Washington Grove City Park, NY

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ElijahW
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:02 pm

Patrick,

Sorry for the delayed response. I read through your post when you wrote it, but didn't have time to comment until now. I've enjoyed my two visits to Washington Grove, and it's nice to hear others have, too. It's really an exceptional place for oaks, at least in this area. As for the trees you measured, the oak you've labeled "BO2" may be the only one we have in common. The tallest tulip was, if I recall correctly, close to the concentration of sassafras trees on the nearly opposite side of the Nunda Ave. entrance. I think it was right next to a trail. I was surprised to see that you found hemlocks, as I hadn't seen any; the biggest news for me, however, was the tall chestnut tree. I'd seen small chestnut sprouts and a few maybe even tree-size, but nothing suggesting 88 ft. tall. That's pretty cool in my book. Thanks for sharing.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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tomhoward
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by tomhoward » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:34 pm

NTS,

On beautiful sunny, cool Apr. 19, 2015, Elijah Whitcomb and I surveyed the magnificent old growth oak grove of Washington Grove City Park in Rochester. There are hundreds of ancient, gnarled, forest grown oaks in this park, and it is the finest oak forest we have ever seen. Most of these oaks are over 200 years old, have classic old growth signs like massive tall trunks, spiral grain, balding bark, crowns composed of huge crooked limbs. The average height of 33 canopy trees measured is 109.72 ft., with the average height of 15 oaks measured at 112.46 ft. This is the tallest oak forest we know of in upstate NY, and it may be the tallest oak forest in all NY State.

Dominant trees are White Oak, Northern Red Oak, and Black Oak with several associate species including unusually tall Sassafras, Butternut, and Red Maple. Sugar Maple, Black Cherry, White Ash, and Basswood are also found.

The first tree we looked at is actually the stump and remaining cross-section of what until 2013 was the largest tree in the grove, the giant Black Oak near the main entrance to the grove off Nunda Blvd. This tree had a dbh of 56.1”, and was the largest forest grown oak I’ve ever seen. The stump has a rotten center, but a cross-section from barely 5 ft. above the base is intact, so I was able to make a rough count of rings all the way to pith. I counted about 265 rings (and there may be more, as some are not so easy to count) on a 23” radius. As far as I know, this is a record age for Black Oak, and this great tree possibly lived about 280 years.

Near the Black Oak I counted about 140 rings on an 18” radius Sugar Maple stump.

All the other big trees in the grove were intact, and magnificent, giving the grove a timeless, ancient feel. There were many birds singing, and we could also hear woodpeckers, and we heard and saw a big Pileated Woodpecker. We also saw a squirrel with light gray fur, almost, but not quite, albino. Spring wildflowers were coming up, including purple violets, daffodils (escaped from lawns?), and around then base of one of the big White Oaks, a beautiful delicate flower with blue edges and white centers, and lily like leaves, that we couldn’t identify. Mayapple was also coming up.

All heights were measured with NTS sine method.

White Oak, big trunk, coming out of streambed near Nunda Blvd. entrance:
118 ft. – tallest White Oak I would measure, tree could be taller.

Elijah measured a big Sugar Maple near this White Oak at 114.9 ft. – this is the biggest and tallest Sugar Maple we would find on this outing.

Sassafras above Nunda Blvd.: 96 ft.
Washington Grove is the only place I’ve seen Sassafras over 90 ft. tall.

Sassafras near streambed: 92 ft.

Elijah measured a Red Maple to 94.5 ft. Red Maples were easy to find as they were in bloom, their red (and in at least one case, orange-yellow) flowers easy to see in the canopy; all other canopy trees were still bare.

Big Black Oak with lightning scar: 114.9 ft.
Washington Grove is the only site in NY I know of with Black Oaks over 110 ft. tall.

Big old Black Oak by trail, 40.2” dbh, huge old gnarled branches high up:
111 ft.

Elijah measured a Tuliptree in same area – 114.4 ft., and he measured a nearby White Oak to 114.6 ft., and a big Black Oak near the White Oak to the same height of 114.6 ft.

