Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY May 3, 2015

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tomhoward
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Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY May 3, 2015

Post by tomhoward » Tue May 05, 2015 7:16 pm

NTS,

On this sunny, very warm day (at least 79 F), Elijah Whitcomb and I surveyed historic Mt. Hope Cemetery. This is one of the oldest garden cemeteries in the United States, with many old gnarled mostly open-grown and very large oaks. The most common trees are White Oaks and Red Oaks, with some large Black Oaks, and some Sugar Maples. There are a few White Pines and some planted conifers, especially Norway Spruces. The terrain is steep and hilly with most of the big oaks on slopes so steep that diameter and circumference measurements were difficult. The site is similar to Mt. Adnah Cemetery in Fulton, NY that Elijah and I surveyed June 1 last year, except that the oaks in Mt Hope Cemetery are somewhat smaller, and possibly not as old. Some famous people are buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, including early settler Nathaniel Rochester (died 1831, for whom the city of Rochester is named), feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906 – we found her grave, with pebbles, notes, other tributes left by admirers), abolitionist Frederick Douglas (1817-1895 – we were near his grave, but did not see it).

We parked near a mausoleum, and I counted at least 205 rings (some wide rings) on a Red Oak stump with a radius of 28”.

Trees were measured with NTS sine method.

Height 97.5 ft.

Elijah measured a nearby Blue Spruce to 82.2 ft.

Giant European Beech with huge buttress roots, 17’5” cbh – tree at least a double

Big Red Oak on steep slope, (circ. about 14’ to 16’, single-trunked, hard to measure on steep slope, tree has big vines, including Poison Ivy, climbing it) measured by Elijah to at least 98.8 ft. tall.

Elijah measured a fragrant White Pine to 102.4 ft.

We saw a big Red-tailed Hawk fly right above the oak canopy, right over our heads; the hawk was chased by a much smaller crow.

Typical White Oak down steep slope:
Height 96 ft.

In the same area, deeper in the hollow, Elijah measured a Norway Spruce to 105.5 ft., the tallest tree we’d measure at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Black Oak behind dumpster, 14’10” circ., measured below breast height, due to extremely steep slope, one of the biggest Black Oaks:
Height 89.3 ft.

Elijah measured a nearby Tuliptree to 96 ft.

Near Mt. Hope Ave., near entrance is a small group of Douglas-Fir with a smaller White Fir. My calculator suddenly quit (I could not even input numbers) when I tried to figure out the height of one of the Douglas-Firs – I’ve never seen anything like this happen before, but it may have gotten overheated in the extremely powerful sun of this day. I put the calculator in my bag, kept it dark for a while, and it suddenly starting working again. I had no more problems with it for the rest of the day. I got distance and angle measurements with laser rangefinder and clinometer, and Elijah used his calculator to get the height. Douglas-Fir:
Height 96.1 ft., possibly tallest Douglas-Fir in NY

Elijah measured another Douglas-Fir in this group to 85 ft.

Big open-grown White Oak – 12 ft. cbh

Elijah measured one of the biggest open-grown White Oaks to 14’8” cbh.

We found 2 of the largest trees, 2 open-grown single-trunked Red Oaks near Mt. Hope Ave., isolated from the groups of large oaks climbing the hills. The smallest of these Red Oaks is 15’3” cbh, the largest 19’1” cbh. This is the height of the 19’1” cbh Red Oak: 89 ft.
This would be the largest tree we’d see at Mt. Hope Cemetery. It’s really huge, but does not seem to be terribly old, as it has younger bark, branch structure (not very gnarled); it may be about 150- possibly 200 years old, but should not be older than that.

After we left Mt. Hope Cemetery, we next explored nearby Highland Park, with its fantastic Pinetum.

Tom Howard

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY May 3, 2015

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed May 06, 2015 9:57 am

Sounds like a beautiful cemetery, next time I get over to Rochester I'd love to check it out. My local cemetery has a gorgeous Douglas Fir (9'6"cbh) that might edge this one out, however- I'll give it a height measurement when I get back to town next week.

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ElijahW
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Re: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY May 3, 2015

Post by ElijahW » Sat May 09, 2015 10:32 am

NTS, Erik, Tom,

Here are some photos from our trip to Mt. Hope Cemetery.
The central "oak hill" as seen from near Mt. Hope Ave.
The central "oak hill" as seen from near Mt. Hope Ave.
Susan B. Anthony's marker, in the family plot.
Susan B. Anthony's marker, in the family plot.
Twin red oaks next to Mt. Hope Ave.
Twin red oaks next to Mt. Hope Ave.
Tom next to the larger of the two red oaks, 89' x 19'1".
Tom next to the larger of the two red oaks, 89' x 19'1".
Unidentified cedar or cypress.  Sawara?
Unidentified cedar or cypress. Sawara?
Close-up of needles on same tree
Close-up of needles on same tree
Young weeping beech in newer section of cemetery
Young weeping beech in newer section of cemetery
105.5' Norway Spruce.  Angle to the base from here was about 20 degrees.
105.5' Norway Spruce. Angle to the base from here was about 20 degrees.
White, Northern Red, and Black oaks on the cemetery's central hill
White, Northern Red, and Black oaks on the cemetery's central hill
View from near the top of the hill.
View from near the top of the hill.
Erik,

I've measured several douglas firs in NY above 90', but have yet to crack 100'. Norway Spruce and White Pine seem to out-compete the Dougs consistently. Have you seen the same pattern in your area? I'll pose the same question to all in the NTS, as well. Thanks,

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: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY May 3, 2015

Post by tomhoward » Sun May 10, 2015 7:04 pm

Elijah,

Thanks for posting the great pictures. it was a fabulous outing.

Tom Howard

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bbeduhn
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Re: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY May 3, 2015

Post by bbeduhn » Mon May 18, 2015 12:00 pm

Nice oaks! The needles look like immature redcedar or sawara. The bark definitely looks like sawara. I wonder why the needles look immature when it's most certainly a mature sawara.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY May 3, 2015

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed May 20, 2015 7:36 am

Elijah, that definitely does seem to be the case for all the dougs I know. That said, Douglas Fir is extremely uncommon here as it is, with norway spruce and eastern hemlock being the dominant yard/landscaping conifers, white pine being fairly common as well (and usually the tallest) and scotch pine (I think?) being somewhat less common but often impressively girthy and tall. Douglas Fir is scarce.

I did get a chance to measure the specimen in Forest Hill Cemetery yesterday- 97.34 feet is the best height I got on it. I'll get a good photo and post some more about it in the thread for that cemetery, it's a beautiful tree with an interesting form.

UPDATE: starting a thread regarding Douglas fir in NY state, just cracked 100' at Chautauqua. It's caught my interest as a subject.

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