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Worlds tallest planted tree discovered near Tzaneen

The world’s tallest planted tree, which grows in the Woodbush State Forest in Magoebaskloof, lost its title to a contender a mere few meters away, after an international team of arborists measured the new giant tree on Saturday.

31 January 2013 | By Michael Smit

Current rating: 5 from 1 votes.

Looklocal Tzaneen accompanied the team of arborists exclusively, to measure a number of giant trees in the area.

The stand of Eucalyptus Saligna(gum trees) planted in 1906, is famed for the Magoebaskloof Trio, three giant trees, the tallest of which Stellenbosch based tree climbing enthusiast Leon Visser measured at 80m tall in 2011.

The trio consists of the Twin Giants of Magoebaskloof, the two tallest trees in Africa, who moved down in order of importance after Vissers' discovery of the tallest planted tree in the word, which he himself dethroned over the weekend.

The trees' nearby sibling and new rival towers more than a meter above them, and measures in at 81,5 m which means it now takes the title of tallest planted tree in the world under the Champion Tree Project, awaiting approval  from the  the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The measuring of both the new record holder and the now runner up, was part of an expedition by an enthusiastic team of international arborists, who along with Visser scaled about 20 of the largest and oldest trees in South Africa, all listed under the Champion Tree Project of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries(DAFF).

On Saturday, arborist Leon Visser, who measured the Tallest Planted Tree in the World in 2011, measured the new tallest planted tree a mere few meters away. The new giant is on the left of the picture above, with the previous tallest tree to the right.

Visser has worked with the Department in determining the height of very tall 'Champion Trees' that cannot be reliably established with instruments and along with the Explore the Ancient Trees of Africa team, scaled the new 'champion' tree shortly after climbing the original tallest tree. 

The tree which Visser measured in 2011 at 80m, was measured at 80,3m on Saturday.
According to Visser, who held the measuring tape at the new champion tree, the team has decided it would be apt to refer to the now four giant trees in the 1906 stand as the Magoebaskloof Explore Four, also awaiting approval from DAFF. The team also suggested 'The Fourth Kin' as the name for the newly discovered giant. The name 'Magoebaskloof Giants' to refer to the entire stand, could also be used.

The team of arborists are Geoff Pugsley from the UK, Drew Bristow of New Zealand, David Wiles from the UK, Stephen Fry of the United Kingdom, Vincent Jolin of Canada and Leon Visser.

VIDEO ABOVE: Explore the Ancient Trees of Africa team arrives at tallest planted tree in the world

The experienced team scaled champion baobab trees in the area, including the Sagole baobab, the world largest and the Sunland Baobab, and also slept in hammocks in the trees, usually at dizzy heights.

The Matumi triad of trees at Amorentia Estate, known as the Three Queens were also visited by the team, and two of the trees were climbed and measured.

Said Visser of his record breaking climb, 'The tree next to me was just too tempting to not get into.'

He traversed from the then tallest tree over to its neighbour. ‘I needed to call up a pole and even the pole was too short for me to push it to the top of the tree so I had to climb higher up, I radioed the height down to the rest of the team. It was great to get the measurement, we actually expected that the tree might be higher,' Visser commented.

Now that the new giant has been measured, there is sure to be a lot of interest around the tree and those interested in our Champion Trees will find it well worth their while to visit the new specimen  before an even taller trees is discovered. 

'There is still the possibility that there may be  even taller trees in that stand,' Visser said.

You might also be interested in:

Explorers measure local champion trees

New African baobab species discovered by Australian

Oldest living tree in SA found


Worlds tallest planted tree discovered near Tzaneen: GALLERY 1

Worlds tallest planted tree discovered near Tzaneen - GALLERY 2

VIDEO BELOW: Drew Bristow, arborist from New Zealand, ascends the second tallest planted tree in the world with an ActSafe Power ascender. Due to a spider-bite on his leg which caused massive inflammation, Bristow could not scale the tree in the traditional way.

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