Middleton Oak and Cook Forest   Robert Leverett
  Jan 27, 2004 08:08 PST 


   To answer your question about measuring the Middleton Oak, it is my
understanding that the project is going forward. Will Blozan and Randy
Cyr will have to weigh in though and bring us up to date. I wish I could
join them, but there is simply no way.

    From an e-mail I was copied on, Bob Van Pelt appears to be planning
to be there and while he is down there, planning to make other climbs.
If so, that will simply be awesome. BVP is THE expert on tree measuring
and canopy mapping and he no doubt sees benefits to adding the kinds of
species data that would come from mapping the southern trees to his
database. This is ENTS at its very best.
RE: Middleton Oak and Cook Forest   greentreedoctor
  Jan 27, 2004 10:56 PST 

Bob & Ed:

Until Will sees this post and makes further comments, as I understand, we
are aiming for the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of February. We're still
trying to work out the small details. We hope to fly BVP in on the 20th
(Asheville or surrounding city). He may stay until Wednesday to measure one
or two tuliptrees for Will. We would like to start climbing Saturday at
9:00 a.m., so other arborists can observe.

We welcome and covet ENTS contributions towards this worthy endeavor
(contact Bob or Will).

Re: Volume measurement study   greentreedoctor
  Jan 30, 2004 20:50 PST 
Like the live oak, an elm is a spreading tree.   Compared to the elm, live oak has heavier leaves, more small deadwood, less height, more vertical spread, and greater crown to trunk ratio. This info may be of some use for the MIddleton Project in February.

This study was conducted in Summer 2002. Obviously, some extrapolation procedures were utilized, but the results can, and do, provide some relational values between "wood" and "green matter" - at least as far as elm trees go. The study's results were disclosed at the annual conference of the MW Chapter of ISA in Feb '03.

A "typical" 55-foot American elm tree weighs 25,000 lbs.
The tree has 258,000 leaves, which weigh one percent of the tree's total weight (250 lbs.)
The trunk (below 35 ft.) weighs 55% of the total weight, or 13,750 lbs.
The large limbs (over 3 inch dia) weigh 40% of the total weight. 10,000 lbs.
The small limbs (of course, under 3 inch dia) weigh four percent of the total weight, or 1,000 lbs.
Re: Middleton Project Itinerary   greentreedoctor
  Feb 12, 2004 20:23 PST 

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Middleton Place
4300 Ashley River Road,
Charleston, S.C. 29414
(800) 782-3608


Friday (February 20, 2004)

9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.      Will picks up Bob at Asheville Airport

9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.    enroute

10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Breakfast (Will)

10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.    enroute

2:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.      Arrive at Main Gate, Middleton Place (meet Randy)

2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.      enroute

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.      Lunch at Middleton Restaurant (Randy)

3:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.      enroute

3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.      Calibration/measuring class under Middleton Oak (Bob)

5:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.      enroute

6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.      Dinner at Middleton Restaurant (Randy)

7:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.      enroute

7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.      Middleton Inn check-in; no later than 9:00 p.m. (Randy)

Saturday (February 21, 2004)

7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.      Breakfast at Middleton Inn (Randy)

8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.      enroute

8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.      Debrief under Middleton Oak (Bob)

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.    Middleton Oak climb I (Will)

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.    Free lunch under the Middleton Oak (Randy)

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.      Middleton Oak climb II (Will)

4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.      Local press meeting (Bob, Will & Randy)

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.      Data collection (Bob)

5:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.      Debrief under Middleton Oak (Bob)

5:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.      enroute

6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.      Dinner at Middleton Restaurant (Randy)

7:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.      enroute

7:45 p.m.                          Return to Middleton Inn

Sunday (February 22, 2004; Alternate Climbing Day)

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.      Breakfast at Middleton Inn (Randy)

9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.      Hotel check-out (Randy)


Randy Cyr; Liaison 864-233-9422 (greentre-@bellsouth.net)

