So, as mentioned in my other post about the three big tuliptrees, I've been exploring more of the stream valley and found some really huge trees. Just to be clear which site I have been exploring, the park is Leakin Park/Gwynns Falls Trail. The Crimera estate area has what could possibly be old-growth forest; very mature trees, lots of snags and plenty of huge rotting wood on the floor and a general feel of beech/oak climax forest, especially on top of the hills.
So, on to my big trees. On Sunday, I went off on a small, hilly trail called the Franklintown Loop; a treacherous singletrack across the ridge line and through some small tributaries. I found many big tulips (my primary hunt for the day); so many were between 15 and 17' CBH. I wish I could give you heights but I'm not "there yet". Anyway, I came across a huge one right off the trail, very old with an ancient, enormous gash on the side. The tree is declining but it looks to be in a state of internal rot for decades; somebody built a "fort" inside this thing with concrete and wood... its just bizarre. Also, there are guy wires or something attached to the tree, possibly from some old Outward Bound treehouse thing... not sure. I want to meet people in the area who know more history of the park. Anyway, on to the pictures:
Most of the center of the tree is rotted to a height of about 20 feet. My theory though, is that this is a very old condition to the tree. The buttressing on the other sides of the tree is staggering, as if the tree adapted to its problem on one side to stabilize itself.
Here you can see the top of the tear, or gash. This is about 20 or so feet up. What could cause this? Also visible is the rusty guy wire-thing:
So, the circumference. I had a hard time coming up with a fair way to measure across the gaping hole. I just stretched it across the divide in the end. I got 22 feet at breast height starting from the high side (the buttressed side), exactly. Standing next to this beauty is awe-inspiring. It is very tall too, being in the middle of the dark forest. Somebody come and help me measure the height!
Next up is another giant, but out in the clearings of the park. The entire top was blown off some years ago, and it is fascinating to study how it adapted (not unlike the other big tree from my other post). I would not have noticed this one just looking for tall canopies... it is off in the corner of the estate and if the tail of a jumping deer didn't entice me to that corner I might have missed it.
It is still very tall, but a closer inspection shows that the main trunk is almost completely cut off in the middle. I can only imagine this tree in its full glory. The bole is HUGE, and standing next to it is humbling. I thought it was bigger than the other tree, but alas, I measured 20 feet CBH exactly. This tree is also rotting from the inside out; notice the hole down in the bottom.
Sorry, no bike this time for scale. That hole is probably 18" high. Here is a picture of the back side, showing the old carnage to the main trunk:
Since this post has a theme of old rotting trunks, have a look at this old beech on the main Gwynns Falls stream trail; this tree is very healthy up top:
Here is a link to the park: http://friendsofgwynnsfallsleakinpark.org/history.php I'll finish up with a shot of a nice old Eastern redcedar feature tree, 10'-6 CBH.