Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

User avatar
eliahd24
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:17 pm

Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by eliahd24 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:51 pm

I just got back from a quick trip to South Georgia where I visited the giant "Spooner Oak" in Iron City, GA. Mark McClellan, the Georgia Forestry Commission state big tree coordinator invited me to help take careful measurements. My being on the American Forests cadre was hugely important for this visit and measurement verification. This tree was thought to rival (and possibly surpass) the "Village Sentinel"- a live oak that has been GA state champion for probably 40 years.... so getting measurements correct was key! The Village Sentinel is pretty clearly 3 trunks, but still remains on the list, so my hope was this tree would match or beat the multi-trunk and the data did not disappoint.

Measurements as follows:
CBH: 32'1" (385")
Height: 89' (via laser/clinometer and Sine method)
Crown Spread: 147' via spoke method, but 159' via averaging widest and perpendicular plane (big difference!)... widest tip-to-tip was 171' and this was with lowest limbs being pruned so Mr. Spooner could park his tractor underneath the tree for many years!

Total Big Tree Points = 511

Village Sentinel is 536 points. 511 is within 5%, so it's counted as a co-champion for Georgia. This is significant especially since I believe this to be a single trunk tree and the Waycross Village Sentinel is a multi-trunk ALL DAY LONG. Mark McClellan fully recognizes the issue of single vs. multi, but I think he's a bit intimidated at the possibility of "throwing out" a bunch of champions that people have become quite fond of... the Village Sentinel would be a prime example. It's in the center of town and is a big part of the character of the town. That being said, Mark is very open to all of the knowledge, suggestions, etc. that the Cadre has to offer, so maybe we can help him clean up the Georgia state list in the same manner which we're handling the national list. It's quite refreshing to have Mark really call on me (and the Cadre) so often!

The Spooners and their magnificent oak:
Spooners and their live oak
Spooners and their live oak
I took trunk shots from 10 spots around the trunk starting with looking due south, then working my way around the trunk counter-clockwise as follows:
Full shot- Spooner Oak
Full shot- Spooner Oak
trunk shot 1
trunk shot 1
trunk shot 2
trunk shot 2
trunk shot 3
trunk shot 3
trunk shot 4
trunk shot 4
trunk shot 5
trunk shot 5
trunk shot 6
trunk shot 6
trunk shot 7
trunk shot 7
Once again my technological ignorance is showing as i CONTINUE to be unable to rotate photo's on the BBS. Sorry for the sideways pics. Larry told me how to do it in a past post... I just need to look that up again! I'll update when I can.
Attachments
trunk shot 8
trunk shot 8

User avatar
bbeduhn
Posts: 1174
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:23 pm

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:35 pm

Eli,
That sucker is huge in all respects. I thought it'd be taller than just about any live oak. Cbh, spread and height are all superlative in one tree.
Last edited by bbeduhn on Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

tclikesbigtrees
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:08 pm

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by tclikesbigtrees » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:59 pm

Nice tree. I was at the Georgia state champion Live Oak in May as per my post on May 20, 2015. I think a co-champion is a tree within 5 points, not 5%.

Tom

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1569
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by Don » Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:43 am

Eli-
Indeed, well done, glad Larry could give you and assist, and at the same time give Mark some support.
More to say, tomorrow!
Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
Will Blozan
Posts: 1153
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:13 pm

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by Will Blozan » Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:19 am

Eli,

SWEET! So glad you were able to visit this one. And a near-record height as well!

I feel this may be the largest of it's species by wood volume. I have proposed a climb/modeling as an American Forests funded project. This could spur the clean-up of the live oak listings.

Has the triple-trunked oak been SINE measured? The Spooner Oak has been measured to 120' tall by GA Forestry so this tree could outpoint the multi-stemmed tree if similarly overestimated...

Great work Eli!

