National Geographic : 1964 Jul
simply could not: According to the Abney lev el, this was easily the world's tallest known tree-about 370 feet! My misgivings increased when I drew a tape around the massive trunk. Four and a half feet above the ground, where circum ference is measured, the tape showed 44 feet -and several trees in this very grove had a greater girth (pages 10-11). I stepped back and sighted straight up the trunk. It was a strange-looking tree. About 14 feet above ground, the trunk divided into two spires, one rising perhaps 250 feet, the other soaring far higher. For symmetrical beauty, this tree was not queen of the forest, yet this specimen-for reasons known only 40 Planting time: Helicopter pilot Robert Griffith whirls above redwoods en route to his low-flying job of broadcasting redwood, Douglas fir, and spruce seeds over a lumber company's tree farm. Douglas fir seeds, treated with rodent repellent, will drop onto logged redwood lands that require a quick cover to hold the soil. Redwoods grow more slowly, but the two thrive in mixed groves. Copter swoops across a logged-out tract seed ed three years previously. Many seedlings and sprouts have already reached five to six feet and in another five years will blanket the slope. to nature-had shot up through the woods and left its thicker, sleeker brothers far behind. Why had no one bothered to measure it before? It had been accessible only to loggers and timber cruisers, men more interested in the board-foot content than in records of height. Furthermore, any logger or early trap per could only have noticed this tree's tower ing nature from the high, opposite hillside. I took other readings. Each came close to the same 370 feet. True, my level could give only approximate height; and possibly the creek water had affected my measuring twine. But even allowing for a wide margin of error, I was convinced that this redwood must be a contender for the title of the tallest tree.