Smith Woods, Trumansburg, NY

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Re: Smith Woods, Trumansburg, NY

Post by dbhguru » Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:34 am


I saw the 104.9-foot BB in your latest post, and added it to the BB database. Good find, it brings the number of trees to 560, and so far the central-western NY sites are proving to be gems. Maybe we can eventually get our individual tree databases accepted in a form and by an organization of high scientific standing to give serious scientific researchers convenient access to our numbers. Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA is one possibility. I know Dr. David Foster, the Director, researchers Drs. David Orwig and Neil Pederson, and others. We would have to develop a standardized format, but we could do that.

American Forests is another possibility, but at this point, separate databases on different species measurements is not in the cards - some kind of summary, maybe, but not lots of raw data. AF has such a broad-based objective, courtesy of our pushing them, but the communications and storage network needed to support the effort does not yet exist. And I don't think that situation will change within the next year or even two.

Back to NTS. With each new post, potentially valuable tree data are presented that can help provide interested parties with a better understanding of species' maximum growth behavior over their full geographical ranges. I still see this as our largest single NTS scientific contribution. And this is not to minimize any other contribution.

Once we get into the winter season, I'm trying to work up the energy to dive into our scattered NTS information base and see what I can do to extract and summarize our data. I would utilize the databases that are already out there, including the primary one. Matt Markworth's, Jess Riddle's Larry Tucei's, Brian Beduhn's,Turner Sharp's, yours and Tom's, etc., plus my own databases and lists, and the many, many individual posts should keep me busy for several months (years?). Anyone care to kick in with me?

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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Re: Smith Woods, Trumansburg, NY

Post by tomhoward » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:51 pm


On this mostly sunny, mild Sunday (Dec. 6, 2015, about 50 F Trumansburg), Elijah Whitcomb and I explored Smith Woods on the south side of Trumansburg in Tompkins County, my second visit to this site. Elijah and I first visited Smith Woods on Oct. 4, 2015. Elijah has made other visits to this site between Oct. 4 and Dec. 6. On Dec. 6 we parked at the north side of Smith Woods, not far from where the largest and tallest trees are. From near where we parked, the big 139 ft. White Pine in the north obviously towers above the trees around it. We spent several hours in Smith Woods and measured many trees. The Tuliptree Cathedral in the north is an awesome sight, the densest stand of big trees in this area, densest I’ve ever seen in the East, even denser than the old growth White Oaks of the North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove. The Tuliptrees are awesomely tall, lifting their curving cone-dotted crowns high into the sky, far above the neighboring Hemlocks and other trees. These Tuliptrees are not very old, about 140 years old. Smith Woods is a second growth forest of exceptionally tall trees on a good growth site. The study by P. L. Marks, Sana Gardescu, and Gregory E. Hitzhusen, “Windstorm Damage and Age Structure in an Old Growth Forest in Central New York” in Northeastern Naturalist 6(2), 1999: 165-176 indicates that most trees were under 140 years old in 1990, the time the study was done. The oldest Tuliptrees were about 120 years old at that time. In 1990 no Sugar Maples over 140 years old were found, with most Sugar Maples under 100 years old. A few Hemlocks were found to be much older.

Tree Species seen: Dominant: Beech, Sugar Maple, Hemlock (no sign of Adelgid), and in some sections (especially in north) Tuliptree (extremely tall).

Associate: Black Birch (scattered throughout), Basswood, Black Cherry, Cucumber Magnolia (2 large trees seen), Red Oak (near edge), White Oak (1 tree, near edge), Green Ash, Bitternut Hickory (1 large tree), possibly Shagbark Hickory (small, near edge), Boxelder (small), Red Maple, Striped Maple, Black Walnut (small, near edge), Black Willow (small, near edge), Staghorn Sumach (small, near edge), White Pine (near edge, especially in north).

The interior consists mainly of Beech, Sugar Maple, Hemlock with Tuliptree, Black Birch, Red Maple, Black Cherry, Basswood.

I measured a big Hemlock in north (10 ft. cbh, 38.2” dbh), sign on trunk saying c.1740 (tree looks old) to 128.4 ft.