Will Blozan; Principle Climber 828-273-5302/828-669-7435 (treeh-@worldnet.att.net

Bob van Pelt; Principle Measuring Agent & Project Leader

Tanya Emerson; Public Relations, Middleton Place 843-556-6020 (http://www.middletonplace.org)


From Columbia
From Columbia take I-26 and follow for approximately 1 hour toward Charleston. Exit at Summerville (U.S. Highway 17A). Follow Highway 17A through Summerville for approximately 8 miles to Bacon's Bridge Road (five corners intersection). Turn left onto Bacon's Bridge Road (Highway 165) and follow for about 10 miles. Turn left onto Highway 61 South and proceed for about 5 miles. Middleton Place will be on the left (1/2 mile before the Inn at Middleton Place).

From Charleston International Airport:
From the Charleston International Airport, take I-526 West (toward Savannah). Take the Ashley River Road North Exit (#11) which exits onto the Paul Cantrell Parkway. Then it turns into the McConnell Parkway. Follow McConnell Parkway north to Bees Ferry Road. Turn right onto Bees Ferry Road until it ends at Hwy. 61 (Ashley River Road). Turn left onto Ashley River Road. Middleton Place is approximately 6 miles north on the right side of the road (1/2 mile after the Inn at Middleton Place).Estimated travel time: 20 minutes.


Middleton Place Inn

Located on the bluffs of the Ashley River and secluded among tall pines and live oaks, the Inn at Middleton Place offers luxury accommodations in an atmosphere of unsurpassed natural beauty.

A recipient of the American Institute of Architects highest award, the 53-room Inn features elegantly simple and exquisitely designed guestrooms. In-room refrigerators are stocked with complimentary refreshments and evening guests are invited to the Lodge for a wine and hors d'oeuvre reception. A full breakfast is served daily in the dining room. Guests interact with trained naturalists, who provide daily tours and lectures that bring to life the plantation's natural environment.

For reservations or more information call
(800)543-4774 or (843)556-0500


Middleton Place Restaurant

Lunch is served 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. to plantation visitors.

Dinner is served 6:00 -9:00 p.m. Reservations are required.

Dinner guests are invited to arrive after 5:30 p.m. and tour the gardens at no charge.

Dining at Middleton Place Restaurant offers visitors a taste of the old south. Low Country plantation fare, such as Hoppin' John and ham biscuits, okra gumbo, she-crab soup, collard greens and huguenot torte are just a few of the tempting dishes served for lunch. In the evening guests can stroll through the gardens and then enjoy an elegant, candlelight dinner overlooking the Rice Mill Pond. Dinner favorites include panned quail, scallops, and shrimp and grits.

The influence of renowned southern chef Edna Lewis is still felt at Middleton Place. Edna Lewis was a consultant-in-residence for several years. The recipes Ms. Lewis developed for Middleton Place Restaurant gave special attention to the presentation of authentic Low Country cuisine. These recipes are still used today.

Lunch Menu (25% off listed prices)

Okra Gumbo (5.95)

Low Country She-Crab Soup (6.95)

Southern Sampler (11.95)

Plantation Salad (9.95)

John's Island Fried Green Tomato Sandwich (8.95)

Shrimp & Grits (10.95)

Middleton Fried Chicken (9.95)

Carolina Barbecue Pork (9.95)

Desserts; Huguenot Torte, Key Lime Pie, Pecan Pie (4.95)

Dinner Menu (25% off listed prices)

Charleston She-Crab soup (cup 4.95, bowel 6.95)

Chef's Fresh Daily Selection (cup 3.95, bowel 5.95)

Shrimp Cocktail (6.95)

Plantation Fried Oysters (7.95)

Crab & Crawfish Cake (7.95)

Middleton Salad (3.95)

Grilled Mushroom Salad (5.95)

Boneless New Zealand Lamb Loin (21.95)

Steak Middleton (22.95)

Shrimp & Grits (17.95)

Chef's Fresh Fish Selection (Market)

Panned Quail (16.95)

Grilled Portabello (15.95)

Pecan Encrusted Duck Breast (19.95)

Final Note: All project participants will be required to:

(1) Sign a waiver of liability to Middleton Place, Eastern Native Tree Society, Greentree Technologies & Appalachian Arborists.

