Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Bigness Index

 There was a fascinating article in this week's Arkansas Democrat Gazette about the many "Champion Trees" that abound in Arkansas. They posted a picture of a black walnut tree that's an impressive 93
feet tall and 191 inches in circumference. Julius Russell, who is now 89 used to spend all winter long shelling the walnuts that dropped from that tree, sharing with friends and family. Their farm near Bentonville also is home to the state's largest slippery elm tree, 75 feet tall and 14'1" in circumference.

 The Arkansas Forestry Commission uses a "Bigness Index" to determine the largest trees. Reports come into the office and the Forestry Service follows through to check on the size. Washington county alone has 4 of the largest trees in the state. It's really amazing that these trees have survived, considering the extremes in weather that we have here. Winters can be as cold as -20 and summers... well last year we got up to the 120 degree range in some parts of the state. Add ice storms, tornadoes and floods and it's a miracle they make it just a few years.

 The trees here on Granny Mountain are big, just not that big. But we're guessing they are in the neighborhood of 80+ years old. This old oak has all but swallowed up the barbed wire that once wrapped around it to mark the owners' land. Fence row trees, Grandpa called them. He did it too on his property some 100 miles from here.

 You'd think it would strangle the tree, but instead the mighty oak overcame the barrier growing taller and getting  bigger with each year.

This oak that borders our driveway measures 103" in circumference and is close to 100 foot tall, but that's not a record!

The largest tree in Arkansas, in fact the largest tree in 40 of the 50 states is in the
White River National Refuge at St. Charles, Arkansas. A Bald Cypress, it is an amazing 120 feet tall and 516 inches in circumference. The Forestry Service estimates it's age 1000+ years old. Pretty amazing, don't you think?

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info about the trees. I hope to one day see the tree in St.Charles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to see it too. They said on the video that you can hike to it in dry parts of the year. That probably would be easier than the canoe trip they made.

      Delete
  2. Yes, it is pretty amazing! I wonder if they ever stop growing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our trees are pretty old and there is new growth each year. The ice storm we had in 2009 only took down one large limb, amazing really.

      Delete
  3. It is amazing that those old granddad trees have survived from generation to generation. My dad planted trees on the homestead when they first built there. When he was 93, he was a little upset because he was outliving some of the trees he planted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's funny! The trees around my Grandparents fields were Osage Apples, a scrubby tree. You wouldn't think they would still be there, but they are and they don't look any better now than when I was a kid!

      Delete
  4. I have a special love for trees. The stories they could tell, would fill a library.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always think that too. The trees on our property were probably planted in the 1920's or 30's, before the Depression. If they could talk...

      Delete
  5. love these glorious old ones! love the shot of the wire thru the tree, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wasn't that something that the tree just gobbled it up?!

      Delete
  6. Can you even imagine all the things that tree has seen! Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was thinking the same thing as Ms. A! I cannot imagine all of the history these old trees have witnessed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 20's and 30's in Arkansas were rough times. The Depression and then the Dust Bowl took what little people had left. Many left for better pay in other states. In fact most of my family did just that, moving to California. My Grandparents stayed and farmed the land.

      Delete
  8. WOW! Those trees have some history and their just their size alone is worth all the tales they hold...:)JP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised at how many record size trees Arkanasas has. We have some pretty serious weather here all year long!

      Delete
  9. What a cool post! I absolutely adore trees. They are a huge part of my love of life. My Mom and I share this trait.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Victoria! As much as I love the shade of the trees in summer, they are beautiful "bare" when you can really see the size and height!

      Delete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Granny Mountain