tulips in Sumter NF
08, 2003 19:40 PST
Today I had planned to measure all of the canopy dominant trees
relatively small, east-facing cove near Tamassee Knob in the
corner of SC that I first visited a couple of years ago. When I
the cove, I realized far more 140'+ tuliptrees grow in the cove
than I had
remembered, and I did not have enough energy to start such an
today. I also noticed that the trees are not uniformly tall, and
canopy includes scattered, storm battered trees only around 110'
decided to focus on locating and measuring those 150' tuliptrees
had missed on my first trip through the area. My first visit
have gotten more of the tallest trees than I had expected, but
still had several interesting surprises. I remembered seeing
choked with Vitis spp. vines, but I did not realize the extent
vines are abundant throughout the cove. The vines include Vitis
to 15" cbh, 21" in adjacent cove), greenbriers, other
poison ivy, and virginia creeper (up to 13" cbh), and the
both climbing trees and in canopy gaps. I also overlooked the
slippery elms scattered throughout the cove on my first visit.
pine is also more widespread in the cove than I recollected, and
to measure the tallest looking one that vines obscured on the
I also took time to visit both of the adjacent coves. I had not
the one to the south, which has a partial north aspect, but it
to be considerably drier and younger than the outer cove. Most
this cove appeared roughly 70 years old as do the trees on the
facing slope of the main cove I looked at. Most of the larger
the central cove look to be in the 100 to 125 year age class,
and a few
smaller diameter stumps from the past few decades are scattered
them. The cove adjacent on the other side has a similar age
is home to the tallest confirmed tuliptree in the state. Today I
primarily looked at the areas of the cove not in the immediate
the tallest tree, which is a younger but better sheltered area.
On my way out of that cove, I confirmed that my eyes are still
finely attuned to judging height. I finally measured a large
that I have often admired from the trail on top of the ridge.
has always caught my attention with both its diameter and its
The tree has a generally candelabra like form. The several main
reach upward at about a 45 degree angle from the trunk then tern
vertical, but still angle outward slightly. The central part of
follows the same pattern, but is generally more vertical.
the upper part of the crown is composed of dozens of two to six
diameter, fairly uniform, more or less vertical branches. Given
broad crown, I assumed the tree was about twelve feet cbh by one
thirty-something feet tall making it one of the larger trees in
Wrong. When I finally went up to the base of the tree, the
turned out to be 14'3", only slightly inflated by root
bulge on the steep
slope. Shooting vertically with the rangefinder also but the
well over 150'. Shooting from a distance and using a clinometer
156.8'. This measurement is probably to one of several branches
approximately equal height. A slightly higher top is likely
farther back in the crown. The uniformity of the crown and the
not suggest that this tree is unusually old for the area. This
be genetically predisposed towards rapid growth and been lucky
so far. The size and structure of the crown may allow for
height growth and continued rapid radial growth; until a major
this moderately sheltered tree. The steep slope and huge sail
area of the
crown hurt the tree long term chances.
Species Cbh Height comments
Oak, White 6'7" 129.1' In drier cove
Pine, Shortleaf 6'11" 128.4'
Pine, Shortleaf 6'4" 134.9'
Pine, Shortleaf 6'1" 139.96' Persistence paid off
Sweetgum 4'5" 141.4' 100:1 H:D
Tuliptree 10'2" 132.7' Warming up equipment
Tuliptree NA 142.6' Drier Cove
Tuliptree 8'2.5" 144.1'
Tuliptree 7'0" 150.1' Younger area
Tuliptree 9'6" 150.5'
Tuliptree 9'5" 151.8'
Tuliptree 14'3" 156.8' See above description
Tuliptree 8'7" 159.0'
Tuliptree Twin 160.5'
Tuliptree 8'10" 162.5'
Walnut, Black 9'0" 131.8'
Three separate coves at Tamassee Knob are now known to support
shortleaf pines. The 139.96' tree now moves into a tie with one
last cove that I visited today that I have measured from 139.4'
The sweetgum grows near the tallest tuliptree; unfortunately,
sweetgums in the cove are under two inches dbh. The surrounding
tuliptrees are really forcing this tree to grow vertically.
is probably only about 20' and epicormic branches cover the
trunk down to
about eight feet.
The tuliptree tally for the Tamassee Knob coves is up to 22 over
The two new 160' trees are particularly satisfying. When the
packed acre around the current state record tuliptree is
should have several more 150' tulips and potentially a couple of
trees. The real hope for that area is that the current record
grown past 170' over that past two years.
The big black walnut was a surprise to me. I've seen three other
in the area over 120', but all of them are 4'11" cbh plus
or minus one
inch. This walnut is probably the most massive forest grown
the species I have seen.
Tall tulips in Sumter NF
08, 2003 20:12 PST
Re "virginia creeper (up to 13" cbh)"...what's
the ENTS database upper
Tall tulips in Sumter NF (Virginia Creeper)
09, 2003 04:29 PST
Most of the larger virginia creepers I've seen have been in
Congaree Swamp NM has them up to at least 14" cbh. I'm not
others have found for the species. I don't think we as a group
focused on virginia creeper much at all.