Boogerman Pine   Robert Leverett
  Mar 03, 2002 19:55 PST 

        The e-mail following my comments is from Will Blozan and it is
simply too good not to share with everyone on the ENTSTreesList. Will's
e-mail is in response to Dale Luthringer's e-mail about his recent height
measurement of the Longfellow Pine in Cook Forest. The Longfellow may now be
up to 182 feet in height or even more! Exciting! Dale will take more
measurements in an attempt to narrow possible sources of error. When I
measured a couple of growing seasons ago, it was 180.1 feet. I may have been

        But before turning to Will's e-mail, I want to sing my old buddy's
praises. I just viewed an awesome video of Will, Michael Davie and others
climbing 3 great trees: (1) a 167-foot Loblolly giant in Congaree, (2) a
161-foot Hemlock in Walhalla, S.C., and (3) a 168 (almost) foot Hemlock also
in Walhalla. The area of Hemlocks is on the East Fork of the Chattooga
River. A close by White Pine tops 170 feet. My conclusion from this video is
that one cannot truly know trees from ground level. The dry descriptions of
growth from Oliver and Larson just don't hack it anymore. The old growth
monarchs that Will climbs are so very much more than the woody-stemmed
garden vegetables that Oliver and Larson describe. Will's trees are
veritable hotels in the forest. They harbor so much, much more life and
serve so many more functions than just storing carbon on the stem. Honestly,
forest ecologists need to get up into the canopies of these grand trees and
seriously study what is going on. It is absolutely amazing as to what is
going on in the canopy of these trees. Ecologists who study from the ground
are living in a two dimensional world and are missing a world aloft. The
complexity and diversity of canopy life gives new meaning to Bill Martin's
critique of designer old-growth, perhaps the ultimate human silliness.
Experiments that seek to blow the tops out of trees to create artificial
cavities for a select number of birds are misguided, if not down right
pathetic. Will found whole colonies of polypody ferns growing on limbs 140+
feet in the air. Caches of pine seeds. Lichen growth inches thick. You name
it. A whole different world. Nobody who views these films of Will's climbs
of these ancient trees can ever seriously view trees in an old growth forest
as just over the hill versions of tame tree farm trees. The wildness and
diversity of these magnificent southern Appalachian and southern swamp
forests is amply revealed from Will's canopy shots. Looking across the
Conagree from a perch 160 in the air shows the tops of giant emergents. All
that was missing was the head of a T-Rex. The shots have that effect.

        Dale Luthringer, we definitely need to show Will's videos at the
April Rendezvous. Perhaps with accompanying brew.


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Will's e-mail follows.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Will Blozan" 
Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 5:40 PM
Subject: Fw: Longfellow Pine!!!

Way to go Longfellow!

I have extensive video of the Boogermen Pine (BP) and its "new" top filmed
two weeks ago from an adjacent tree 167' tall. After hurricane Opal in Oct
1995, BP was reduced to a flat topped remnant of its former 207' glory. BP
has two tops, the main trunk splitting into two codominants at around 140'
up. Both tops sheared off at about 177 feet, and the remaining horizontal
limbs formed the new highest point. Since 1995, the remaining limb on the
east side has tweaked itself to vertical and become the new dominant leader
(186'+). It exhibits strong annual growth whorls visible from the ground.
Video closeup indicates 6-8 new inches of growth over the last few years.
The west side of the tree, which is larger in diameter and has a larger
remaining horizontal branch, has instead turned up a small sprout near the
trunk while the limb remains essentially horizontal. (this limb was once the
highest point.) It has gained several feet in height but still has not
outgrown the height of the foliage on the remaining branch. Thus, on the
east side a height gain was made without new growth (turned vertical), and
the west side has no net height gain even with its new leader and growth. A
similar situation has occurred in white pine on my parents property in
Cashiers, NC. Hurricane Opal also ripped the top out of one of two twin
pines in their yard. Both trees were nearly identical in height and
diameter. Anyway, Opal topped one of the trees back to 8" diameter wood. The
remaining limbs were nearly horizontal and very long-in excess of 20' and
5-6 inches in diameter. I considered the tree doomed and vowed to cut it
down. Well, I didn't, and it rebounded with a surprise! A few weeks ago I
was visiting and noticed the tree's new form. It went from basically a large
"T", with the remaining two horizontal limbs (Okay, ascending a mere 10
degrees each) forming the top of the "T", to a fully twin topped tree where
the tops are less than 3 feet apart and perfectly parallel! Not only have
the limbs become codominant but they have surpassed the other tree
(undamaged) in height! This indicates a height gain of probably 30 feet in a
mere 6 growing seasons (96-01). The straighteneing of the tops allowed a
"doubling" of height growth compared to conventional means. I find this
method of regrowth very fascinating and ecologically important to a species
so dependent on maintaining height for survival.

Pinaceae rules!!!