I got 113 ft. on a Black Cherry with a straight up shot (Elijah got 119 ft. on this tree on a previous visit).

Elijah measured a big Black Cherry with broken top to 109 ft.

I measured a rather slender Beech near the broken top Black Cherry to 102 ft.

Elijah measured the tall Basswood in the north that we found Oct. 4 in the midst of Sugar Maples to 120.1 ft. This rather slender Basswood had balding bark.

We came to the area of awesomely tall Tuliptrees, which grow mostly on a low knoll. This is the densest stand of big trees I’ve seen in the East. We tried to count the trees, assigning numbers to them, but there were too many of them at random patterns in a small area, so we gave up the effort after counting some 13 trees. Without having some way to mark the trees, we couldn’t tell which tree was which. There are at least 25 (or more) very tall Tuliptrees in an area of 1 acre or a little more. They are magnificent trees, showing what second growth can accomplish on a good site near the northern limit of Tuliptree’s range.

We measured the cbh of several Tuliptrees. The first tree is 10’5” cbh (39.8” dbh). The second tree is also 10’5” cbh, and next to it is a Tuliptree 9’5” cbh (36” dbh). These last 2 Tuliptrees are only 3’10” apart – this surpasses the density of old Oaks in the North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove. To the west of this group is a Tuliptree 9’9” cbh (37.2” dbh), and to the south of that another Tuliptree is 9’1” cbh (34.7” dbh). To the northwest is another Tuliptree 9’4” cbh (35.6” dbh). To the north of this is another Tuliptree 6’9” cbh (25.8” dbh). Most of these Tuliptrees are developing balding bark, but they do not seem to be over 140 years old. 2 Tuliptrees (9’2” cbh, 35” dbh; 6’10” cbh, 26.1” dbh) are only 2’7” apart.

Elijah measured a 9’4” cbh (35.6” dbh) Tuliptree to 142 ft. This is the tallest tree we would measure at Smith Woods.

Tuliptree 9’2” cbh (2’7” from its companion): 133.2 ft.
Tuliptree 6’9” cbh: 136.1 ft.

Elijah measured an 8’ cbh (30.5” dbh) Tuliptree to 130 ft.

Tuliptree 9’9” cbh (37.2” dbh): 138.1 ft. This is the tallest tree I measured at Smith Woods this day.

Elijah got 140.1 ft. on a 9’1” cbh (34.7” dbh) Tuliptree at the end of a fallen log, and then he measured a 10’5” cbh (39.8” dbh) Tuliptree to 134.7 ft.

Black Cherry in hollow to north amidst these tall Tuliptrees: 111.6 ft.

Tuliptree to north 6’11” cbh (26.4” dbh), balding bark: 132.3 ft.

Slender Tuliptree in hollow northeast of tree just above: 130.8 ft.

Elijah measured another Tuliptree to 131.2 ft.

In the same hollow is a much lower rugged Basswood with extreme balding bark.

Average height of Tuliptrees in this section (10 trees): 134.9 ft.

We continued south into lower, less dense parts of Smith Woods. There are still many big trees, but the rest of Smith Woods lacks the grandeur of this Tuliptree Cathedral.

I got a straight up shot of 114.5 ft. on a big Basswood.

I measured a slender Black Cherry to 111.5 ft.

In this same area is a big Tuliptree (11’5” cbh, 43.6” dbh) with a wide crown; a plaque on the tree says c.1870, most likely reasonable considering site history and growing conditions. Elijah got a height of 134 ft. on this tree.

We walked through a group of Hemlocks that Elijah measured to 120-125 ft. on a previous visit. On this outing Elijah got 113 ft. on a Beech tree in this area.

Elijah showed me a Cucumber Magnolia near the west edge of the forest, that he measured to 102 ft. on a previous visit. Many large Cucumber Magnolia leaves lay on the ground. I found a higher point on this Cucumber Magnolia, and measured it to 103.4 ft.

Just west of the Cucumber Magnolia Elijah measured a big Bitternut Hickory to 121.2 ft. This is the only large Hickory we’ve seen at Smith Woods.

Elijah measured a nearby Tuliptree to 129.8 ft.

I measured a big Red Oak near this Tuliptree to 117.1 ft.

