Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

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dbhguru
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Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by dbhguru » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:53 pm

Ents,

Recent posts on the mathematical processes we use to measure trees haven't attracted many readers, which is predictable and understandable. These submissions aren't exactly casual reading. The material isn't social media fluff. Must we stand by helplessly watching our heavy duty posts fade into obscurity? Erik Danielsen's recent modeling of a New York tuliptree and his intent to model some of the big white pines he and others recently discovered in the Adirondacks affords us an opportunity to breathe new life into trunk and limb volume modeling using the equipment that our measurers already have (laser rangefinder, clinometer, reticle-based monocular, tripod, digital camera, GPS receiver, and a recording media).

The eastern species that should be front and center in what I hope will once again become NTS modeling mania is the eastern white pine. In a conversation yesterday with Jess Riddle who lives in the northern Georgia Appalachians, Jess mentioned that this past summer he had measured a couple of white pines over 170 feet tall, the top being 177. He mentioned a third 170-footer growing over the the western Blue Ridge in the Cohutta Range. It's a 174-footer. However, the top heights in GA are, of course, three 180-footers, in the north Georgia appalachians, and another place has a 178-footer (maybe over 180 by now). How exceptional is that?

My informative high school years were spent in the little mountain town of Blue Ridge, GA, located in Fannin County,. The Appalachian Trail starts in my county (actually on the border of Gilmer and Fannin) a mere 17 miles distant, as the crow flies, from where I lived. I always new there were prominently tall white pines around the region, but in those days, they would have just been tall trees to me, nothing more. Today, I find it remarkable that the story of this iconic species has such wide roots. In the north, it lifts its lofty crown across New England, west to the Adirondack country of NY and on to Michigan and Wisconsin. Going south it has great prominence in Pennsylvania and then follows the Appalachians southward into the Smokies and into northern Georgia and South Carolina.

I find it remarkable that so few tree people understand today's white pine growing prowess. Lecturers and writers speak dreamy-eyed about the anecdotal accounts of monster pines of yesteryear in New England and Pennsylvania. But what is the species doing today, and who can speak authoritatively to the topic?

There remains a very small group of NTS tree measurers who are sufficiently competent to breathe life into the story of the great whites. Will Blozan, Jess Riddle, Dale Luthringer, John Eichholz, Elijah Whitcomb, Erik Danielsen, Jared Lockwood, Matt Markworth, Larry Tucei, Brian Beduhn, Michael Davy, Andrew Joslin, and the ever so humble lil' old me make up the diligent baker's dozen who have contributed the great majority of the white pine measurements. Considering the many outside of NTS who have at least some of the requisite measuring skills, their lack of understanding is perplexing, but undeniable. The overwhelming brunt of the task of telling the story must remain with the dedicated few.

So, where does all this leave us? I hereby propose that we in NTS officially declare 2018 to be the year of the white pine and strive to tell the story of this wonderful species that Henry David Thoreau saw as the true monarch of the forest. And it is a worthy story. While we weren't watching, a new generation of great whites has grown up into the height class that was heretofore thought to be relegated strictly to the pages of history. In at least one area of the Adirondacks, we have a a surprising concentration of 4-foot diameter class tall great whites - a 2017 discovery.

How long does it take for a good site to grow a 150-foot tall, 4-foot diameter great white? How many 1000-foot ^3 trunk white pines have we confirmed to date? What are the fastest growth rates we have documented for pines over 200 years old? The list of questions goes on. Let's answer these and other questions in 2018.

Who is on board to help focus attention on Pinus strobus and tell its story in 2018?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:28 pm

Bob,

The year of the pine seems fitting. This expedition to the dacks is actually supplanting a return to Zoar Valley Elijah and I had intended, and one of our main goals for Zoar this year (and we will get to it) was to really scope out any and all potential superlative white pines there as well. The single 135' tree from last year cannot be the sole good pine in Zoar!

The Adirondack site is in a league of its own, but there is much that can be explored this year.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:40 pm

Bob- I'm with you we should do something of the sort you mentioned. The story of the White Pine- The tree that helped build the Northland. What a majestic tree I love the Crown of the White Pine. Count me in. Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by dbhguru » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:08 pm

Larry,

How about two kings? The great whites and the loblolly? Unfortunately, not much is printed about the loblolly, at least not that I’ve seen. However, it certainly matches the white pine in volume, and maybe surpasses it. Surprisingly more mature and old growth white pine has survived as compared to loblolly.

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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Larry Tucei
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:23 pm

Bob- I didn't want to overstep my bounds that is a great idea. I'll put some stuff together on the story of the Loblolly. Image is one of the big Loblollies at Congaree National Park with me and Bob Van Pelt back in 09. At the time it was the second largest overall in the US. Height 141.5' CBH 15' 8" Crown 63'x45'
Larry
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Me and Bob Van Pelt Worlds Second Largest Loblolly Pine.jpg

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dbhguru
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by dbhguru » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:17 am

Larry,

I think that an at least implied competition between the two species would draw readers. Unfortunately, there is so few historical accounts of loblollies relative to the whites. Even so, it woukd make a good story.

