What a beautiful first day of December it was as a team of Hillsborough County Big Tree measurers: Carol Mamczak, Temple, Susan Strickler, Manchester (new NRS graduate), Mike Callaghan, Belmont, County Forester Mike Gagnon, and NH Big Tree Program Coordinator Mary Tebo Davis met in a Manchester neighborhood to measure a newly nominated silver maple. The homeowner, Ron P., enthusiastically joined in measuring the big old maple that he loves so much, which hangs over the whole neighborhood! Needless to say, to measure it we had to knock on doors and haul the tape measure over fences to get all the measurements we needed. It was worth it as the tree came out four points ahead of the current County champ! This put the new silver maple in a virtual tie with another Manchester champ, giving us Hillsborough County co-champions! Another exciting fact is that both of those Manchester trees and another in Sullivan County are all within 10 points of our national champion in Coos County. So truly NH has a number of the largest silver maples in the whole country!
Our second stop emphasized how varied the landscape is in Hillsborough County as we hiked through the forests on Mt. Uncanoonnuc in Goffstown to find an eastern hemlock. From the sidewalks and roofs tops in Manchester to slightly steep and icy trail, next to a very well done timber harvest, we almost gave up as all the hemlocks we were finding seemed a bit small, but then Mike Callaghan found the big one right along the trail! It was definitely bigger than the others with a 9’+ circumference. A great old tree, though it has a broken top. We took the measurements but have decided not to submit them into the database yet as the team figures that there may be bigger ones in Sheldrick Forest in Wilton.
The afternoon sun made our last stop very comfortable as we walked across one of the large mowed fields at Joppa Hill Farm in Bedford. Mike Gagnon introduced us to an old craggy red maple that he had found a number of years ago. Although the tree has seen better days, even after losing a tree-sized branch it still beat out all the other red maples in NH to become the new state champion!
If you would like to join in the fun hunting and measuring the biggest trees of each species in the state, contact Mary Tebo Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org who will put you in touch with your local county Big Tree Measuring Team.