Near the west edge we examined a tree that at first looked like a White Ash (7’11” cbh, 30.2” dbh), but the twigs were more delicate than Ash, and were alternate not opposite as in Ash. We concluded that this tree (which Elijah measured to 109.5 ft.) is an Elm, possibly American Elm. It is the tallest Elm I know of in central NY.

In the southern half of Smith Woods are many large Black Birches that Elijah measured to a maximum of 104.9 ft. on a previous visit. They are probably the largest Black Birches in NY.

We came to the biggest Sugar Maple, 10’11” cbh (41.7” dbh), which Elijah measured to 124.7 ft. The tree is dated to c.1890 by a sign. It looks older, but considering the site’s history and growing conditions, it may not be much older than that.

Elijah got 111.2 ft. on a nearby 7’4” cbh (28” dbh) Red Maple, and then he measured a nearby big Red Oak (11’7” cbh, 44.2” dbh) to 118.4 ft. Elijah got a straight up shot of 126 ft. on a Tuliptree (10’3” cbh, 39.2” dbh) in this same southern section. A typical large Beech in this section is 8’8” cbh (33.1” dbh). It seemed bigger.

We came to the biggest Cucumber Magnolia (9’3” cbh, 35.3” dbh) near the southwestern corner of Smith Woods. Elijah measured this wide-crowned tree to 110.4 ft. This is the largest and tallest Cucumber Magnolia we know of in central NY.

Elijah measured a White Oak (5’3” cbh, 20” dbh) in this same area to 98.7 ft. This is the only White Oak we saw in Smith Woods. Elijah measured 2 Black Cherries to 115 ft., 117 ft.

We returned to Elijah’s car by the way we came, through the awesome Tuliptree area of the north, and by the biggest White Pine (10’4” cbh, 39.5” dbh, 139.2 ft. tall as measured by Elijah on a previous visit, the tallest White Pine in central NY).

Tree Heights Measured Dec. 6, 2015 at Smith Woods, Trumansburg, NY:

Hemlock 128.4 sign c.1740
Black Cherry 109
Beech 102
Basswood 120.1
Tuliptree 142 tallest tree measured
Tuliptree 133.2
Tuliptree 136.1
Tuliptree 130
Tuliptree 138.1
Tuliptree 140.1
Tuliptree 134.7
Black Cherry 111.6
Tuliptree 132.3
Tuliptree 130.8
Tuliptree 131.2
Basswood 114.5 straight up shot
Black Cherry 111.5
Tuliptree 134 sign c.1870
Beech 113
Bitternut Hickory 121.2
Tuliptree 129.8
Red Oak 117.1
Cucumber Magnolia 103.4
Elm 109.5
Sugar Maple 124.7 sign c.1890
Red Maple 111.2
Red Oak 118.4
Tuliptree 126 straight up shot
Cucumber Magnolia 110.4 tallest central NY
White Oak 98.7
Black Cherry 115
Black Cherry 117

Heights in feet measured by Elijah Whitcomb and Tom Howard of NTS by Sine method

Tallest Trees by species at Smith Woods Dec. 6, 2015 and earlier:

Tuliptree 142
White Pine 139.2
Sugar Maple 124.7
Hemlock 128.4
Basswood 120.1
Red Oak 118.4
Black Cherry 119
Green Ash 109+
Elm 109.5
Cucumber Magnolia 110.4
Beech 119
Bitternut Hickory 121.2
Red Maple 111.2
Black Birch 104.9
White Oak 98.7
Striped Maple 51.9

Smith Woods Rucker 10 Dec. 6, 2015:

Tuliptree 142
White Pine 139.2
Hemlock 128.4
Sugar Maple 124.7
Bitternut Hickory 121.2
Basswood 120.1
Beech 119
Black Cherry 119
Red Oak 118.4
Red Maple 111.2

Rucker 10: 124.32 ft.

Smith Woods Rucker 5 Dec. 6, 2015:

Tuliptree 142
White Pine 139.2
Hemlock 128.4
Sugar Maple 124.7
Bitternut Hickory 121.2

Rucker 5: 131.1 ft.

Tom Howard

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