(2) Follow the American National Standard Institute standards (to include approved harness, helmets, or larger rope, maintaining 3 points of contact, tie-in above 25 feet & approved knots.

(3) Follow any additional instructions from the principle in charge.

(4) Follow Middleton Place rules and regulations.

(5) Well represent the Eastern Native Tree Society.
Middleton Oak, Sag-Branch Tulip   abi-@u.washington.edu
  Feb 29, 2004 05:47 PST 

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 these trees.

Middleton Oak
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 data.

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

Sag-Branch Tulip
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 after dark.

Summary Stats
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 included.

                Middleton Oak Sag-Branch Tulip
Height              67.4             167.7
DBH                 10.44              7.08
Crown Spread    118                101

Wood Volume (cubic feet):
Main Trunk          970             2,430
Branches           3,850            1,560
Total                4,820            3,990

Linear path length of wood over 1.5 inches (ft) 
                       2,730            2,360

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

We have our work cut out for us!!!

Middleton Oak Photographs   greentreedoctor
  Feb 22, 2004 07:00 PST 

I would not dare steal any of Will's thunder. So I'll leave any reporting to Will & Bob.   The attached image titled "Bob" is nonetheless BVP up in the Middleton doing what he loves best (he spent the whole day up there without facilities).   My second post (following this one) includes the attached image titled "Will" is our President photographing an American alligator within just a few feet!   BTW, Bob, the American Forests N.C. rep spent the weekend with us!


Photographs from the Project are in the Eastern Tree Galleries

Middleton Oak Project

Re: Middleton Oak, Sag-Branch Tulip   greentreedoctor
  Feb 29, 2004 07:00 PST 

Sweet! Your numbers have cleared our antiquated clocks! Though my unlearned, fanciful guess-timates once went as high as 4,000 ft3, even I would not have imagined your preliminary estimate closer to 5,000 ft3 (when you add the flares, will the Middleton exceed even this?).   Upon hitting the ground, I do remember the climbers remarking that the Middleton was a really big tree. If you remember your initial stab of 3,000 ft3 was quickly reduced Saturday evening.   Who would have known?   With the relatively small crown, it is unlikely that the Senator, with a stem volume of 3,800 ft3, will overtake the Middleton.   It may be as you say, in that, it will take another live oak to overcome the Middleton. Maybe not. The Wye Oak, the national champion white oak that recently failed, was weighted and estimated at about 5,000 ft3. Though all debris was weighted, to likely include smaller branches, leaves, concrete (from extensive cavity fills) and metal hardware (from about a mile of cabling).   I guess we should be amazed, in the wake of centuries of hurricanes, that all of that crown volume has been suspended by such a relatively small, "stubby" trunk.   Maybe the early builders of warships knew what they were doing by choosing live oak.


P.S. I'm sorry I missed the Sag Branch climb (a truly great tree!). Please let me know if you're check is waiting for you and when you receive my CD.
RE: Middleton Oak, Sag-Branch Tulip   Robert Leverett
  Mar 01, 2004 07:06 PST 


   Congratulations. The 4,880 and 3,990 cubic feet volumes for the
Middleton Oak and Sag Branch Tuliptree, change our notions of not only
what are the most voluminous species in the East, but also the limits to
the distribution of volume between trunk and limbs for various eastern
species. I would imagine that Randy Cyr and Will Fell are pretty pleased
with the results. A species that they have always known to be
exceptional has been proven conclusively to be exceptional. man, do we
have some great material for the update of "Stalking The Forest
Monarchs", or don't we?

