County Rucker Index

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JHarkness
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by JHarkness » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:57 am

Since Erik mentioned Dutchess County, I shall do my part and contribute what I believe is the most accurate current RHI10 for the county based on my own findings and Elijah's reports from along the Hudson River. It should be kept in mind that this is only representing two sites, the Vanderbilt Estate in the western part of the county and Perry Hill in the eastern.
I haven't had much luck locating any exceptional specimens elsewhere in the county, most sites with big trees fall just a little short of the trees on this RHI10, but I am optimistic that there are more sites with tall trees in the county, the problem is that the majority of the land here is privately owned. I do know of one exceptional hemlock (125'+) and white pine (140'+) site, but public access is not allowed for much of it. I should also note that the white ash on this list is the second tallest on my land, as I have been unable to successfully measure the highest twig of the tallest tree, the best I've gotten is 130.1' to a twig which is visually lower than one several feet deeper into the crown, I suspect the tree is closer to 140' in reality, I do believe white ash can break 140' in Dutchess.

Tuliptree 157.6
White Pine 147.0
Sycamore 142.8
White Ash 130.2
Red Oak 128.1
Black Locust 127.3
Sugar Maple 125.0
Red Hickory 124.3
Pignut Hickory 123.2
Bitternut Hickory 122.6
Total 132.81
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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bbeduhn
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:15 am

Bob,
I'm afraid we just don't have many published numbers for Macon County. Although it contains a fair amount of old growth white pine, white oak and hemlock forest, numbers are scant. A very large tulip resides there as well, which I have visited, but it was just before I started measuring trees.

Macon County, NC

White pine 162.1'
Hemlock 161.0'

Graham County, NC R10 = 148.30'

Tuliptree 179.7'
White pine 176.3'
Hemlock 154.8'
Cucumbertree 147.3'
Pignut hickory (red?) 142.4'
White ash 139.7'
Bitternut hickory 139.3'
Sycamore 136.8'
Cherry 134.2'
Red oak 132.5'

Graham is under measured. Many sites involve long drives and long hikes so it will likely remain under measured. Josh Kelly has some numbers in this list, including the tulip, which was the second highest measured at the time.

Polk County, NC R10 = 134.78'

Tuliptree 152.4'
Hemlock 141.5'
White pine 139.1'
Pignut hickory 136.9'
Black locust 134.4'
White oak 134.0'
Red oak 132.2'
Black oak 126.8'
Biltmore ash 126.6'
Cucumbertree 123.9'

This is from just a few sites. Green River has just had its surface scratched. White pine could hit the 160's or more.

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dbhguru
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by dbhguru » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:49 am

Brian, Jared, Joshua,

Well, heck, here goes for Franklin-Bekshire Co area of the Berkshires. It's the historic Rucker. This is off the top of my head. Most are rounded.

Species Hgt Status Property

WP 176.2. Live. MTSF
WA. 152.5. Dead MTSF
E. larch. 150.2. Live Buckland SF
N. spruce. 147. Live Buckland SF
E. hemlock. 137.0. Live Ice Glen, Stockbridge
S. maple. 136.2. Dead MTSF
S.bark H 135.0. Live. Ice Glen
R. spruce. 133.0. Dead Mt. Greylock SR
Bitternut H. 132.0. Dead MTSF
A. beech. 130.0. Live but shorter. MTSF
N red oak. 127.5. Live MTSF

RHI = 142.9

There is likely a 130-foot NRO somewhere, but I wouldn't bet on beating any of the other heights short of a massive search. However, candidates are bitternut H. and cottonwoods in the Housattonic River Valley. The highest I can imagine the RHI being for the Berkshires is around 143.2 to 143.4.

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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ElijahW
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by ElijahW » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:01 pm

Brian,

Cool idea for a thread. I’ll join in with a few NY submissions, as well.

Monroe County: 140.5

Eastern White Pine 160.3
Tuliptree 156.8
Bitternut Hickory 140.1
Shagbark Hickory 140.0
Red Hickory 138.2
White Ash 137.4
Pignut Hickory 134.5
Eastern Cottonwood 133.4
Red Maple 132.6
Northern Red Oak 132.2

Tompkins County: 138.7

Eastern White Pine 150.7
Tuliptree 147.5
Eastern Hemlock 142.9
American Sycamore 140.3
White Ash 139.1
American Sycamore 135.5
Red Hickory 134.3
Eastern Cottonwood 132.4
Freeman Maple 132.3
Bitternut Hickory 132.2

Wyoming County (all Letchworth State Park): 138.4

Pignut Hickory 151.4
Eastern White Pine 149.1
Tuliptree 147.7
American Sycamore 142.7
Eastern Hemlock 134.3
Bitternut Hickory 134.0
Eastern Cottonwood 132.3
Cucumber Magnolia 131.4
Shagbark Hickory 131.1
Northern Red Oak 130.3

Onondaga County: 134.5

Tuliptree 150.5
Bitternut Hickory 141.8
White Ash 136.7
Eastern Hemlock 133.8
Sugar Maple 133.6
American Basswood 132.4
Northern Red Oak 130.8
Eastern White Pine 130.0
Black Cherry 128.0
Red Maple 127.8

Erik,

As far as I know, the Black Walnut in Zoar was never measured over 130’ while it was standing. Tom Diggins also found a Beech over 130,’ but of course we haven’t located that tree, and my guess is that it is either not that tall anymore or just plain dead.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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bbeduhn
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:35 am

Elijah,
That pignut is impressive! On the Tompkins Co. list, sycamore appears twice.
Brian

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ElijahW
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by ElijahW » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:13 pm

Brian,

Thanks. I’ll have to slide in a Basswood at 130.1’ to take the place of the second Sycamore. That brings the average to 138.2 instead. Nice catch.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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dbhguru
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by dbhguru » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:21 am

Brian, Erik, Elijah, Jared, et. al.,

If we want to entertain regional competition, can we adopt a system of handicaps? I’m thinking that 20 feet would do western Mass nicely. Kind of an interesting concept.

