Once again, it is sunny, a little warmer than last week (making it to 80 degrees), with cool nights. That would be great except that it is still dry. We have had only about 7 inches of rain all year. It’s saddens me to see the leaves wilt rather than turn their beautiful fall colors.
Last week, I participated in a “Big Tree” training session conducted by Jeff Kirwan, extension forester, and head of the Virginia Big Tree Program. Also attending was a master naturalist from another county and a forester from
We found the spruce quickly and set about measuring the circumference (82”) and crown spread (28’) with a measuring tape. We then walked 100 feet from the tree to calculate the height (84’) with a cool instrument called a clinometer.
We used the following formula to determine the tree's total points:
Trunk Circumference + Height + ¼ Average Crown Spread = Total Points
The blue spruce (Picea pungens) comes in at 173 points—a state champion! My photo was used on the Big Tree’s website: http://www.cnr.vt.edu/4h/bigtree/
Perhaps because I am listed as the contact person, I feel a strong connection to this tree. I know it’s not native and it’s not really that pretty (especially with the brown foliage in front which was sprayed with herbicide by the highway department). Nonetheless, I feel responsible and hope that the landowners and
After our blue spruce finding, we hiked the Cascades trail. I bailed out before Jeff and Keith found the other 2 trees on our list. On the hike back, I spotted a bird that was new to me, a Blackburnian Warbler.
Gypsy moth egg masses were on almost every oak tree. I am still hoping our woods (only about 5 miles away) will escape the relentless assault of these alien insects brought here by a well-meaning American entomologist over a century ago.