The Big Tree Measurements

Big Hemlock Tree
(note the person at the base of the tree)

Today Jonathan, Kitty LaBounty and I went up to measure the large Western Hemlock tree. None of us has much experience measuring big trees according to the guidelines in the National Register of Big Trees, but we did the best we can. We used a 100 feet metal tape measure and a clinometer. I tried to be conservative with our approach and this is what we came up with:

325 inches in circumference (probably measured 5-8 feet off the ground; it’s difficult to determine what constitutes the ground height when the moss grows up around the base of the tree)
170 feet tall (we did our best to sight on the top of the tree, though in the forest it can be a little difficult to get a great look)
96 feet widest spread, 70 feet spread ninety degrees off widest spread

If all the information is reasonably accurate, it gives the tree a point total of 515.
This is easily a state record (currently the listed record has a point total of 389) and actually is much closer to the national record (549 total points) than I would have guessed. It’s possible that if our measurements were actually correctly done and conservative (as I intended), the tree could come close to challenging the Olympic Penninsula trees that have had the record. This was a little bit of a surprise to me. So much so, that it causes me to doubt our measurements a little bit.

2 thoughts on “The Big Tree Measurements”

  1. This is a magnificent tree! For measuring the DBH you need to measure it 48 inches from whatever the descernable ground is. Wherever the trunk exits the duff/soil (moss on the trunk doesn’t matter) measure at 48″ up from there. Then divide by 3.14 and that gives your DBH. If you measured right off the ground then your measurements are skewed a little large (especially with all the buttressing). Remeasure and let me know what you come up with.

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