We came to an area with very tall slender Sassafras trees – these are the tallest Sassafras trees I’ve ever seen. In 2012 Elijah measured a height of 104.7 ft. for the tallest Sassafras; on Apr. 19, 2015 he measured this same tree to 104.8 ft. I measured a dbh of 19.8” (5.2 ft. cbh) – this is the tallest known Sassafras in upstate NY.

This same area also contains several (more than expected) tall slender Butternuts. Elijah measured a Butternut in this area to 107 ft.

Slender White Oak: 104 ft.

Slender Butternut: 105.6 ft.

We came to another small group of tall Sassafras; Elijah measured 3 at 99 ft., 102 ft., 103.7 ft.

In same group:
Slender Sassafras, narrow crown: 100.5 ft.

Rather slender White Oak: 110 ft.

Elijah measured a small Chestnut to 70 ft. We did not find the 88.4 ft. Chestnut Patrick Brandt of NTS found in Mar. 2014.

We came to a hollow filled with some of the most magnificent oak trees we have ever seen. One of the largest trees is a giant White Oak with a huge, spreading, complex crown. From upslope Elijah measured a height of 119 ft. on this tree, but he wasn’t absolutely confident of this measurement, because it is very hard to locate the highest point of this tree’s vast crown. We tried to duplicate the 119 ft. height, or exceed it, but we couldn’t – the best I got was 113.8 ft. (and I used this 113.8 ft. figure to calculate the average height of the oaks measured on Apr. 19). The White Oak Elijah measured in 2012 at 120.2 ft. (tallest in upstate NY, 2nd tallest in NY) is a much smaller tree, with a cbh of 7 ft. 5 in., and we did not find this tree on this outing.

In this same hollow, slender (27.5” dbh) Black Oak among much larger ancient White, Red, and Black Oaks: 110.4 ft.

In same area, typical of large trees, Red Oak 11.5 ft. cbh, height not measured.
Also in same area, typical big White Oak, 35” dbh, height not measured, but should be about 110 ft. or a little more.

Big Red Oak by trail, limb rising out of base: 94.4 ft – shortest oak measured – all around are more slender, but taller oaks.

Red Oak, 44.3” dbh, straight up shot, 113 ft.+

We came to another hollow with even taller trees, the tallest trees we would see on this outing. Elijah measured a Tuliptree to 124.6 ft., the greatest height we would measure on this outing. This may be the Tuliptree he measured in 2012 at over 125 ft., and it could be the tallest tree in Washington Grove.

Not far from this Tuliptree I saw an exceptionally tall Red Maple, its blossoms held high aloft; it has a slender (22.4” dbh) trunk that leans in the lower part, but above that is straight and tall. I may not have reached the highest point, and this tree could easily be over 125 ft. tall; it is now the 2nd tallest known Red Maple in NY (2nd to the 124.9 ft. Red Maple in Liverpool School Maple Grove), but it could be the tallest Red Maple in NY; this tree is literally reaching for the sky:
Height 123.6 ft.

Near this area, we came to some tall oaks – Elijah measured a big Red Oak in a group of 2 Red Oaks to a height of 120.1 ft.

White Oak in same area: 116.7 ft.

Red Maple, same area, behind oaks: 115.2 ft.

Black Oak, 30.9” dbh (8.1 ft. cbh) near 120.1 ft. Red Oak:
Height of this Black Oak 120.1 ft. – tallest Black Oak in NY – this tree has a high wide, complex crown, and there could be higher points yet. I got this 120.1 ft. measurement from the center of the crown.

Elijah measured a Butternut at 102 ft., and a Tuliptree at 117 ft.

Slender Red Maple near tennis court: 117 ft.

Black Oak behind house near Nunda Blvd., a tree I identified May 5, 2012 as very tall: 111.3 ft.


Rucker 10 Height Index:

Tuliptree 125.5 (2012)
Red Maple 123.6 (2015)
Red Oak 120.8 (2012)
Black Cherry 120.3 (2012)
White Oak 120.2 (2012)
Black Oak 120.1 (2015)
Sugar Maple 114.9 (2015)
Butternut 110.1 (2012)
Sweet Cherry 109.7 (2012)
Sassafras 104.8 (2015)

Rucker 10 117 ft.

