Page 1 of 1

Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:11 pm
by dbhguru

This afternoon I got a taste of the big cottonwoods in Stewart Park in Ithaca, NY. Tom, Elijah , you all found a gem. Great spot. I'm on my wife's iPad now, so my efficiency is limited, but to cut to the chase, the attached images show Monica next to one whopper and me next to another. Monica's tree (second image) meassures 19.2 feet in circumference and mine measures 16.9. Monica's cottonwood is slightly over 111 feet tall, and mine exceeds 120 feet. I couldn't find the absolute top. It is probably 2 to 3 feet more. I think the crown spread of Monica's cottonwood is about 85 feet. I was in a rush. Will do better next time.

I got a good shot at a large cottonwood that measures 127 feet in height. My guess is thst the stand has 5 or 6 cottonwoods above 120 feet. I'm anxious to explore the grove more tomorrow with Eric, Tom, and Elijah, Mosquitos are definitely a problem, though. I hope to make a fall trip after the little blood suckers have expired.

It was really good to see the collection of big trunks, refreshing after so much nondescript second growth that is the norm.


Re: Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:47 pm
by Erik Danielsen
Looks great, I can't wait to get over there tomorrow. These will be some of the most massive trees I have met to date.

Re: Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:35 pm
by tomhoward
I'd like to thank Bob Leverett, Erik Danielsen, Elijah Whitcomb for the fantastic outing to Stewart Park, Ithaca Sat. Aug. 8. We had a great time among those awesome Cottonwoods. The Cottonwoods and other trees in Fuertes Bird Sanctuary are among the most magnificent trees I've ever seen in eastern North America. And it was great seeing Bob's legendary laser rangefinders in action!

We definitely need to get together in late fall to complete our survey of this old growth forest, and get a full Rucker Index.

Here is a rough preliminary Rucker Index for the Fuertes Bird Sancturary (not a Rucker 10) from previous surveys of the site:
Cottonwood 130' (Jess Riddle)
Sycamore 126.7' (Tom Howard)
Freeman Maple 125' (Jess Riddle)
Silver Maple 119' (Tom Howard)
Green Ash 113' (Jess Riddle)
Virginia Creeper 102" (Tom Howard) vine
Swamp White Oak 100' (Jess Riddle)

Rucker 7: 116.53'

Rucker 6 (no vine): 118.95'

Rucker 5: 122.74'

I have some bad Cottonwood news. According to the NY History Blog, the famous Balmville Tree, one of the oldest Cottonwoods in existence, was cut down by NYS DEC, because, apparently, it had become a safety hazard.

Tom Howard

Re: Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:41 pm
by Erik Danielsen
I'm in agreement with Tom in extending gratitude to everyone for an enjoyable meetup at Stewart Park on saturday. It definitely does seem that a full survey might turn up a 130+ tree particularly among the "fresher" big cottonwoods. The 16.9' cbh tree is definitely the "big tree" of this stand and I momentarily wished I had not parted with my wide-angle lens for a fuller view. Having an opportunity to handle some serious rangefinders from Laser Technology was also revelatory- not only does my archery-oriented bushnell scope seem like even more of a stretch for serious measurement, the Trupulse lasers are wonderful examples of design that clearly mean business. Very reminiscent of the difference between a consumer camera with all of its scene modes and gimmicks in comparison to a more professional camera designed to get out of the user's way and simply facilitate technically informed work. There's something very satisfying about looking through the scope or viewfinder of such instruments.
Tom beside the 16.9' cbh cottonwood
Tom beside the 16.9' cbh cottonwood
Bob, I did also set up that dropbox. The email adress associated is

Re: Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:37 pm
by dbhguru
Erik, Tom, Elijah,

It was great getting out with all if you. I'm hoping we can meet again there in late October andget a Rucker. Sparky and Zeus are definitely game.


I'll begin dropping files into your Dropbox tomorrow. The first ones will be PowerPoint presentations on height, curcumference, and crown spread.


Re: Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:16 am
by Larry Tucei
Bob, All - Cottonwood is one of the few trees in Eastern North America that can reach 20'CBH or greater. I really enjoy these Behemoths and have seen only a few of that stature in Wisconsin and Colorado. They do not get that large in the Deep South. Awesome trees!!!! Larry

Re: Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:35 pm
by dbhguru

Yes, the eastern cottonwood is one of a biggest eastern species, and New York State is awash in large ones. Height wise, 130 feet is rare in New York, but does occur. I've broken 130 twice in the Lake Champlain Valley. There are lots of locations where the cottonwoods reach to between 120 and 125 feet in the Northeast.

In terms of girth, I've measured 4 trees in the Champlain Valley to over 20 feet in circumference, and we know of 4 more elsewhere in New York. Trees with circumference of 15 feet or more occur fairly frequently.

The reining height champions are still the cottonwoods in Meeman Shelby SP, TN that Will and Jess measured years ago.


Re: Stewart Park, ithaca, NY

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:35 pm
by dbhguru

The attached image shows a gobsmacker in Stewart Park, Ithaca, NY. Two trees, of course.