Confirming a State Champion

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Matt Markworth
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Confirming a State Champion

Post by Matt Markworth » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:18 pm

All,

The Ohio big tree coordinator asked me to remeasure the Ohio Champion Shumard oak and I spent about an hour with the tree today. I think this is a good example of the type of situation that will be encountered by the National Cadre. It was measured in 2003 as 244" x 107' x 91'. My measurements from today are 278" x 112' x 100'.

Upon reviewing the rules on the Ohio big tree site, I will also need to take a girth measurement based on 4.5' above the upslope side. Here is a diagram from the Ohio site:
ohio upslope.JPG
ohio upslope.JPG (17.13 KiB) Viewed 1256 times
I used the Trupulse 200 for the measurement to the top. Because of clutter, I used my Nikon 440 for the shot to the tape that was positioned at 4.5' above midslope. I used the Trupulse 200 for the angle to the tape. The two spread measurements were done with a tape.

Based on this diagram from the Ohio site, I will need to reduce my height measurement to 110.75'. My measurement of 112' was based on midslope.
Capture 2.JPG
Capture 2.JPG (17.8 KiB) Viewed 1256 times
I have included a photo of a couple leaves, some acorns, and some buds that were collected from below the tree. I searched around and looked at a lot of leaves. The biggest one pictured is the closest match to Shumard oak that I saw. To me, the acorns favor scarlet oak more than Shumard oak. I'm interested to see what others think. I didn't search extensively for acorns, so I can certainly find more if needed.
Leaves, Acorns, Buds
Leaves, Acorns, Buds
Full Tree
Full Tree
Full Tree
Full Tree
Fork
Fork
Crown
Crown
Girth - Downslope
Girth - Downslope
Girth - Midslope
Girth - Midslope
Girth - Upslope
Girth - Upslope
Girth - Midslope
Girth - Midslope
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Tape Measure
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Top of Tree
Matt

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Will Blozan
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:27 am

Matt,

Great example of what to expect. I see no reason to base a height reference on a dynamic part of the tree. I think by definition a reference point should be stable, unchanging. Really weird.

Will

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by Jess Riddle » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:11 am

Matt,

I really like the way you've documented this tree; good photos to get a feel for and overall impression of the tree, and good photos for identification. This is a tree we need to be certain of the id on as it will make not only the Ohio champion tree list, but also the MaxList for either species. The bark and buttressing of the base look more like shumard to me, and I don't see concentric rings around the tip of the acorn, which is one of the key breaks for separating scarlet from shumard. The only thing that make me hesitate in calling it shumard is the caps cover quite a bit of the acorn and are fairly domed, which goes with scarlet in the key break. In any case, impressive tree.

Jess

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tsharp
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by tsharp » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:15 pm

Matt:
A couple of things make we lean toward Scarlet:
Many times in central WV the last Oak to lose their leaves is Scarlett. It looks like surrounding trees have lost theirs.
If it is a sunny day and you are on a ridge you can pick the "scarlet" color out for miles. Your picture looked like a cloudy day - how would you characterize the leaf color?
Was that a dry or wet hillside?
To me the shape of the sinuses and their angle to the midrib says Scarlet.
I have no experience with Shumard except planted specimens so my observations may have no bearing on Shumard ID

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by Matt Markworth » Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:50 pm

Will,

Good point! It's definitely not where the acorn sprouted. I'll ask the Ohio coordinator if there has been any discussion of changing the Ohio rules to midslope.

Jess,

Thanks for taking a look at it. I visited the tree again today and have some more photos. I looked closer at the bark and it's right for Shumard. I looked at more acorns and I didn't see any concentric rings around the tip. I agree, the acorn caps aren't right. They don't look like other Shumard oaks that I've seen. Maybe there is some intergrading going on.

Turner,

Good point, the leaves are hanging on longer than some of the other oaks. I have some color deficiency, so I'm not great with distinguishing leaf colors. The hillside seems fairly moist. I agree that the sinuses don't seem quite right for Shumard. I would expect more symmetry.

All,

Unless these photos provide any additional clues, this may be a case of not having enough evidence to move away from the original id of Shumard oak. While I was there today I measured the girth at 4.5' above the upslope side. It's 21'11', compared to 23'2' for the girth at 4.5' above midslope.
Tree and Me
Tree and Me
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Bark
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Will Blozan
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:21 pm

Matt,

I would lean more towards Shumard based on the photos. Are there scarlet oaks in the area? Is the soil limestone or circumneutral? Scarlet would hate that I bet.

Will

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bbeduhn
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:26 am

The bark does not look like scarlet to me but the bark may vary in different geographic regions. I see straight ridges in the southeast, not the zigzaggy meandering pattern that this tree has. The base of the tree is usually a dead giveaway on scarlet oak. I'd definitely go Shumard based on the bark. Leafwise, it's a toss up.

