County Rucker Index

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County Rucker Index

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:05 pm

I compiled a Rucker for a couple of the counties I spend time in. Then I thought about what county would have the highest Rucker, so I scoured over reports and came up with a few more, very impressive counties.

updated 8/25/20

Buncombe Co, NC RHI 10 = 149.37' 45.52m

1. White pine P. strobus 166.4' 50.71m Big Ivy
2. Red hickory C. ovalis 163.4' 49.80m Swannannoa
3. Tuliptree L. tulipifera 163.0' 49.68m Bull Creek
4. Sycamore P. occidentalis 150.0' 45.72m Biltmore Village
5. Bilrmore ash F. biltmoreana 149.6' 45.59m Big Ivy
6. E Hemlock Ts. canadensis 147.4' 44.92m Big Ivy
7. Pignut hickory C. glabra 141.1' 43.00m Big Ivy
8. White oak Q. alba 138.3' 42.15m MTS Trail
9. Red oak Q. rubra 137.5' 41.91m
10. Bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 137.0' 41.75m

McDowell County, NC RHI 10 = 147.56' 44.97m

1. Tuliptree L. tulipifera 183.0' 55.77m Point Lookout Trail
2. White pine P. strobus 170.3' 51.90m Armstrong Creek
3. Bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 142.7' 43.49m Sugar Cove
4. Chestnut oak Q. montana 142.5' 43.43m Bee Rock Creek
5. White oak Q. alba 140.8' 42.91m Woods Mtn
6. Red hickory C. ovalis 140.4' 42.79m Kitsuma
7. N Red oak Q. rubra 139.8' 42.61m'
8. Sycamore P. occidentalis 139.7' 42.58m Point Lookout Trail
9. Black Walnut J. nigra 138.9' 42.33m Lead Mine Gap
10. Pignut hickory C. glabra 137.5' 41.91m Hickory Branch

Transylvania Co, NC RHI 10 = 151.91' 46.30m

1. Tuliptree L. tulipifera 177.6' 54.13m Foothills Trail/ Musterground Rd
2. White pine P. strobus 167.5' 51.05m East Horse Cove, Davidson River
3. N red oak Q. rubra 157.0' 47.85m East Horse Cove, Davidson River
4. Pignut hickory C. glabra 152.1' 46.36m Horse Cove, Davidson River
5. Mockernut hickory C. alba 150.3' 45.81m Horse Cove, Davidson River.
6. Red hickory C. ovalis 146.8' 44.74m East Horse Cove, Davidson River
7. Black locust R. pseudoacacia 142.7' 43.49m Looking Glass Rock, Davidson River
8. White basswood T. heterophylla 142.3' 43.47m Davidson River
9. Cucumbertree M. acuminata 142.0' 43.28m Horse Cove, Davidson River
10. Red maple A. rubrum 140.8' 42.91m Looking Glass Rock, Davidson River

Haywood Co, NC RHI 10 = 168.81' 54.45m
RHI 20 = 157.34' 47.95m

1. White pine P. strobus 207.0' 63.09m Cataloochee, GSMNP R
2. Tuliptree L. rulipifera 186.1' 56.72m Big Creek, GSMNP
3. E Hemlock Ts. canadensis 173.0' 52.73m Cataloochee, GSMNP R
4. White ash F. americana 167.1' 50.93m Big Creek, GSMNP R
5. Sycamore P. occidentalis 165.5' 50.44m Big Creek, GSMNP R
6. Red hickory C. ovalis 163.5' 49.83m Cataloochee, GSMNP
7. Black locust R. pseudoacacia 162.0' 49.37m Big Creek, GSMNP
8. Bitternut hickory C. cordiformis 156.3' 47.64m Big Creek, GSMNP
9. N Red oak Q. rubra 155.7' 47.45m Big Creek, GSMNP
10. Cucumbertree M. acuminata 151.9' 46.30m Big Creek, GSMNP R

