Porters Creek    Jess Riddle
   Feb 27, 2006 19:00 PST 


Will Blozan and I returned to the Porters Creek watershed (see "Lowes
& Cannon Creeks" post from 2/9/06) to search a previously unexplored,
north facing cove for new large and tall hemlocks. From the mouth on
Porters Creek at 2800' elevation, the cove gradually gains 800'
elevation between two parallel, steep-sided ridges before ending in a
steep, rocky slope. Buckeyes and a few other mesophytic species line
the middle of the cove, and separate the contrasting forests on the
northwest and northeast facing slopes. Hemlocks and rhododendron
cover the entire eastern ridge while an open forest of hemlock,
silverbell, fraser magnolia, tuliptree and striped maple dominates the
cove's other side. Open, rich cove forests featuring red maple, sugar
maple, hemlock, tuliptree, and buckeye also grow on the northeast
facing slopes farther up Porters Creek.

In the cove:
Species Cbh Height
Buckeye, Yellow NA 134.2'
Cherry, Pin 3'6" 89.6'
Hemlock, Eastern 12'8" 165.3'
Magnolia, Fraser 7'6" 118.3'
Maple, Red 14'10" 126.9'
Maple, Striped 3'1" 69.6'
Maple, Sugar 11'2" 125.9'
Tuliptree 18'6" 167.5'
Tuliptree 12'0" 170.4'
Tuliptree 21'3" 173.4'

Along Porters Creek:
Species Cbh Height
Maple, Red 16'10.5" ~120'
Maple, Red NA 131.6'
Silverbell 6'8" 125.2'

In Tennessee, the 165.3' hemlock is second in height only to the tree
recently relocated tree on Lowes Creek. The hemlock is the
forth-tallest known living hemlock. The fraser magnolia is the
tallest known in Tennessee, and falls short of the eastern height
record by only 0.4'. The 21'3' x 173.4' tuliptree is the seventh
tuliptree over 20' in circumference found in the Porters Creek
watershed. The tree is also the tallest known tuliptree in Tennessee,
and the tallest known tree in the state. The tree has substantial
basal flair, and is likely smaller in volume than the extremely
columnar 18'6" tree in the same cove. However, the 16'10.5" cbh red
maple is not flaired at the base. By volume, the maple is either the
second or third largest of the species. The silverbell is 0.6'
shorter than the recently found state height record, and grows farther
down Porters Creek.

Jess Riddle & Will Blozan
RE: Porters Creek RED OAK?   Will Blozan
  Feb 27, 2006 19:52 PST 


There was also the ~17'4" X ~128' northern red oak at the base of the cove.

RE: Porters Creek   Will Blozan
  Feb 27, 2006 19:52 PST 

Dale & other ENTS,

FYI- The hemlock Jess listed (and the grove surrounding it) is on the
hemlock woolly adelgid treatment schedule according to Tom Remaley of the
NPS-GRSM. In general, the NPS is relying heavily on the input of ENTS
(Blozan, Riddle, Davie) for their old-growth backcountry treatment

Re: Porters Creek   Neil
  Feb 28, 2006 05:53 PST 

Dear Jess,

Is this the same Porter's Creek in which Dave Stahle and Matt Therrel
cored tulip-poplar? Most of the trees in their somewhat-smallish sample
are 120-150 years old, but there are a few over 220 yrs, including one
at 300 years.

Re: Porters Creek   Jess Riddle
  Feb 28, 2006 18:01 PST 


I'm not familiar with that work by Stahle and Therrel, but if they
were working in the Smokies, it is the same Porters Creek. The stream
has extensive old-growth forests and an unusual amount of tuliptree,
so the creek would be a logical study area for tuliptree. At two
spots along the creek, each a few acres in extent, tuliptrees under
100 years old form nearly pure canopies. Those sites show no signs of
human disturbance and are adjacent to large tuliptrees that show signs
of advanced age, including a 20'10" cbh individual.

RE: Porters Creek   Will Blozan
  Mar 02, 2006 06:30 PST 


I helped core trees for Stahle on Porters Creek in 1997.