More on conference   Robert Leverett
  Oct 17, 2005 10:15 PDT 

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Mount Tom Hemlock - photos by Will Blozan


     More on the just concluded conference-ENTS rendezvous. On Friday
Will, Jess, Ed, Carl, and I headed to William Cullen Bryant homestead to
show Jess Riddle one of the white pine stands that he keeps reading
about on the list. Lee stayed at Monica's house to practice for the
concert. Lee had practically no time to prepare for the concert, and
from my perspective, was one heck of a sport to agree to play the violin
on a score that he was seeing for the first time.

     At the Bryant site, we wanted to remodel the Edward McDowell white
pine with the RD 1000. Given its hefty 12.8 to 13.1-foot CBH, its
modeled volume of 586 cubes seemed light. However, when we got there and
the three of us re-examined the tree's rapid taper, remodeling hardly
seemed worth it. It just didn't hold that much volume. So, for the
present, we decided to go with my first modeling. Will then suggested
modeling a large, slow tapering pine that stood near by. It is a
beautiful tree that I've subsequently named the Walt Whitman tree. The
pine has a respectible CBH of 11.7 feet and it tapers very slowly. I
turned the RD 1000 over to Will and Jess to give them an opportunity to
use the instrument. Will scanned as much of the full height of 146.5
feet of the Walt Whitman pine that visibility and the RD 1000 would
allow. Carl Harting benignly devoted his time to hunting for the red pen
I had dropped in my excitement.

     After finishing the taking of his readings and turning over the RD
1000 to Jess, Will quickly confirmed another 150-foot white pine - right
on the trail! Another 150 under my nose. I managed to hide my red face.
It was the first of many such faces I was forced to mask over the period
of Friday to Sunday. It happens on each visit Will makes to

     The new 150 in Bryant Woods that Will confirmed has a CBH of 9.7
feet. It becomes the 5th great white to reach the Thoreau threshold in
the Bryant Woods. There is another in there that is borderline 150. I'll
remeasure it later in the fall. I suspect that there are now at least
seven 150s in the Bryant woods and in time there will be a dozen or
more. What is the site's secret as the number two location of tall white
pines in Massachusetts and the number three in New England? Ed Frank
confirmed that the sand-clay mixture has good water retaining properties
on the gently sloping white pine site that varies in altitude from 1350
to 1450 feet. The site is on the side of a very long, gently sloping
ridge that eventually reaches 2080 feet at the summit of Bryant
Mountain, where scatterings of red spruce remind one of the cool
climate. The whole area is worth a greater exploration.

     While at Bryant's, I asked Will to remeasure another fine tree that
I knew was in the 150 Club. It's more substantial 10.8-foot CBH and a
side-branch's witch's broom make it highly conspicuous. Will's
measurement yielded 154.8 feet. I've renamed the tree the Emily
Dickenson white pine. The illusive 150 that I plan to remeasure will
become the Amy Beech pine.

    Will also suggested that I model a downed white pine for volume and
taper - an excellent suggestion. I plan to do that this coming Saturday,
weather permitting. There are questions that we need to answer
concerning rates of taper in the crown region of the white pine. The RD
1000 is virtually useless in that zone for reasons of trunk visibility
and the RD's design limitations. You can't contract the scale
sufficiently to mask the narrow upper trunk.

    While at Monica's, Will and I took a walk down the street to look at
what I had identified as a scarlet oak. It was and became the confirmed
height champion. Only minutes afterward, Will confirmed a 107-foot
scarlet in the same yard. How many times had I walked by the tree. Oh,
the shame of it all! I spent most of the remaining time of Will's visit
trying to think up excuses for not having measured the tree.

     Lee, Monica, Jess, Will, and I walked in Monica's woods. There is a
diversity of species there that merits further documentation. Jess kept
identifying scarlet oaks. The bloody place is awash in them. There were
other identifications. Lee noticed gold thread plus some dainty mosses
and discussed forest processes with Monica that likely explains the
structure and species composition of the area. BTW, Monica's Woods
Rucker index now stands at 109.8.

     On Sunday AM, Lee, Will, Jess, and I headed for the huge Sunderland
sycamore. Its girth is now 25.2 inches! Its longest lateral limb stretch
is 82.5 feet. Modeled for full linear stretch, the limb's length comes
to almost 89 feet. That is clearly the longest limb we have modeled
although the limb on the Pinchot sycamore that BVP modeled back in Oct
2001might be longer. Will estimates the volume of the Sunderland
sycamore to be 2000+ cubes. Our challenge over the next year will be to
refine our modeling and get Will and others permission to climb and
model the tree.

     The Hatfield sycamore's CBH is now 24.2 feet. It's no slouch.

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     Will bagged the height champion balsam fir on Friday at around 78
feet, if I recall. So he has at least two new state height records. He
also modeled a white pine in MTSF just under 100 feet that has a height
to diameter ratio of 150 to 1. That's another tree I buzzed past on my
way to measure only the grandest. Oh the shame of it all.   

     While at MTSF on Saturday, Will remeasured the Jake Swamp white
pine and got 167.3 feet. That is exactly where I have the tree. I'm
satisfied with this season's measurement. With good growth next year,
Jake just might make 168.

      More in my next e-mail.


Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society

Re: More on conference   Lee Frelich
  Oct 18, 2005 16:57 PDT 


Yesterday I gained re-admittance to the Midwest by passing through a line
of heavy thunderstorms in Indiana. Today the drive from my brothers house
in southern WI to Minneapolis was spectacular, with the clear air, pure
blue skies, and exceptionally brilliant fall colors of red and sugar maples
that framed grazing cows in WI.

I arrived back in Minneapolis a few hours ago--when I saw those 60 story
skyscrapers looming above the horizon I knew I was home. Minneapolis was
enjoying a rare 80 degree late October day with sidewalk cafes full of
people when I arrived.

Regarding Monica's woods, you forgot to mention that nasty invasion front
of European earthworms. Its the first time I have seen a white pine forest
stripped of duff. I wasn't sure Lumbricus terrestris could eat white pine
needles, but now I know they can. I expect you to document growth changes
of the trees as the earthworms invasion front progresses.