Wash Morgan Hollow, TN    Jess Riddle
   Nov 21, 2005 07:21 PST 


Wash Morgan Hollow drains into the Roaring River in north-central
Tennessee. The 73 acre Nature Conservancy property lies along a
narrow, straight, north facing cleft within a large limestone ridge.
The small stream flowing down the ravine, which enters the area over a
waterfall, has dissolved the adjacent limestone so that a series of
small, overhanging rock shelves line the stream. Waterleaf grows on
the slopes above the shelves, and allegheny spurge (Pachysandra
procumbens) also remained in the late fall herbaceous layer. The
shrub layer is patchier with spicebush, bladdernut (Staphylea
trifolia), river cane, and paw paw occurring in clumps on the lower
slopes. The overstory is more mixed, and shows greater differences
between the east and west-facing slopes, the east-facing appearing
moister. Tuliptree, white basswood, green ash, slippery elm, shagbark
hickory, sugar maple, and beech were the most common canopy species.
Sycamore, honey locust, eastern red cedar, and boxelder grow at the
downstream end of the site; boxelder forms nearly pure stands along
adjacent sections of the Roaring River and frequently reaches six to
seven feet cbh. Dogwood grows frequently on the east side, and
umbrella magnolia grows scattered on the west side.
http://www.state.tn.us/environment/nh/natareas/washmorg/ provides more
information on the site; however, note that the sycamores are not
large, the dominant ash are green rather than white, red maple does
not occur on the lower slopes, and a few butternuts (white walnut)
endure along the stream.

Species Cbh Height
Ash, Blue 4'5" 95.7'
Ash, Blue 5'9" ~101'
Ash, Blue 3'10" 102.6'
Ash, Blue 3'4" 111.2'
Boxelder 4'5" 71.2'
Eastern Redcedar 4'0" 88.3'
Eastern Redcedar 5'8" 89.8'
Honeylocust NA 88.1'
Honeylocust NA 98.8'
Magnolia, Umbrella 2'10" 66.5'
Oak, Chinquapin 4'7" 102.2'
Oak, Chinquapin 6'10" 108.9' (113?)
Oak, Shumard 9'10.5"          ~116'
Tuliptree NA 128.8'
Walnut, White 5'0.5" 87.3'

The blue ashes are new ENTS height records although ENTS has measured
the species at only one other site. The boxelder grows along the
roaring river, and several slightly taller individuals also grow in
the area. The cedars are also new height records, and one other
individual at the site exceeds 80'. The thinner cedar grows on the
east-facing slope, and competition with sugar maples has forced the
tree to grow tall. All other cedars on that moist slope have died,
many recently. Several cedars remain in the shorter canopy on the
drier west-facing slope. The larger cedar grows at the foot of the
west-facing slope, so it can effectively compete with the shorter
trees upslope. The honeylocust is a new state height record. The
umbrella magnolia edges out a tree on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville
for the title of tallest measured by ENTS. Shooting vertically on the
chinquapin oak gave approximately 113', so the highest twig was likely
missed on the other measurements. The shumard oak was the largest
tree seen in the area, and grows well up the east-facing slope. The
approximately 75-year-old tuliptrees still have potential for
considerable height gain, but have not matched the performance of the
species at many other sites.

Jess Riddle