11. Yellow buckeye B. allegheniensis 151.0' 46.02m Cataloochee, GSMNP
12. White basswood T. heterophylla 150.3' 45.81m Big Creek, GSMNP
13. Shagbark hickory C. ovalis 148.5' 45.26m Cataloochee, GSMNP
14. Sweetgum L. styraciflua 147.9' 45.08m Big Creek, GSMNP
15. White oak Q. alba 147.6' 44.98m Cataloochee, GSMNP R2
16. Sugar maple A. saccharum 144.2' 43.95m Big Creek, GSMNP
17. Chestnut oak Q. montana 143.1' 43.61m Big Creek, GSMNP
18. Red maple A. rubrum 142.4' 43.40m Big Creek, GSMNP R2
19. Red spruce P. rubens 142.1' 43.31m Cataloochee, GSMNP
20. Biltmore ash F. biltmoreana 141.7' 43.19m Big Creek, GSMNP

Haywood County contains Big Creek and Cataloochee, including several superlative heights and a number of top 5 heights as well. I wonder if any other county in the East can beat the R20 of Haywood with its R10. Oconee Co., in SC comes close.

Oconee Co, SC R10 = 162.20 R20 = 153.46'

1. Tuliptree 177.6'
2. White pine 174.2'
3. Hemlock 168.9'
4. Red hickory 168.0'
5. Bitternut hickory 166.3'
6. Red oak 155.4'
7. Mockernut hickory 153.7'
8. Chestnut oak 153.6'
9. Black locust 153.4'
10. Sweetgum 151.4'

11. Pignut hickory 151.3'
12. Biltmore ash 148.7'
13. White ash 148.6'
13. White oak 148.6'
15. Shortleaf pine 148.5'
16. Black oak 145.2'
17. Red elm 142.5'
18. Cucumbertree 139.9'
19. White basswood 137.9'
20. Beech 136.1'

Oconee County contains Tamassee Knob, Station Cove, and the East Fork of the Chattooga. Three hickory records occur here, red, bitternut, and mockernut. Three oak records reside in Tamassee, white, black, and chestnut. Red oak and shortleaf come very close.

These numbers came from several measurers, Will Blozan, Jess Riddle, Michael Davies, and myself.
Last edited by bbeduhn on Tue Aug 25, 2020 12:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by MarkGraham » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:45 pm

All impressive, especially the 207 foot white pine. That is an eastern US record?

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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by dbhguru » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:47 pm


Spectacular list! Great job putting it together. I presume the 191.9-foot tall tulip is in Swain Co.


The 207-foot Boogerman Pine was originally measured by Will Blozan and me. We used crown point cross-triangulation. Will spotted where we thought a plumb line from the top would touch the ground. Measurements were taken accordingly. And yes, as far as we know, the Boogerman was the tallest eastern tree, certainly that we have ever measured in NTS.

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Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by a_blooming_botanist » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:10 pm


Day-um! I continue to be blown away by the heights that trees attain down in your neck of the woods! I’m curious to know if what you’ve put together are historical rather than current county indices. I was under the impression that 207’ was the maximum height of the Boogerman Pine before losing part of its crown, and that it is now creeping back up on 190’.

Nice work putting together the lists; you’ve inspired me to calculate my first county Rucker indices. Since I live on the eastern border of Worcester County, Massachusetts, I’ve done a fair amount of tree mensuration in Middlesex County, too.

First, here’s a map of the counties of Massachusetts to show you where Worcester and Middlesex counties are, and also to show you how odd the situation is around Boston. What is up with Norfolk County?? Suffolk County is also a little strange.
Here are the two Rucker 10 height indices that I’ve put together. Those entries in bold are state height champions.
  • Worcester County, MA
    1. White pine (Pinus strobus) 152.8’
    2. Norway spruce (Picea abies) 130.3’
    3. Cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata) 121.8’
    4. Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) 118.8’
    5. Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) 117.4’
    6. White ash (Fraxinus americana) 115’
    7. Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) 113.6’
    8. Bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata) 111.6’
    9. Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) 111.5’
    10. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) 110.8’
RH10 = 120.4’
  • Middlesex County, MA
    1. White pine (Pinus strobus) 151’
    2. Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) 128.3’
    3. Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) 123.8’
    4. Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) 120.1’
    5. Norway spruce (Picea abies) 120’
    6. European larch (Larix decidua) 118.3’
    7. White ash (Fraxinus americana) 116.3’
    8. Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) 115.9’
    9. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) 114.3’
    10. Black oak (Quercus velutina) 113.8’
RH10 = 122.2’


Have you calculated county Rucker height indices for Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties?