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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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by AndrewJoslin » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:44 am

Thanks for including me in the list of white pine appreciators, I've been a slouch as of late, life changes, the need to work more than I should, all that. However my eye is always on them. I'm mentoring a group of excellent naturalists in my area in the fine arts of woods tree climbing, I always point to the great whites as the ultimate species among the many fine trees to be found in eastern Massachusetts. Among my group are lichen and fungi, insect and forest experts and one is surpassing me in fervor for tree measuring. So count me in, I've got some folks who are ready to join the ride.

On a related subject: Is there a word that you know of in the Algonquin family of languages for the white pine? Or in any eastern/central U.S. tribal language? The indigenous people's history is so rich in my area (and in all of the east of course), I would like to pay due respect and know the name of the white pine, perhaps used many hundreds if not thousands of years before the Europeans showed up. I'm finding that the internet is very thin on substantive information on North American indigenous cultures, once I get past the initial layer there's no depth and the same info is copied and pasted from one source to another. Have to go back to the old-fashioned and much more effective way of learning, source information from the person who knows it ;-)
-Andrew

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by AndrewJoslin » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:56 am

dbhguru wrote:Larry,

I think that an at least implied competition between the two species would draw readers. Unfortunately, there is so few historical accounts of loblollies relative to the whites. Even so, it woukd make a good story.

Bob
It's interesting, white pine is unique in the east being I believe the only native "soft-needle" pinus genus. The sugar pine is its magnificent big brother in the west but besides that Pinus strobus stands alone. I think of loblolly as pitch pine's massive big brother, and for even more contrast Coast Redwood is Atlantic White Cedar's great great grandmother, I've mentioned in the past I find them so similar in anatomy, bark texture, crown form, cone, etc., just a bit of a scaling difference ;-) So maybe apples and oranges with loblolly and white pine but worth investigating the loblolly history to find more about its past greatness.
-AJ

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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by tsharp » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:26 pm

Larry, NTS:
I had a chance to measure the Loblolly pictured in your post. 189" CBH x 145.3' on 3/13/17. I believe Will has tape dropped that tree.

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Don
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Re: Rediscovery of the eastern white pine 's roots

Post by Don » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:41 pm

As one who favors five needle pines,in particular, the white pine species of the West, such as Pinus albicaulis (whitebark pine), P. aristata Engelm.(Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine), P. balfouriana Grev. &Balf. (foxtail pine), P. flexilis James (limber pine), P. longaeva D.K. Bailey (Great Basin bristlecone pine), and, P. strobiformis Engelm. (southwestern white pine), I wondered how susceptible Eastern White Pine was to White Pine Blister rust (Cronartium ribicola).
After wandering about the internet, I ran across the following snippet:

"If you have white pine on your property you may have been looking at it and thinking that it just
doesn’t look quite right, and you maybe right. For the past several years a number of diseases
have been affecting white pine both locally and throughout the northeast. One of the culprits,
white pine blister rust (WPBR), is making its return after being all but absent in New England for
quite awhile. White pine blister rust was introduced into North America around 1900. It affects
five needle pines and has nearly wiped out western white pine throughout much of its natural
range(1). The only five needle pine found in the northeast is eastern white pine. Over the years
WPBR has killed numerous pines in New England. The WPBR requires two unrelated hosts to
complete its life cycle. The second host for this disease in New England is Ribes species such as
gooseberry and currants. During the 1920s the sale and planting of black currants and other host
plants were banned as part of an effort to limit the damage to white pine. For the next few
decades an intensive eradication program aimed at these alternate hosts was undertaken that
greatly reduced the Ribes population and the incidence of WPBR in New England. The fungus
enters through the needles and travels through the branches to the main stem where it mayl
eventually girdle the tree and kill it. Seedlings are at greatest risk as the environmental
conditions close to the ground; higher humidity, shade, and moisture are more favorable for the
fungus to develop. Also, since the distance from the needles to the main stem is less when trees
are young it has a shorter distance to travel. Symptoms of the disease include top dieback,
browning needles and numerous rupturing blisters with oozing and hardened resin(1). In 2008
researchers determined that a new strain of the disease had developed in northeast North
America. This new strain is able to use variants of Ribes that were cultivated to be immune to
the disease and allowed to be planted for berry production."

[Courtesy of http://www.rifco.org/WhitePineDisease.pdf]

It could be that in this day and age of 'evolving atmospheric conditions', that the Eastern White Pine may be more susceptible than it has been in the past. Focusing a year's NTS attention on the EWP should perhaps deal with this species potential forest pathology?

Including an image of a five needle pine resplendent in it's old-growth ecosystem habit, a Pinus balfouriana (Foxtail Pine) located above Horseshoe Meadow, in the Southern Sierra Nevada Range (at about 10,000'), about 35 miles across the Owen River Valley (about 4,000') from the Bristlecone National Forest in the White Mountain Range (about 11,000') of Eastern California:
Foxtail Pine exhibiting Bristlecone Pine-like foliar economy/efficiency
Foxtail Pine exhibiting Bristlecone Pine-like foliar economy/efficiency
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
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