White Pines versus Tuliptrees

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James Parton
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White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by James Parton » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:57 pm

Bob,

RE: http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=87&t=2366

While tuliptree has certainly gained notoriety recently I am still not so sure it has dethroned the great whites. Typing this, I remember the Pine Flats grove in Cataloochee Valley that some of us ENTS visited during the 2009 Black Mountain Gathering. And a Great White ( The Boogerman Pine ) is still the only tree yet found in the east to exceed 200 feet ( 207, if my memory is right ). But the most recent tuliptree finds are terribly close to the Boogs last known height of 188.8 feet. LiDar has proven a useful tool on discovering record tall tulips but white pine could benefit as well.

I don't think the great whites will go down without a fight!
James E Parton
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New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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dbhguru
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by dbhguru » Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:51 am

James,

Yes, I think you're on target. The Great Whites were historically the kings. Love'um. Can't get enough of 'um. But OMG, the sheer number of towering tulips far exceeds our wildest dreams of yesteryear. I remember a tulip that Will and I measured (not so accurately) on the Albright Trail back around 1994 or 1995 and I thought we'd found about the best the Smokies had to offer. So much for what I knew in those days.

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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gnmcmartin
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by gnmcmartin » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:44 pm

James and Bob, and other ENTS:

All we have left of "old growth" of either species is a few "scraps," no disrespect of present standing trees intended. As for what we have today, the numbers of tall tulilps outdistances the white pines. But I would like to know more about the ultimate potential of both species. I am certainly not ready to give the crown to the tulips.

What I would like to know is more about the growth rates of each species in the second and third century of life. Both species may have a maximum life span of 400 years, give or take a bit, so they are equal there. One point that may be significant, is that white pine can maintain a single trunk to a greater height than a tulip. This may focus growth energy more effectively towards increases in height. The tulips Will has recently found maintain their central trunk to wonderful heights, but at the top the trees divide into many ascending limbs, creating many competing tops. I don't have any hard data about the effect this has on height growth, but I could guess that it may retard it somewhat in trees that have a clearly dominant crown position. When we talk about trees living to 250 or 300 years, a difference in height growth after 150 years of 2 inches per year is quite significant.

One reason why tulips may reign today is their faster growth rates for the first 50 plus years. Tulips have been documented to grow to over 140 feet in 50 years. The trees Will has found recently may have out done that rate. White pines, as far as I know--and my knowledge is limited, so I am ready to be corrected--cannot match that 50 year growth. 120 feet in 50 years is as much as I have heard about. Will has found some white pines he thinks may have grown faster than that, but I would be skeptical of any reports of 140 foot white pines in 50 years, without some real hard evidence.

So, since for the most part, the mass of trees we have of both species are relatively young--with a few exceptional individuals the loggers have spared--the early growth advantage the tulips have is telling. Wait another 100 years, and keep the best young trees protected from disturbance until they reach 250 or 300 years of age, and see which wins. My bet is with the whites. But, maybe most of you remember an earlier topic I posted about why I doubt 250 foot white pines ever existed--I stick with that. But do I think they could grow significantly over 200--you bet!

--Gaines

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edfrank
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by edfrank » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:04 pm

Gaines,

You make a good point:
What I would like to know is more about the growth rates of each species in the second and third century of life.
Certainly in the historical literature there are more accounts of tall white pines that there are for tall tuliptrees. There were a few accounts in Colby Rucker's GREAT EASTERN TREES, PAST AND PRESENT in Bulletin of the Eastern Native Tree Society, Volume 3, Number 4, Fall 2008 http://www.nativetreesociety.org/bullet ... v03_04.pdf
Kentucky

Tuliptree. Forest-grown specimen said to have been eighty feet to the first branch. Owned by Ritter Lumber Company, cut 1/12/1937. Said to have been 27 feet around the base. Proved to have a hollow center 5’ 10” in diameter at stump height. Located at Linn Fork, near Highway 699, ca. one mile from the Leatherwood school, Leatherwood, Perry County. Reference: Internet (hazardkentucky.com) Article and photograph.

Courtesy of Will Blozan, November 2003. Comments: The
article contains a number of wild exaggerations to support the claim of “world’s largest tuliptree.” These include a height of “nearly 250 feet,” and an age of “2000 years.” Accounts submitted to the web page included a stump diameter of eleven feet. The photograph suggests the hollow base might have produced a girth of 27 feet at grade, but tapered rapidly.
Michigan

Tuliptree. National champion 1967: CBH 19’ 3”, ht. 176’, spr. 112’. Fred Russ Forest Park (10 acres), near Dowagiac, Cass County. Tree blown down in May 1984. About sixteen feet of the trunk has been preserved under a shelter. An Internet source claims the tree was 23.6’ in girth, 200’ tall, and had a spread of 136’. Reference: American Forests, September 1967.
Michigan

Russ Forest Tuliptree #1. Dead. Listed as a national cochampion with a tuliptree in Amelia, Va. In 1967: CBH 19’ 3”, ht. 176’, spr. 112’. The tree was blown down in May 1984 and the 16-foot butt log has been protected by a shelter. Russ Forest and Newton Woods County Park, Cass County, near Dowagiac. Reference: Internet. “TreeHunt: Yellow-Poplar.”

