Friday, September 10, 2021

Just how tall ARE those trees


Many of us have a favorite patch of woods and sometimes we wonder, "How tall are those trees?"

Believe it or not, there is a website that approximates the canopy height* on a 30m square grid (approximately 100 feet on a side).

The site is interactive. You can move around. You can click on a 30m-by-30m "tile" and it will tell you the data in the lower, right corner of the screen. In this case, I clicked on a tile to the west of the kidney-bean shaped opening and it was 33m tall.

In Michigan, anything over 25 meters is a very respectable height and those trees are usually found in places that are inaccessible to timbering. Places like insides of ox-bows of rivers, for instance.

In the Appalachian Mountains, timbering is restricted by slope and canopy of 30 meters and higher are not rare. 

What we can deduce is that for much of the US east of the Mississippi, tree height is limited by age just like the racks on bucks. It seems likely that many/most parts of the eastern US could achieve 100-to-150 feet tall Cottonwood, Tulip Poplar, oak, pine and other species if they were left alone for two or three hundred years.

This screenshot shows the two townships north of the City of Eaton Rapids.

In my little corner of heaven, the canopy of a serious woodlot will run 45-to-60 feet tall. On my property, I have three "tiles" that read out as 17 meters which is about 55 feet. Those trees are Northern Red Oak and they were planted as seedlings in 1993. Unlike other woodlots, they had minimal competition from other trees so they added height and girth rapidly.

Navigation will be easier if you turn off the height layers (along the top of the page) while you navigate and then turn them back on after you get to where you are going.

*A tip of the fedora to Lucas Machias for calling this website to my attention.


  1. Very cool stuff. The red oaks in my neck of the woods appear to be 70-75 feet tall. If oak wilt ever takes hold around here, the value of my property will drop like a rock.

  2. That with some Houthi drone tech and.....

  3. This is a beginning. Tech is rapidly coming where every tree species, its status, its characteristics, its health, etc will be sensed remotely worldwide. Roughly 3 trillion trees, if I remember right.


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