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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JHarkness
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by JHarkness » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:47 am

I decided to also put together an RHI10 for Columbia County, which neighbors Dutchess to the north. This county RHI is probably an even poorer representation of what trees currently grow in the county, let alone what once did. Columbia is under even more widespread and intensive agriculture than Dutchess, I would guess that more than 50% of the land in the county is open and much of the forests are very young, a few big tree sites exist, most notably Bash Bish Falls and the Clermont State Historic Site. More searching is garunteed to turn up more trees for this list. In fact, I know of a cottonwood, sycamore and silver maple site where all three of these species exceed 100' and cottonwood and sycamore likely exceed 120', but alas, it is, once again, a privately owned site. So please regard this as a very incomplete RHI10 for Columbia County.


Tuliptree 131.5
White Pine 125
Hemlock 116
Red Hickory 113.7
Bitternut Hickory 110.8
Black Walnut 108.9
Pin Oak 108.3
Mockernut Hickory 107.3
White Oak 102.8
Chestnut Oak 98.4
RHI 112.27
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:48 pm

dbhguru wrote:Brian, Erik, Elijah, Jared, et. al.,

If we want to entertain regional competition, can we adopt a system of handicaps? I’m thinking that 20 feet would do western Mass nicely. Kind of an interesting concept.

Bob
Hi Bob, I notice that your namesake town of Leverett, MA is at roughly the same latitude as Zoar Valley. Western Mass probably has higher elevations, but your suggestion prompted me to wonder, since we usually seem to look at max height trends by latitude. Did you mean 20 feet as in a 2-point boost to an RHI10, or 20 feet applied to the average for a 20-point boost? 20 points does seem to be about the general gap between the highest-index southeastern sites and the highest-index northeastern sites.

I think I've done enough measuring in one more NY county to add it- Westchester County, with Mianus River Gorge, Halle Ravine, and Rockefeller State Park. I suspect Rockefeller on its own can top this county rucker without too much trouble with better coverage, and that the county overall has a lot more to offer.

Westchester County

1. Tuliptree 147.5'
2. Sycamore 135'
3. White Ash 134.5'
4. Bitternut Hickory 134'
5. Eastern Hemlock 128'
6. Shagbark Hickory 125.5'
7. White Pine 123'
8. Red Hickory 119.5'
9. Black Locust 119.5'
10. Scarlet Oak 119'

RHI10: 128.55

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DougBidlack
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Re: County Rucker Index

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:30 pm

Here is some county info for Michigan.

Oakland County
132' Pignut Hickory Kensington Metropark
130.5' Red Maple Highland State Recreation Area
129.4' Cottonwood Kensington Metropark
127.5' Tuliptree Highland State Recreation Area
127.5' Northern Red Oak Kensington Metropark
126' Black Cherry Highland State Recreation Area
126' White Ash Highland State Recreation Area
121.5' Red Hickory Highland State Recreation Area
120' Bitternut Hickory Highland State Recreation Area
120' Basswood Kensington Metropark
RHI 10 = 126.04'
White Ash is dead

Wayne County
136.5' Tuliptree Lower Huron Metropark
135' Cottonwood Willow Metropark
133.5' Sycamore Willow Metropark
127.5' Northern Red Oak Lower Huron Metropark
126' Black Walnut Lower Huron Metropark
121.5' Bur Oak Lower Huron Metropark
121.5' Freeman Maple Lower Huron Metropark
114' Slippery Elm Lower Huron Metropark
114' Black Maple Lower Huron Metropark
112.5' White Oak Lower Huron Metropark
RHI 10 = 124.20'
Slippery Elm is dead

Berrien County
135' Tuliptree
127.5' Northern Red Oak
126' White Ash
124.5' Beech
124.5' Sugar Maple
123' Black Walnut
120' 2" Hackberry
120' Bitternut Hickory
118.5' American Elm
117' Basswood
RHI = 123.62'
White Ash is dead. All of these trees were from Warren Woods State Park.

I believe that all of these counties will eventually surpass 130' for their RHI 10's and probably more than half of the counties in the southern three tiers of counties will as well. I don't see any county in Michigan going over 140' any time soon but if it happens it will probably be in the southwestern part of the lower peninsula. I though it would be nice to show a map of the state to put these counties in proper context. I thought a color code for eastern North America would be nice as well.
160.0' - 160.9' Red
150.0' - 150.9' Orange
140.0' - 140.9' Yellow
130.0' - 130.9' Green
120.0' - 120.9' Blue
110.0' - 110.9' Indigo (Dark Blue)
100.0' - 100.9' Violet

I colored four counties in gray because they have good old growth forests that need more complete coverage for computing RHI 10's.
Cass County - Russ Forest
Crawford County - Hartwick Pines State Park
Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties - Porcupine Mountains State Park

Here is the map.
Michigan Tree Height.001.jpeg
Doug
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