Monster Red Spruce, GRSM, TN Will Blozan
May 3, 2009



While completing hemlock woolly adelgid treatments in the Smokies this past winter I was required to walk nearly 75 miles of roads. This gave me the opportunity to slow down my pace I normally pass through and see more of the vegetation by the road. In addition to finding various exotics such as pecan and white poplar, I also found a new occurrence of a rare, artic orchid in TN (Goodyera repens).


View of Anakeesta Ridge, TN from US 441 with old-growth red spruce. Gray skeletons are dead hemlock and some spruce and Fraser fir snags.


Foggy valley below (Deep Creek, NC)


Getting ready for treatments at Newfound Gap NC/TN state line


Ancient red spruce in the West Prong Little Pigeon River watershed, TN

 I located several specimens of native tree that I either measured or plan to return to measure. While walking the main Transmountain Highway (US 441) from Newfound Gap to Gatlinburg I spotted what I at first thought was a really nice, healthy hemlock. It had the growth form, taper, and size of a large specimen. As I poked through the rhododendron to go treat it I soon realized it was not a hemlock but a massive red spruce. This tree, with scaly bark, was not expected since the elevation was a bit below the normal range for such a large spruce.




 Without a doubt, this is the largest specimen I have ever seen! At 124 cbh X 133.1 it is among the largest girths known and attains a respectable height (there is one in this area that exceeds 150 tall). It is likely this tree may be the largest in volume for the species that ENTS knows of. Of course, I plan to climb it and will probably also map the crown for a 3-D model. It has some serious gnarl and the beginnings of a large reiteration.

 Will F. Blozan

President, Eastern Native Tree Society

President, Appalachian Arborists, Inc.


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