Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Watershed

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Josh Kelly
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Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Watershed

Post by Josh Kelly » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:02 pm

There is a new tallest-known native hardwood in the United States, and it is on Deep Creek.

This weekend I visited the cove Ian Breckheimer reported on that has extremely tall tulip trees - one measuring 201 ft. by tape drag/tangent method. Like Ian, I was on a backpacking trip with my dad and his god-son and took some time off from fishing, bow drilling and eating good food to search for the trees Ian found. I took my Nikon 440 and Suunto clinometer up the Fork Ridge Trail and decended into the cove that had three LiDAR points over 180'.

The east facing cove that holds the trees reminds me a bit of a steep version of the cove where the Sag Branch Poplar resides. There is abundant seepage in the convex portion of the cove that comes to the surface just a few feet from a cluster of tall poplars. Three of these appeared to be over 170' in height and all three could be over 180'; the summer growth, my limited time and the interlacing and superimposed crowns of the trees made it difficult to determine which tree I was actually measuring. I think, like Ian, that the 18' cbh tree is likely the tallest and chose it's base as the target. My best efforts yielded a height of 187.5'! I wasn't sure if that kind of height was possible for a hardwood north of the 30th parallel, but now I know. If, by some chance, I measured the wrong top, the tree could be shorter by 1 foot if the tree measured was actually the up-slope member of the trio or over 190' if it is the down-slope member of the trio. All I can say is that I am confident that among this trio is the tallest known hardwood in the United States, unless a taller black cottonwood has been found that I do not know about. I'd say this spot moves up to top of the list for more measurements after leaf-drop. It and another cove on the Left Fork with 180'+ LiDAR points are tempting destinations for tree hunters searching for trophy trees.

Josh

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edfrank
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Re: LiDAR and Liriodendrons - Deep Creek Watershed

Post by edfrank » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:48 pm

Josh,

What a fantastic find! I look forward to your measurements after leaf fall of all ofthese trees and the ones pinging over 180 in the adjacent cove. Black cottonwood is a western tree, do you know how tall the tallest black cotonwood might be?

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Will Blozan
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Re: Tallest Known Hardwood in the US - Deep Creek Watershed

Post by Will Blozan » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:17 pm

Josh,

I'm so glad you were able to verify the tree with laser. I'd be glad to climb the tree this fall to complete a tape drop. Maybe GRSM would get enough interest to help fund a crown mapping of the tree. It is certainly worthy and must be fairly large. I am curious what the other tree heights are around it and in the cove you mentioned. Any other tall hardwoods in the vicinity?

BTW, Eucalyptus gets WAY taller than 187' in the US. Steve Sillett measured some recently in CA over 230 feet tall!

Rock on!

Will

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edfrank
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Re: Tallest Known Hardwood in the US - Deep Creek Watershed

Post by edfrank » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:30 pm

Perhaps it should say the tallest NATIVE hardwood in the US. (By the way I split off ths topic and renamed it so the title is my fault.)
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Will Blozan
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Re: Tallest Known Hardwood in the US - Deep Creek Watershed

Post by Will Blozan » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:49 pm

Ed,

Last I heard the black cottonwood was within .2 feet of the Bradley Fork Tuliptree. However, both trees have had nearly two full growing seasons...

BTW, I confirmed the Riddle Loblolly Pine to be 169.5 feet tall this Sunday. I spent 24 hours in the tree over three days for the Congaree filming project. Sunday was spent in the tippy-top as a helicopter passed over and around the tree for aerial research shots. The tree was so emergent the 'copter came in BELOW me over the adjacent swamp and then ascended up and directly over me in the top with my head above the crown. I had radio contact with the pilot and his last words to me for that shot was "Will, I'm coming directly over you so find something sturdy to hold on to". THAT was not a problem, as every available gripping surface on my body was holding on as the prop-wash shook the tree. Crazy stuff for sure!

Hey, this just in from Steve Sillett about Josh's confirmation:

"EPIC! Great news, Will. That certainly blows away the cottonwoods out west by a safe margin (2 m)!"

ENTS RULES!!!

Will

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edfrank
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Re: Tallest Known Hardwood in the US - Deep Creek Watershed

Post by edfrank » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:52 pm

Will,

It would still be a great idea to get a core from the 509 year old Tuliptree on Forge Creek from a rope as well. It was hollow at the base and had a fair sized section missing. Maybe an older age could be obtained from thirty feet up?

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~adk/oldli ... /LITU.html
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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James Parton
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Re: Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Waters

Post by James Parton » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:26 pm

Josh & Ian

Damn, that's tall. It scared the crap outta the " Boog ". That Deep Creek Tulip is only a little less tall than the height of the great Boogerman Pine in Cataloochee Valley. The tallest known tree in the east at this time. I think it was at 188.8 feet a couple of years ago when it was last measured.

James
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dbhguru
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Re: Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Waters

Post by dbhguru » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:48 pm

Josh,

Congratulations! I have long believed that a few tulips would eventually be found that exceed 180 feet in height, but thought we'd have to settle for the very low 180s. Your find really ups the anti. Again, congratulations.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
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Tyler
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Re: Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Waters

Post by Tyler » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:06 am

Josh,

Congrats on your find! If over 190' it would be the east's tallest tree and 2nd tallest ever measured.

Tyler

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James Parton
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Re: Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Waters

Post by James Parton » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:13 am

Josh,

Now for a return visit with some photos!

James
James E Parton
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