Will

User avatar
John Harvey
Posts: 748
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:25 pm

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by John Harvey » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:53 am

I'm still trying to figure out how someone can overestimate this trees height to 120'.
John D Harvey (JohnnyDJersey)

East Coast and West Coast Big Tree Hunter

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully." - Matt Fox

User avatar
Larry Tucei
Posts: 2017
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:01 am

Eli, Mark- I second what Will said "Great Work." Glad to see the tree get measured properly. 32' Awesome!! Wow what a beast!!! 89' is the tallest known Oak in an open grown environment and Will holds the height record for Forest grown at 93' I believe. The tallest I have measured is at Oak Alley 84'. The Spooner Oak is the largest single Trunk Live Oak that I know of except the Middleton Oak. Perhaps there could be more in Louisiana or Florida of that stature but not many. Congrats to the Spooner's you and Mark and again well done. I will add this great tree to the Live Oak Listing as well. Eli I copied the photos then rotated them for reposting. Larry
Attachments
IMG_1688.JPG
IMG_1687.JPG
IMG_1685.JPG
IMG_1680.JPG
IMG_1678.JPG

User avatar
eliahd24
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:17 pm

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by eliahd24 » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:05 pm

Will- if you could climb this tree it would be fantastic. The locals came out in full force just for our tree measuring- lots of support- and would surely support a climb! A few folks mentioned the enormous volume and questions about what a "champion tree" is or isn't came up. I was quick to point out that champions aren't necessarily the tallest, fattest, widest, oldest or biggest in volume--- it's just a point system and the highest numbers wins. But this tree is definitely special in more ways than one.

Everyone from local arborists, GFC rep's, family members, kids, a local "tree guy" who owns a sawmill... all kinds of people were there! It was a bit overwhelming... they were filming and doing interviews. Kids driving around the corn field in a jeep. It was kind of awesome to see a community so excited about this tree! I know we could get some great PR if the tree were climbed. Dang it was buggy in that corn field though! A winter climb would be in order for sure and Mark and I have the local contacts whenever you need them.

Will- regarding the Village Sentinel--- I'm not sure how height was measured, but it's currently listed as 77' tall. I believe it was just remeasured this spring from what Mark McClellan was saying...he did not measure the tree, but another GFC person did apparently.
Last edited by eliahd24 on Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
eliahd24
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:17 pm

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by eliahd24 » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:07 pm

Larry- both Mark and I were commenting how we were bummed you couldn't make it. We can make a Cadre trip whenever Will does the volume mapping! You gotta see this beast in person.... it's quite a sight.

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4509
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Spooner Live Oak- Iron City, GA

Post by dbhguru » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:31 pm

John,

Over-estimates of 30 feet and more are not uncommon. We've encountered them to 67 feet! I'm serious, and at least a dozen in the 40 to 50-foot class. This is why we revised the Tree-Measuring Guidelines for American Forests. Starting at the top, i.e. national level, we anticipate that measuring discipline will filter down through the state programs. But, basically, the problem at the national level has been solved.

Now to your question. How does an 89-foot tall live oak get mis-measured to 120 feet? As we frequently discuss in postings: (1) the top may not be over the base, and (2) the end of upturned limb is mistaken for the top. The problem in both cases is an incorrect baseline, but the measurer doesn't realize that the baseline is incorrect because instructions for instruments like clinometers show the baseline as a level line from eye to trunk. If you tackle the Tree-Measuring Guidelines, you'll see diagrams that illuminate the problem.

A number of years back, I recall a tit for tat between Will and a professor from VA Tech who measured lots of trees in Congaree , or I should say mis-measured them. Will got nowhere with the good professor, who I doubt was accustomed to being challenged on tree measuring. The problem has not gone away, but we've made steady progress. Daniel Allen, National Cadre apprentice extraordinaire just re-measured the national champion blue spruce in Ashely NF, Utah. Its points dropped from 328 to 323. Will, Matt, larry, etc. have two Colorado Blues that are now co-champions with the Utah tree. The Colorado trees score 324 and 323 points respectively.

As word and results filter down, we'll see less and less use of the older, traditional methods of measurement in state competitions, and at the national level, the old methods are history when we can get to the candidates. But with 50 states and over 800 species, the Cadre can't do it all. So, we ramping up to upgrade the capabilities within the State programs. We'll be putting a lot of effort into distance learning. Eventually, that will be phased out, but likely not for several years.

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

Post Reply

Return to “Georgia”