Rucker 5 Height Index:

Tuliptree 125.5 (2012)
Red Maple 123.6 (2015)
Red Oak 120.8 (2012)
Black Cherry 120.3 (2012)
White Oak 120.2 (2012)

Rucker 5 122.08 ft.

9 species were measured Apr. 19, 2015; these are the tallest of the 9 species:

Tuliptree 124.6
Red Maple 123.6 2nd tallest NY
Red Oak 120.1
Black Oak 120.1 tallest NY
White Oak 118 (greatest confirmed height, but 119 on another White Oak is likely)
Sugar Maple 114.9
Butternut 107
Sassafras 104.8 tallest upstate NY
Chestnut 70

Tom Howard

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dbhguru
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:53 pm

Tom,

Thanks for an exceptional report. Tree heights are truly impressive for the latitude. I expect we are witnessing a promounced lake effect.

What is impressive is how many species benefit. BTW, what is the best you've done on black birch for any NY site?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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tomhoward
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by tomhoward » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:26 pm

Bob,

I haven't done well on Black Birch in NY - I haven't seen any old growth Black Birch in NY, and I think the tallest Black Birch I've seen in NY is a 64 ft. tree in North Syracuse, that was cut down soon after that.

Tom Howard

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ElijahW
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun May 03, 2015 8:51 am

NTS,

Here are a couple of photos from Tom's and my outing. We've covered most of Washington Grove, although the section with the tallest butternut needs to be revisited at some point, and we haven't measured any of the hemlocks or white pines on the borders of the park. A nice sycamore also grows on the outskirts, away from the old growth. This truly is an exceptional place, especially for upstate NY.

Elijah
Tom next to the black oak stump, ~265 rings
Tom next to the black oak stump, ~265 rings
Black oak trunk section, ~265 rings
Black oak trunk section, ~265 rings
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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tomhoward
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by tomhoward » Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:20 am

Elijah,

I looked at the NTS Database and saw your latest heights from Washington Grove. It's truly an exceptional place. The Norway Maple at 106.3 ft. should be the tallest in NY. The Butternut at 112.7 ft. should also be the tallest in NY, and is close to the record height for the species. The Sweet Cherry at 110 ft. should also be a NY record. The Sassafras at 105.3 ft. is the tallest I know of in upstate NY.

Tom Howard

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ElijahW
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by ElijahW » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:00 pm

NTS,

Following another outing to Washington Grove today, I have several updates to share. Here are my most recent measurements:

Tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera

132.8’ x 8.68’

Red Maple Acer rubrum

127.4’ x 6.02’ (previously measured)

Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra

129.3’ x 8.15’ (previously measured)
123.4’ x 5.89’
123.3’ x 7.08’

Black Oak Quercus velutina

124.6’ x 8.68’
123.4’ x 9.18’

White Oak Quercus alba

126.5’ x 8.12’
125.0’ x 8.31’
Washington Grove oaks
Washington Grove oaks
White Oak base
White Oak base
Tallest White Oak
Tallest White Oak
Current Rucker Index: 120.4’

It’s becoming impossible to deny the importance of this old oak forest, because of both the average size and age of the trees. The three species of oak here (White, Northern Red, and Black) all exceed 120’ (likely 125’) in height, and probably 10’ in girth. Washington Grove is certainly a great place to see what big, old oaks can do.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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bbeduhn
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:52 am

On the Eastern Oldlist, black oak is listed at 257 years. If the ~265 year old can be carefully counted, it could turn out to be the oldest, however, that 257 year old may still be alive and I don't know when it was measured. I have a spot with black oaks that likely top 250 as well, perhaps a bit more. They are stunted on a mountaintop, with very silvery bark. I have verified 220 years at about 20' up.

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ElijahW
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:16 am

Brian,

I assume you’re referencing the Lynn Hollow, TN, oak, listed here: http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/olds/detail.c ... s=velutina. I’ve run across several sites in upstate NY with Black Oaks over 200 years old (ring counts), but Washington Grove may have the oldest.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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bbeduhn
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Re: Washington Grove City Park, NY

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:40 pm

Elijah,
Yes, that id the one I was thinking of. I visited my old black oak that is no longer alive. The ring count is 220 (eyeballed, not under a microscope) at about 15' up the trunk. It is on a mountaintop and is likely 260-280 years old.
Brian

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