Last edited by a_blooming_botanist on Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by dbhguru » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:06 am


No, unfortunately, I haven't. I may try to do that. Franklin, Hampshire, and Berkshire will be up there. Hampden maybe not as much. So many trees, so little time.

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: County Rucker Index

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:40 am


An impressive listing and great Idea. In answer to your question only Congaree NP (Richland Co.) SC would rival your measurements.


Also a cool listing.

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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:12 am

Thanks for entering the fray. I'll have more coming soon. I'm going with historical numbers. Otherwise, most of the hemlocks in the south would have to be removed, and many ashes soon as well.

Swain is up next.

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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:51 am

Oak and hickory numbers are very low for Swain County. There isn't nearly as much data available. I've measured just several sites myself. There are some high LiDar hits that likely represent white pines. White pine alone may increase the R10 by nearly 4'. This county is undermeasured so it will increase, perhaps substantially, over time.

Swain County, NC R10 = 157.84' R20 = 147.01'

1. Tuliptree 191.9'
2. Black locust 171.8'
3. Red oak 156.3'
4. Hemlock 156.2'
5. Sycamore 155.8'
6. Red spruce 155.0'
7. White ash 148.6'
7. Biltmore ash 148.6'
9. Cucumbertree 147.1'
9. White pine 147.1'

11. Basswood 147.0'
12. Beech 142.6'
13. Yellow buckeye 141.1'
14. Cherry 140.9'
15. Pignut hickory 137.4'
16. Chestnit oak 134.7'
17. White oak 130.9'
18. Sassafras 130.7'
19. Red maple 130.0'
20. Mockernut hickory 126.5'

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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by dbhguru » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:52 pm


Yes, white pine should raise the Rucker by a good bit. Will you tackle Macon Co.?

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

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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:52 pm

This really is a fun concept. In NY I spend the most time in my home county of Chautauqua County (the westernmost in the state) and then in Cattaraugus County (immediately to the east of Chautauqua County). Between Zoar Valley and Allegany State Park, I suspect Cattaraugus County is almost definitely NY's highest-index county, and probably would remain so even if all the tallest trees in every county were magically known to us rather than still out there waiting to be discovered. Chautauqua County turns up a respectable index for the northeast, but Cattaraugus County manages to hang with a couple of Brian's NC counties, and looks pretty good going out to 20 too. I'll also bold state height records as Jared did.

Chautauqua County
1. White Pine 148.1'
2. Tuliptree 145.5'
3. Sycamore 140.3'
4. White Ash 134'
5. Bitternut Hickory 133.2'
6. Black Cherry 132.3'
7. Eastern Hemlock 132.3'
8. Eastern Cottonwood 128.7'
9. Sugar Maple 127.7'
10. Japanese Larch 124.5'

RHI10: 134.66

Cattaraugus County
1. Tuliptree 162.8'
2. Sycamore 159.3'

3. White Pine 157.5'
4. Bitternut Hickory 157.5'
5. Red Oak 145.1'
6. Norway Spruce 145'

7. White Ash 142.9'
8. Eastern Cottonwood 142.2'
9. Eastern Hemlock 135.3'
10. Sugar Maple 132.3'

RHI10: 147.99

11. Black Cherry 131.2'
12. Basswood 130.8'
13. Red Maple 128.6'
14. Black Maple 126.2'
15. Black Walnut 125.4'
16. American Elm 125.2'
17. Cucumbertree 123.5'
18. Bigtooth Aspen 122.9'
19. American Beech 122'
20. Shagbark Hickory 120.3'

RHI20: 136.8'

If anyone can remember the tallest height recorded for the very tall Black Walnut that stood in Zoar Valley (measured most recently to ~132' laying on the ground), I'd be happy to include the historic figures. A little voice in my head keeps saying "137" but I don't know where I got that from.

I'm sure Elijah's finds in the Finger Lakes, Irondequoit Bay etc add up to some good county indexes in those areas, and I'd expect Dutchess and Westchester along the Hudson can put up high indexes too. I would think most temperate counties in NY state, given full coverage, would be in the 130-140 range. The NYC area could put up a respectable index taken as a whole, but is fragmented into multiple small counties.

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