Carl Sandburg Home   Will Blozan
  Jul 30, 2003 14:27 PDT 


Last week I had a chance to do a brief and certainly not all-inclusive
survey of exemplary trees on the estate of the late author, Carl Sandburg in Flat Rock, NC. I was simply focused on height but the estate has some
massive white and chestnut oaks among other introduced and native species. I measured enough species to start a rudimentary Rucker Index that will Loona Brogan undoubtably creep up with more exploration.

Much of the estate is dry oak/pine forest with small ravines and coves
harboring more diversity. The ridges support, in some areas, classic
old-growth sub-xeric oak forests with individuals easily over 300 years old.
The estate has been settled for over 130 years and many trees date to this
time period. The estate has a grand collection of big, old,
high-knarl-factor eastern white pines and open-grown giants of white and
chestnut oak. My company has been working on tree maintenance pruning and
preservation on the estate for 4 years. A limb removed two years ago off one
of the huge white oaks had 180 growth rings. Sandburg has named many of the
oaks after prominent individuals and the National Park Service is doing what
they can to preserve them amid soil compaction and other visitor induced

Anyway, here is a tally from a brief walk that yielded a Rucker Index of

White pine 9'3" 108.6'
White pine 8'9" 135.51'
Sycamore 8'2" 122.05'
Pignut 5'2" 92.78'
White pine 7'11" 143.24' Tallest tree found, 150' possible on estate...`
Tuliptree 9'6" 109.06'
Persimmon 3'4" 93.58' Tallest I have measured outside of Congaree Swamp NM!
Sycamore 6'7" 115.61'
White pine 7'3" 126.15'
Amer elm 10'6" 93.48'
Tuliptree 7'10" 117.22'
White oak 7'2" 106.12'
Tuliptree 10'3" 140.87' May not beat the height of this giant!
Mockernut 7' 108.6'
White pine 10'4" 122.01' Classic knarled beauty with very high knarl factor!
E. hemlock 13'8" 114.3' Giant single stemmed tree; may be the largest girth
on estate.
N. red oak 8'2" 98.6' Must be taller ones.
Black oak 6.4" 96.2' " "
Scarlet oak 5'11" 94.1' " "

More searching may bring the Rucker Index up to ~115, which is not bad
considering the rather poor site conditions.

Re: Carl Sandburg Home
  Jul 30, 2003 15:13 PDT 


   Excellent. Good site to catalog because of whose estate it is. Only by
canvassing the countryside and recording enough Rucker indexes can we emphasize
the exceptional sites.

RE: Sandburg Homestead   Will Blozan
  Jul 30, 2003 19:33 PDT 
Yes, the elm was planted, but it is an indicator of site productivity, and
maybe should be included as a representative of that potential eluded to by
the Rucker #'s. All the other trees I presume were natural, as I doubt
anyone planted scores of pines and tulips that would naturally grow on their
own. I agree about unknown stock but they should not be disregarded as
valuable indicators (as ENTS data are collected) of site
conditions/potential. There is a European larch in Asheville that likely
tops 130' and I feel it should be included in a Rucker index for the site
(soon to be disclosed).