Live Oak Tour-2010
Sep 19, 2010Public
Photo: Having already struck out on finding three old nominees in the Waco area, we headed north to Clifton in search of our state #2 Texas live oak (Quercus fusiformis) , which hadn't been seen or measured since 1971! This old skull points the way...
Photo: ...through an old livestock boneyard. This scene reminded me of the old Humpty-Dumpty nursery rhyme. The parts were all there, but it would take a CSI team to put them back together!
Photo: This tree remains the #2 Texas live oak on our list... at least for the moment.
Photo: Our next stop took us to Granbury to meet Courtney Blevins (TFS-Fort Worth) and big tree nominator, Gregg Lee. Here is their restored county courthouse on the square downtown.
Photo: Gregg Lee and his nominee for state and national champion Texas live oak. We differentiate the two species of live oak based on geography: trees in the coastal plain are Q. virginiana, while those north and west of the Balcones Escarpment we consider Q. fusiformis.
Photo: We made lots of measurements, but by following the rules of the program, the narrowest measurement below the lowest "fork" is shown here.
Photo: You can see that the tape is both below the "fork" and above the ground line. Physiologically it is a single specimen, but for measurement purposes, is it "one tree?" Hmmm....
Photo: After that brain-teaser, it was nice to go to Benbrook and measure this state #2 bur oak -- a tree without controversy!
Photo: Courtney and his bur oak.... Actually, his two sons are listed as the nominators for this tree...
Photo: ...as well as this gum bully (formerly known as gum bumelia) (Sideroxylon lanuginosum -- formerly known as Bumelia lanuginosa). This is our state co-champ and current national champ!
Photo: Our last tree for the day: this honey mesquite tree (Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa) located at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth's museum district.
Photo: This tree hadn't been measured in a few years and had lost a major limb during a storm.
Photo: The next morning Pete and I struck out on our own to northeast Tarrant County. This boxelder (Acer negundo) in Grapevine is #4 on our state list and is very difficult to measure because of its lean over the creek.
Photo: This long-lost green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) is #3 on our list and hadn't been measured since 1981. Storms over the intervening period had withered its crown spread and height...
Photo: ...but it had grown 14 inches in circumference!
Photo: The tree also has a great view of the 5th hole on the Pecan course at the Grapevine city golf course. I found six golf balls while taking its measurements.
Photo: Next stop: the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens to meet up with Master Gardener and Citizen Forester, Marilyn Sallee, shown here next to the state champion green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis).
Photo: Our view of the hawthorn for taking its height measurement (32 feet).
Photo: Nearby, the state champion common jujube -- which has one of my favorite Latin names: Ziziphus zizyphus.
Photo: We used several tools to measure this height: clinometer (43 and 46 feet), laser rangefinder (45 feet), the "pencil" method (45 feet), and one of Marilyn's specialties....
Photo: This photographic technique "stacks" a person standing next to it to estimate height. At 5' 10" tall, an estimated 7.8 "Pete's" amounts to 45.5 feet for this jujube.... Not bad!
Photo: This national and state champion Mexican-buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa) is a mess. Only the largest of these stems should be measured, which lowered the tree index quite a bit from the earlier measurement.
Photo: Late in the afternoon we stopped by to remeasure our state and national champion Texas oak or Texas red oak (Quercus buckleyi).
Photo: This tree was planted as three trees in the late 1930's or early 1940's by the homeowner, which later grew together into one giant tree. Incredible growth!