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DougBidlack
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by DougBidlack » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:58 am

Matt,

I decided to weigh and measure (length and diameter) some Shumard and Scarlet Oak acorns that I've collected this fall. I generally weigh all the acorns and divide by number of acorns then I take the 10 largest acorns and weigh them to get an average of the largest. The reason I do this is that some trees produce few good acorns in some years and weighing only the largest helps to weed out the extreme low end acorns so that a better comparison can be made between trees. In some cases I collected so few acorns that I might only weigh the 5 best acorns or something like that.

Shumard Oak acorns (all from Belle Isle, Detroit, MI in Wayne County)

#1 30g/11 = 2.73g
16g/5 = 3.20g
20-24mm long
14-17mm diameter
very poor shape and would be significantly heavier if fresh

#2 106g/32 = 3.31g
39g/10 = 3.90g
17-21mm long
18-22mm diameter
also poor shape and would be heavier if fresh

#3 98g/25 = 3.92g
46g/10 = 4.60g
19-25mm long
15-19mm diameter
good shape and relatively fresh

#4 21g/4 = 5.25g
25-27mm long
18-19mm diameter
very fresh and taken directly from the tree...best possible shape


Scarlet Oak acorns (Sweets Knoll State Park, Dighton, MA in Bristol County)

#1 88g/38 = 2.32g
26g/10 = 2.60g
15-19mm long
13-16mm diameter
taken directly from tree

#2 64g/35 = 1.83g
20g/10 = 2.00g
15-18mm long
12-15mm diameter
taken directly from tree


Scarlet Oak acorns (Massasoit State Park, Taunton, MA in Bristol County)

#3 19g/11 = 1.73g
9g/5 = 1.80g
17-20mm long
12-14mm diameter
collected from ground during drought

#4 59g/31 = 1.90g
24g/10 = 2.40g
15-20mm long
11-15mm diameter
taken directly from tree

#5 61g/20 = 3.05g
34g/10 = 3.40g
17-22mm long
13-16mm diameter
taken directly from tree

After going through my notes trying to find older acorn measurements I noticed that I had already weighed the scarlet oak acorns on the 3rd of October while they were more fresh. In the meantime I had them in plastic ziplock baggies in the fridge. I thought I'd add these other numbers so you can see the weight loss over time. Some of this is water loss but I think most of it is due to weevils eating the acorns from the inside even though I try not to collect damaged acorns.

#1 93g/39 = 2.38g
27g/10 = 2.70g

#2 66g/35 = 1.89g
21g/10 = 2.10g

#3 20g/11 = 2.00g
19g/10 = 1.90g

#4 60g/31 = 1.94g
24g/10 = 2.40g

#5 62g/20 = 3.10g
34g/10 = 3.40g

I did also find two older scarlet oak acorn records from 2012. These were collected directly from the trees and weighed same day. They were collected from Massasoit State Park in Taunton, MA.

#1 97g/59 = 1.64g

#2 389g/115 = 3.38g

I also found one older record for Shumard Oak. These were collected directly from a tree in Harmonie State Park in southern Indiana.

398g/90 = 4.42g
73g/10 = 7.30g

These are a good deal heavier than those I collected in Michigan which is fairly normal. Southern acorns tend to be larger on average for most species.

One thing I thought was interesting is that all my scarlet oak acorns had vertical stripes while none of my Shumard oak acorns had stripes. I know this characteristic can be quite variable in many species but I think this pattern is 'typical' for these species. I can't see any stripes in your acorn pictures.

Doug

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:06 pm

Mark- The Bark looks like Shumard to me. The upslope photo you present looks almost exactly like one I measured in Noxubee NWF last year. Scarlet leaves would be one Red than Brown I would think? The Scarlet Oak grows all over Ohio while the Shumard grows not in many sites in Ohio right? Puzzling? Larry
Shumard Red Oak.jpg
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Matt Markworth
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Re: Confirming a State Champion

Post by Matt Markworth » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:13 pm

Will,

Thanks. I haven't seen scarlet oak extensively, but I have seen them. For the soil question, I asked someone locally that knows a lot about soils and here's what he said, "Given the topography seemingly flat, if it is natural regrowth and wasn't planted there, then it would likely be Switzerland which is a deep weekly acidic residuum soil covered in a variably shallow loess deposit unglaciated, or it is a Miami or Miamian-hennepin or hennepin which are deep weakly acidic to lightly alkaline glacial till deposits high in silt-sized particles in the upper horizons. These are my predictions, I'll let you know what the web soil survey says..."

Brian,

Thanks. That's exactly what I was thinking. If I was giving an example of a Shumard oak leaf (which I like a lot), I definitely wouldn't use a leaf from this tree.

Doug,

Very cool!

Here are measurements for six of the acorns (length doesn't include the very short stalk, and diameter is the diameter of the cup). Also, looking at them in person I just see very faint vertical stripes.

Length x Diameter in mm

20 x 18
22 x 22
25 x 18
28 x 19
29 x 23
29 x 22

Larry,

Thanks. Nice looking trunk! Yes, scarlet oak has a wider distribution than Shumard oak in Ohio. I've seen some really cool Shumard oaks down in the Bluegrass Region of KY.

Matt

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