Around the Towns: Lyndeborough – Hudson – Merrimack

A tree grows in Lyndeborough – a BIG tree

What does it take to grow the biggest sugar maple in Hillsborough County? A couple hundred years and enough luck not to be struck by lightning, cut down for firewood or destroyed to make room for a development.

“We let nature do its thing,” said Jessie Salisbury, the proud owner of the county’s biggest sugar maple, according the New Hampshire Register of Big Trees.

The champion tree has graced the back yard of her circa-1850 farmhouse for more than 200 years. The tree is 76 feet at its highest point and the average crown spread is 71 feet. The tree has a circumference of about 16 feet.

Salisbury’s daughter, Verna Porter, believes the family can’t take much credit for the size of this tree, other than they didn’t cut it down. The Salisbury family moved to the Cram Hill Road house about 40 years ago.

“It was here a long time before us, and it will be here a long time after we leave,” Salisbury said.

Salisbury, a correspondent for the Cabinet and The Telegraph, was working on a story about another possible big tree in Lyndeborough – on Edna Worcester’s property – when her own tree was measured. It turned out that Worcester’s tree was not a champion-size tree, but Salisbury’s was close.

“About 20 years ago when they were out checking trees, I went out and measured mine and it was 14 feet (around) maybe, and nowhere near the record, so I didn’t do anything with it,” she said. “Then, early last spring, I went out with the big-tree people for a story. I suggested (they) measure mine while they were here and they did and it was 15 feet. It was close to the record so they came back and measured it again and said it was the biggest,” said Salisbury.

Champion trees aren’t just tall. Three measurements are required: trunk circumference, tree height to the nearest foot and average crown spread. Those measurements are then used to calculate a point value for the tree.

Salisbury’s tree earned 276 points, the most points in Hillsborough County and seventh-highest point total for a sugar maple in the state.

The New Hampshire Big Tree Program was started in 1950. The list of recorded champions now includes more than 200 species. Community Tree Steward volunteers help identify, measure and record these big trees at the state, county and national levels.

“That is cool and maybe after this story is published, someone else will go out and measure their tree and it may be bigger. If I’m only the record holder for three weeks, that is OK,” Salisbury said.

Hodes in Hudson

The public is invited to meet Congressman Paul Hodes on Sunday at 2 p.m. The event is hosted by state Reps. John and Mary Ann Knowles at 51 Quail Run Drive, Hudson. Admission is free.

Gov. John Lynch, and candidates from House District 27 (Hudson/Pelham/Litchfield) and Senate Districts 14 (Hudson/Auburn/Londonderry), 18 (Litchfield/Manchester) and 22 (Pelham/Atkinson/Plaistow/Salem) will also attend.

To RSVP, contact the Knowles at 880-4908 or

Flushing in Merrimack

Merrimack Village District will flush main water lines and hydrants in the following areas from Oct. 6-Oct. 10 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.:

Arbor, Beech, Douglas, Griffin, Herrick, Spruce, and Whitney streets; Buttonwood, Cedar, Nottingham, Sherwood, and Longwood lanes; Briarwood, Cottonwood, Jennifer and May drives; Camp Sargent, Lorraine and Whittier roads; Country Crossing; and Daniel Webster Highway, from Greeley Street south.

Flushing is done to maintain water quality by dislodging sediment from pipes. It may cause minor street flooding, slight water discoloration of water and low water pressure.

For questions, call 424-9241, ext. 100.