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Big Trees of Pennsylvania

Big Trees of Pennsylvania

Meet the Tioga County Big Trees contenders

 

by Melissa Bravo - October 26, 2015

When was the last time you stood under the bows of an ancient oak? Felt humbled beneath the spread of a centuries old elm? Starred at the starry sky through the branches of a stately white pine? Stood in awe at the knees of a gnarled and venerable beech? Laid eyes upon an ash thought to be the 4th largest of its kind? Or gazed in wonderment upon the red maple a farmer left behind when he cleared his land of the old growth forest that stood in his way?

The Big Trees of Pennsylvania publication, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, showcases some of the oldest, tallest, and widest trees in our state. Even some that have survived since 1743 when John Bartram, a self-taught botanist and one of the founding fathers of natural science here in the United States, traveling up the Susquehanna River and found forest’s so thick the sun’s rays did not reach the ground. Remember, by the 1850’s the forests of PA had been cleared for farming and to furnish the charcoal furnaces of the industrial revolution. Railroads gobbled up millions of board feet of lumber as they laid track across the continent. Later on, the paper mills soon scalped the land of even the most undesirable of species.

In Tioga County, few big trees were spared. Today, the Tioga County Woodland Owner’s and members of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association seek out grand old specimens to record their prosperity and ginormous size before they too are gone.

To date, less than a dozen trees have been measured up as contenders from Tioga County. To be a Big Tree Contender the cumulative score of the height (feet); diameter converted to circumference (inches) and spread (width of the canopy in feet) are tallied. Sycamores are some of the largest trees in our state with champions measuring 8 to 9 feet at breast height. The biggest single stem Sycamore in the contest has a score of 469 points!
Do you think yours is bigger? So far, no one has nominated a Sycamore from Tioga County yet.

Here are just of the few trees that are ranked by points in the Big Trees of PA Contest; a notation on its most impressive feature; and my two cent’s worth on its importance to Tioga County.

1. Lawrenceville Bur Oak: Points: 362; Diameter: 72.5 inches.
My two cents: Thanks to the efforts of the USACE and Boro of Lawrenceville this tree is in remarkable shape! Park at the Boro Sewer Plant and take a walk east to enjoy the magnificence of this stately tree.
Bur Oak Lawrenceville (1)

2. Blossburg White Ash: Points: 354; Diameter: 71.7 inches.
My two cents: At a height of 107 feet, a canopy spread of 84.5 feet, and a diameter of 5.9 feet (71.7 inches) this tree scored a total of 354 points – ranking it a candidate for 4th place in the registry! But it’s going to need some TLC to stick around. A limb came off the tree just this past year and fell into the river, and there is the constant threat of Emerald Ash Borer. Time is of the essence! Please call if you can help with funding or donate services. Contact the author for more information.
Blossburg White Ash (2)

3. Wellsboro Elm I: Points: 313; Estimated Age: 237 years.
My two cents: The massive elm behind Osram-Sylvania and the former Borden’s Milk Plant is just a board length (8 ft.) from being the tallest Elm (105 feet) in Pennsylvania. It’s surrounded by brambles so visiting it is difficult. Wouldn’t it be great if we could give this tree some TLC and turn the ground beneath its feet into a designated tourist attraction?
Wellsboro Elm I (3)

4. Wellsboro Elm II: Points: 303; Estimated Age: 240 years.
My two cents: This tree on Main Street in front of the old jail has been lovingly cared for by those who appreciate its stature and historical significance. Cabled in 2014 by Dincher and Dincher tree surgeons, it appears to be doing well.
Wellsboro Elm II (4)

5. Tioga White Oak: Points: 304; Estimated Age: 200 years.
My two cents: The Evergreen Cemetery Association needs your help to save this massive oak tree that recently developed a split. As it stands now, it measured 84 feet tall and over five feet in diameter (61.9 inches). If you have any connection to this cemetery please consider donating materials, time, or money so that the association can hire a certified arborist to cable the tree before winter! Contact the author ASAP for more information.
Tioga White Oak (5)

6. Tioga Purple Beech: Points: 304; Estimated Age: 150+ years.
My two cents: This European beech (variety purpurea) found along Main Street is in fine health and if not for the building adjacent too it, it could easily have grown wider. Some of its fellow species in Europe obtain girths of over 121 inches wide! You just don’t see healthy beech tree’s anymore. As it stands now, it is approximately 81 feet tall and also over 5 feet in diameter (66.7 inches).
Tioga Purple Beech (6)

7. Morris Red Maple: Points: 295; Estimated Age: 180+ years.
My two cents: This tree’s magnificent spread has drawn photographers from as far away as New York City to admire and record its beauty over the seasons. Please thank the Kreger Dairy Farm for having the foresight to keep this tree around. It’s tied for 2nd place as the largest red maple tree in the state with a diameter of 5 feet (61.1 inches) and a canopy spread of 88 feet.
Big Trees of Tioga County (7)

8. Your tree, your back yard. Have another species you think is one of the biggest in Tioga County?
Come join the Tioga County Woodland Owner’s Association. We annually measure trees for the Big Trees of Pennsylvania contest and are looking for specimens of all kinds including sycamore, cottonwood, box elder, hemlock, white pine, and birch to name just a few. For more information call (570)-418-1499.
A Big Tree of Tioga County (8)

~
Melissa Bravo of Meadow Lake Farm Consulting Services is a certified crop advisor, livestock, and land management consultant and free-lance agriculture writer. Melissa lives and farms in Tioga County. She can be reached at (814)-574-4067.

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Produced by Vogt Media

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