View of Full Tree
I am now back in the cool and cloudy (just like a good IPA)
Pacific Northwest after spending a week with Will and his
wonderful family. The arboreal highlights were many, but of
course you will want to hear about the two climbs.
Two weeks ago I thought that The Senator held a supreme position
in the East as far as volume was concerned. I figured that the
largest of the Smokies Liriodendrons would be close to 3K and
that the Middleton Oak would come in somewhere around 2K.
Boy was I wrong!
Although I have measured wood volume on over 2000 trees and
branch volume on 136 trees, these were largely conifers and the
ones that weren’t were relatively small or tall Eucalypts. My
branch-trunk measuring protocol was developed on the world’s
most complex trees, so I was confident it would adapt easily to
Three cheers to Randy for organizing the Middleton Oak
climb! Setting up the permissions and accommodations was
fantastic - all we had to do was focus on the tree. Appalachian
Arborists climbers Will Blozan, Ed Coyle, and Brian Hinshaw are
excellent climbers who were easily able to respond to the
trees’ architectural challenges in order to collect the needed
Overall, four people spent 8 hours in the tree measuring branch
segments and branches. Besides the 3-D structural data set, a
footprint map was made (2-D cross-sectional diagram) of the
base, BH, and at 6.75 feet. A crown projection map was also
made. Originally estimates on foliar and epiphytic biomass were
going to be made, but this would have more than doubled the
workload so it was scrapped.
Will chose this tree because the massive crown – unsurpassed
in his opinion. There may be other trees of this species
that may rival the wood volume (larger trunk, smaller crown),
but this was a great one to start with. This tree also required
8 hours in the tree, but for three climbers (Will, Ed, and
myself). Added to that were 8 miles of trail, the last one
Cautionary note: The numbers presented below are PRELIMINARY.
The final 3-D model will modify these into a final form to
include branch basal taper which the numbers below do not
reflect. This aspect will take me a few weeks to complete. I
wanted to post these initial numbers to start a discussion. The
branch volume estimates account for all wood in the tree larger
than 1.5 inches thick. Very small branches and twigs are not
|Linear path length of wood
over 1.5 inches (ft)
Needless to say, I must complete revise my thoughts on Eastern
trees. When first seeing these numbers, I was both excited and
confused. If the greatest of Tulips can’t beat this Oak, what
can? A Sycamore? A Cherrybark? Another Live oak? To be fair the
estimates on the Senator are crude and do not include branches.
We have our work cut out for us!!!