees in the immediate area. None of those had nuts though. The Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron were dense here and I knew the tree would be hard to get to and measure. But I thought I would try and at least get a girth measurement. It turned out that Clay's 10 year old daughter Emily Grace followed me into the brush. She turned out to be a BIG help. First we measured the trees girth and I then took a picture of Emily with the tree. Then I tried to find an adiquate place far enough from the tree to measure it. I could see the top but not the bottom, plus I was probably still too close for the laser to be used on the trees base. I used the tape to measure the distance from where I stood to the trees base. It would have been impossible without Emily's help here. Emily held the tape where I had stood while I wound the tape through the undergrowth keeping it straight. Upon reaching the trees base and pulling the tape straight I wrote down the measurement. Then I went back to where Emily stood sending her back to the trees base so I could use her to " spot " the tree's base to get a reading for the clinometer. I had her to wave her hand and hold it up at the trees base so I could see where the base was, plus her bright pink shorts made her easy to see through the undergrowth. I got the angle. The top could be done normally since it was far enough up and away to use the laser and was unobscured. We found one unopened burr on the ground which I took home so I could open it and see if they are viable nuts inside.

Afterwards we walked up the road a little ways and took some pictures of butterflies and flowers. Then it was back to the car.

The trees measurements are: 1' 5 1/2" cbh and 26.2 feet tall.

The overlook's elevation is 4542 feet asl.

I opened the burr this morning to find only a tiny atrophied nut inside. That seems to be the norm around here. Also I noticed the orange tell-tell fungus on the chestnut signaling the blights presence. However it appeared healthy. Other living trees nearby had some blight killed limbs and some other standing dead trunks where seen too. This tree probably does not have long before it is killed back to the roots. It's sad.

I really give a BIG THANKS to Emily for helping me measure this tree for ENTS!, othewise it would have not been possible for me to do it alone.

James
Attachments
Emily & American Chestnut.JPG
AmCh1.JPG
AmCh2.JPG
AmChLimb.JPG
Loaded!.JPG
AmChBurr.JPG
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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dbhguru
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Re: Cold Mountain Overlook American Chestnut

Post by dbhguru » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:36 pm

James,

I loved the post. It really speaks to what ENTS is all about on many levels.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Cold Mountain Overlook American Chestnut

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:06 pm

There's a decent sized American chestnut behind the Mount Pisgah Inn. At least I'm pretty sure it's an American chestnut. We had a Chinese chestnut in our back yard when I was a kid in Decatur GA and it's not one of those.

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James Parton
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Re: Cold Mountain Overlook American Chestnut

Post by James Parton » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:47 am

James S,

It is almost certain to be an American Chestnut. They are pretty common in the woods around the Pisgah Inn. I have measured some in the 30ft height range there. That does not sound tall but one has to remember that it is at an altitude of nearly 5000 feet asl and most trees at that altitude do not grow very tall.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Cold Mountain Overlook American Chestnut

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:54 am

One thing I was wondering...does anyone eat American chestnuts anymore? Supposing you could find them, of course. When I was a teenager my dad located an American chestnut tree that was bearing fruit. We gathered them up in a large bag. But he wouldn't let me taste any of them, insisting that we box them up and mail them to the University of Georgia along with directions to the tree. It was not far from from a road cut near what is now Carter's Reservoir. Two years later the tree got the blight and died. We never heard from the UGA as to whether they had the chestnuts or of any purpose for them. I always think of some grad students and their professor sitting around eating them.

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James Parton
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Re: Cold Mountain Overlook American Chestnut

Post by James Parton » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:27 am

James S,

I did try the chestnuts from a large American Chestnut ( Hybrid? ) on Dillingham rd near Douglas Falls. They were small and sweet. Very good for a chestnut. The only chestnuts I have eaten that taste better, by a small margin are the small chinkapins.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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