Comments: The spread is exceptional for a tuliptree, and
suggests an open-grown tree. The 1967 height of 176 feet is considered to be greatly exaggerated, probably due to false-top triangulation. The actual height was probably fifty feet less. Inexplicably, measurements of this tree are now (2003) given as CBH 23.6’, ht. 200’, spr. 136’, which interestingly, give a point total of 517.2, just surpassing Virginia’s Bedford Poplar, with 516.25.
It is interesting that the listed heights of two of the trees grew after the tree died. The Kentucky specimen reference did claim 250 feet. Perhaps we will find more tall tuliptree references now that they are more on our radar.

I really don't see how the form or shape of the tree would limit the maximum height of the tree, but perhaps your supposition is correct. I don't know any way at this point to tell for sure.

There isn't as much old growth now as there was in the past, but I would think that the prime tuliptree territory was whacked as much as the prime white pine territory, so we have lost much old growth, but what we have left should not bias the data set one way or the other. I would think there would be more taller white pines in what old growth is left, if indeed old growth white pines would over time outstrip the tuliptree growth.

So what do we have now? More tall tuliptrees than tall white pines, but more accounts, likely or at least possibly exaggerated, of tall white pines in the past than there are of tall tuliptrees.

.
"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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Steve Galehouse
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by Steve Galehouse » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:31 am

ENTS-

I think record white pines have had more mention in historical documents because they were more economically valuable as timber, opposed to tuliptrees.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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gnmcmartin
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by gnmcmartin » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:02 am

Well. only time will tell ultimately, but some research, and some may have already been done, could shed some light on the matter. I don't trust any reports of heights of trees unless done by someone competent in our "sine top, sine base" method. The data we are generating is the only data I pay much, if any, attention to.

One more specific thought. I wonder if there has not been more prime growing sites lost from logging and land use conversion for white pine than tuliptree. Many areas once dominated by white pine that were logged, grew back primarily with hardwoods. Other prime growing sites with the best soils were permanently converted to farmland. In NE, many abandoned fields grew back up with white pine, but these formerly cultivated or pastured lands were left to grow back up with trees because the soils were poor, either to begin with, or were degraded by erosion and depletion of nutrients. Some old field sites, however, are better than others, and can produce impressive stands.

Tuliptree has had a better record of regeneration on formerly cut-over lands--many areas occupied by a mixed hardwood forest that were cut over, have grown back up with impressive stands dominated by tuliptree, and some of these sites have wonderfully tall trees. The logging practices of the past have much reduced white pine, but have favored tuliptree.

Well, just some thoughts about why we see more stands of tuliptrees today than stands dominated by white pine. All this may be beside the point, however. I think the best existing second growth white pine stands just need more time.

--Gaines

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dbhguru
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by dbhguru » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:18 pm

Gaines,

Good points. I love both species equally, but agree that white pine may have lost more good growing habitat historically and may be more the victim of the rapaciousness of humans. You are on point with you suspicions of the reported records of super pines of the past. We know the story behind what is routinely accepted as valid measurements of trees reflected in the champion tree lists. Once a number gets in print, it assumes a life of its own and as time passes it assumes an importance an credibility that it may not have had originally. Then there is the argument that Lee makes. The modern foot was not always the standard measure that it is now.

What we can say for sure is that one white pine was measured to 207 feet +/- about 3 feet. There were likely an occasional pine that exceeded 200 feet in colonial times, but not many. We will never know. So let the contest, if there needs to be one, concentrate on what is out there now. My guess is that the tuliptree for the reasons you describe will emerge the winner in most places. In New England and the upper Mid-west, the great whites will rule. In the Mid-atlantic and south, the lordly tulips will rule. The idea of a contest keeps things interesting. I wish for a tie.

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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Marcboston
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by Marcboston » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:51 pm

Where do Bald Cypress rank in comparison to Tulips and White Pine?

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dbhguru
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by dbhguru » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:23 pm

Marc,

In terms of height, cypress would come in a distant third. In terms of volume, it would be a horse race between tulips and cypresses. White pine would be a distant third. Bald cypresses get mis-measured a lot in terms of height. They have broad, flat crowns and that makes them very difficult to measure in swampy terrain. Their shapes make them difficult to model for volume. Our evolving methods will allow us to tackle the problem with more success than past efforts. Trying to apply the compromise champion tree formula to cypress forms is an exercise in futility.

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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Will Blozan
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Re: White Pines versus Tuliptrees

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:33 pm

Marc,

Bald cypress is the clear leader in eastern tree volume with the lone Senator Cypress in Longwood Florida ranking #1. It's volume is a bit over 5,000 cubic feet. Outside of this one tree, tuliptree likely leads the pack with numerous specimens vastly exceeding the white pine (max 1,150 ft3) and most other cypress (based on what I currently know). I don't believe we will ever find a tuliptree that reaches 5,000 ft3. We have measured one to 4,000 cubes but I don't think we will greatly exceed this figure, if ever.

Will

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