The Two Titans

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The Two Titans

Post by djluthringer » Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:03 am


I’ve just finished compiling all our volume modeling data from the tape dropped Susquehannock Hemlock and Bucktail Hemlock via Vortex Solo R/T. Here’s the stats:

Bucktail Hemlock (Bucktail SP Natural Area)
16ft CBH x 97.9ft high x 48.5ft avg crown = 302 AF points
836ft^3, ~10,032 board ft

Susquehannock Hemlock (Deer Meadow Old Growth Area (Cook Forest SP)
13.8ft CBH x 135ft high x 55ft avg crown = 315 AF points
1036ft^3, ~12,435 board ft
Height tape climbed by Kris Edson’s crew from Penn State. Actual climb to top conducted by Norm Parks, now lead tree surgeon from Penn State, and Nate Potter.

I remember Will saying years ago that the Susquehannock would likely go over 1000 cubes when tape dropped. Before tape drop several years ago Will had it modeled out to I believe 970 cubes. I was hopeful then, but very glad to see we now have our first official 1000 cube hemlock in the Northeast AND it’s at Cook Forest State Park!

With the huge single stem girth of the Bucktail, I really thought it was going to come in with more volume, but at 27.ft up, the Susquehannock diameters overtook the Bucktail’s. At 48.9ft up the Bucktail, there was a distinct “pinch point” where things tapered very quickly at 3.26ft diameter, whereas the Susquehannock was still holding strong at 3.73ft across. From ~49ft up the Bucktail to the top was a jumbled mess of limbs & crown that I wasn’t able to get my laser through, or could see the trunk edges for the Vortex Solo R/T. The Susquehannock was also another ~37ft taller.

The Susqhehannock’s official vertical tape drop height came in right at 135ft. The actual stem length was 136.2ft, so not much lean. The actual top of the tree was ~6-7ft from the base. Norm’s crew was able to get a hand right to the top sprig! At ~126ft high the limb they were on was ~5” across!

Although the Bucktail does not beat out the Susquehannock for volume, it is still the largest DBH girth of any known forest grown single stem hemlock in the Northeast. Here’s the current E. hemlock volume tallies we have for Pennsylvania trees:

Tree Name CBH Height volume ft^3) ~volume (bf) AF Points location Comments

Susquehannock Hemlock 13.8 135 1035 12,420 315 Cook Forest State Park-Deer Meadow Old Growth Area largest known by volume in NE US
Tionesta Hemlock 11.8 135 866 10,392 N/A Tionesta Scenic Area
Mohawk Hemlock 13.4 134.4 853 10,236 311 Cook Forest State Park-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area
Camp Trail Hemlock (dead) 13.8 125.4 844 10,128 304 Cook Forest State Park-Ridge Camp Old Growth Area
Bucktail Hemlock 16 97.9 836 10,032 302 Bucktail SP Natural Area (possibly Sproul SF) largest known DBH girth forest
grown single stem hemlock in NE US
Bridle Trail Hemlock 14.2 122 791 9,492 306 Cook Forest State Park-Forest Cathedral Natural Area
Seneca Hemlock 12.1 147.6 753 9.036 304 Cook Forest State Park-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area
Mohawk Hemlock #2 12 145.4 745 8,940 N/A Cook Forest State Park-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area
Hearts Content Hemlock 15.2 128.7 637 7,644 324 Hearts Content Natural Area current PA state champ

One thing comes to light from above, note that the tree with the most wood in it, is NOT the state champ. The American Forests (AF) big tree formula since its inception has outweighed girth of a tree 12x more than height. Note also that the current state champ hemlock (Hearts Content Hemlock) has roughly 4,800bf less wood in it compared to the Susquehannock! The AF formula is useful for its designed purpose, but has its limitations. There are many ways to measure “bigness” of trees. Taking accurate volume measurements takes time and either special equipment & knowledge, or a highly skillful tape dropped tree climb. This is not something that the average tree measurer will attempt. This is where the Native Tree Society flourishes, and is more than happy to fill that gap.

Best Regards,


Bucktail Hemlock1
Bucktail Hemlock2
Bucktail Hemlock3
Susquehannock climbers
Susquehannock climbers.jpg
Susquehannock Hemlock1
Susquehannock Hemlock1.JPG
Susquehannock Hemlock2
Susquehannock Hemlock3.JPG

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Larry Tucei
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

Re: The Two Titans

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:44 am


Congratulations on breaking 1000 cubes. Those are some awesome Hemlocks! The scale is off the charts and it makes me want to compare some of the southern Loblolly Pine. I believe we have a few that might make the 1000 cube club.


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Re: The Two Titans

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:48 am

Amazing! Being from SE PA, I am very eager to explore the forests in the SE. I believe they hold great potential for record-heights, and maybe even girths!
The Stateline Woods Preserve in Kennett Township PA has some grand trees, and may be a small old-growth forest at around 10 acres in size, though some of the trees probably reach 150-160 easily.

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