   We are indebted to all of you for completing this mission. I would
imagine that it will open many doors for future missions of similar
nature. I think I speak for all ENTS members when I say, thanks to you

RE: Middleton Oak, Sag-Branch Tulip   Willard Fell
  Mar 01, 2004 07:26 PST 

Hey guys...

I'm not surprised at the volumes relative to others, but am amazed that
all the convoluted branches can be measured to arrive at these figures.
The group had their hands full measuring and computing these compared to
the relatively straight boles of the white pines.

Still there is something special about those majestic yellow poplars and
white pines tugging at the clouds regardless of overall volume.

Re: Middleton Oak, Sag-Branch Tulip   greentreedoctor
  Mar 01, 2004 17:01 PST 
Will & ENTS:

You might not have been surprised, but many of us were taken aback.   We probably would have never bothered the Middleton Oak if previous estimates were not so low and BVP had not entered the fray.   I suspect that most members are outside of live oak country and have fonder memories of trees in their own backyards.   I was as much a proponent of us adapting the white pine in our logo as anyone. By as we all soon learned, some members were outside of the much broader range of the white pine.   Every species has it's place.   One member made a good pitch for black spruce.   I couldn't disagree. How can we as tree people have just one favorite tree?   

As you get farther away from the beach, and into tighter natural stands, live oak can achieve a decent trunk and height.   It may be only an arborist that can fully appreciate a live oak's unique ability to withstand both storms and construction.   Even non-tree people can easily fall in love with moss-draped live oaks.   I would recommend to anyone a visit to Savannah after dark.   A drive down Bull Ave, with it's many parks, a walk along the waterfront or through Bonaventure Cemetery, can definitely get in one's blood. Just down the road, Wormslow Historic District has a mile-long live oak alley. I also liked Jekyl Island. I make it a point to attend all tree-related meetings in Charleston & Savannah.   Though we haven't considered it, I for one would like to know the Country's tallest live oak.   My next pet peeve may be dating live oaks.      

BTW, Bob, I would not set the bar with the Middleton.   There may well be larger trees out there.   At least we have a standard.

RE: Middleton Oak, Sag-Branch Tulip   Robert Leverett
  Mar 02, 2004 06:12 PST 


   The data that Bob collected shows a remarkable gradient for the
proportion of wood tied up in limbs when going from conifers to
hardwoods and then within hardwoods through the species that are
forest-grown to those that are open grown. Those of us who have been
conditioned to the importance of the trunk as the dominant source of the
woody material of the tree, can now peer through the fog and see what
was there all along - at least for some percentage of the big spreaders.
Long live the limbs.

    Hey, how many more super secrets are you all hiding down there? Yes,
I know, they've never been secrets. They've been clearly visible all
along in their arboreal splendor.

    We humans see through lenses and shape our reality accordingly.
Political and religious lenses shape so many of our perceptions. We want
the natural features of an area of the country to be perceived through
one of these lenses. I have met many avid hikers who are amazed when I
tell them that the southern Appalachians have all but one of the
6,000-foot peaks in the East. A total of 41 named peaks have been
accepted by hiking and mountain climbing clubs into the 6,000-foot club.

    At 6,288 feet, there was a time when Mount Washington in New
Hampshire was thought to be the highest peak in the East. It came as a
rude shock to folks up here when it fell far down the list, with Mount
Mitchell being number one at 6,684 feet. Somebody forgot to tell the
mountains about politics. Oh well. And now the trees are getting

    Where is the most voluminous hardwood in the East? Well, as of now,
we must proclaim the Middleton Oak of South Carolina as the champ.

    Is it time for ENTS to go on a serious search for competitors.


Re: Middleton Oak, Sag-Branch Tulip   greentreedoctor
  Mar 02, 2004 06:22 PST 
Where is the most voluminous hardwood in the East?

Unless and until the Senator's declining crown is able to make up the difference, the Middleton may be (temporarily) the most voluminous "tree" in the East.   But I suspect there are others of greater volume.