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Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:32 pm
by tomhoward
NTS,

On this very cold, becoming cloudy afternoon (Mon., Dec. 28, 2015, Elijah Whitcomb and I visited the magnificent old growth Liverpool School Maple Grove.

We stopped by the greatest tree of all, the possible Military Tract Witness Sugar Maple, which could be the largest Sugar Maple, the largest representative of our state tree, in NY. Elijah and I made careful measurements of this tree. It is 14’3” cbh (54.43” dbh), and 119.9 ft. tall. The crown spread is 63 ft. This gives 171 AF points for circumference, 119.9 points for height, and 15.75 points for spread, for a total of 306.65 AF points. It could be the largest forest-grown Sugar Maple in NY, or even in USA. A resident of the area, who we met Nov. 8, 2015, calls this tree the “Grandfather Tree.” We like the name.

I measured a Sugar Maple (8’1” cbh, 30.9” dbh) to the north of this tree to 124.6 ft. This is in a dense group of large and tall old Sugar Maples. ( I got 123.8 ft. on this tree last year.)

Elijah measured a bigger Sugar Maple (10’6” cbh, 40.1” dbh) just north of the giant champion to a height of 127.8 ft. This is the tallest Sugar Maple we know of in NY, the tallest example of NY’s state tree in NY. Last year Elijah got 126.7 ft. on this tree. This is the tallest tree we know of in the grove.

I measured a Sugar Maple (9’ cbh, 34.4” dbh) just northwest of the tallest to 122.2 ft.

I measured a Beech (6’6” cbh, 24.8” dbh) to the northwest of this tree to 116.5 ft.

In this same area, Elijah measured a large single-trunked Sugar Maple (11’ cbh, 42” dbh) with 2 ascending leaders to 125.3 ft.

This same section contains the grove’s only tall Bitternut Hickory. Earlier Elijah measured this tree to 123.3 ft. On Dec. 28, I found another higher branch in this tree’s complex crown, and got 124.7 ft. This is the tallest Hickory we know of in northern Onondaga County.

We next came to the tree that the resident we met Nov. 8 calls the “Grandmother Tree.” It is the second largest tree in the grove, a truly ancient looking Sugar Maple with huge, gnarled buttress roots, balding bark a long ways up its burly trunk, and a crown that broke off many years ago. This tree looks even older than the larger Grandfather Tree, and could be at least 350-400 or more years old. Elijah measured a cbh of 12’4” (47.1” dbh) and height of 108 ft. He said this tree was probably taller 175 years ago.

I measured a smaller Sugar Maple (7’1” cbh, 27.1” dbh) just north of the Grandmother Tree to 114.7 ft.
A Beech (7’6” cbh, 28.6” dbh) just northwest of this Sugar Maple is 116.7 ft. tall.

Elijah measured a small leaning Basswood (6’4” cbh, 24.2” dbh) to 97.8 ft.

I measured a big Red Maple in the low-lying primeval western section of the grove to 110 ft.

We next examined the big Red Maple near the paved trail (tallest we know of in NY, that I measured to 124.9 ft. on an earlier visit). This tree has a complex crown, and we couldn’t find the highest point. Elijah measured heights of 122 ft., 120 ft., 123 ft. This is one of the most difficult trees to measure.

I measured a Sugar Maple north of the paved trail to 115.3 Next to this tree is a large Basswood with balding bark (7’3” cbh, 27.7” dbh), that Elijah measured to 111 ft., the tallest Basswood we’ve seen in the grove.

We entered the area of tall old Shagbark Hickories in the northwest corner of the grove. Elijah measured the tallest Shagbark Hickory (tallest in NY) to 118.4 ft., repeating the measurement of Jan. 4, 2015.

I measured a Shagbark Hickory north of the paved trail to 108.2 ft.

On a Basswood with balding bark (7.4 ft. cbh, 28.2” dbh) near the north edge of the grove, I got a straight up shot of 108.5 ft. It was near this tree, that in 2003, I found the record age for American Basswood, 242 rings on a log cross-section 38 ft. above the fallen tree’s base.

We examined the biggest Shagbark Hickory in the grove’s northwest corner. This should be the Onondaga County champion, and possibly even NY champion. It is a very old tree, and has then largest shags I’ve ever seen on Shagbark Hickory. The tree is 11’2” cbh (42.7” dbh), 112.8 ft. tall (from our Jan. 4, 2015 measurement), and has a crown spread of 57 ft. This gives the 134 points for circumference, 112.8 points for height, and 14.25 points for spread, giving a total of 261.05 AF points.

As we left the grove, I measured the only large Hophornbeam (5 ft. cbh, 19.1” dbh) in the grove, at the beginning of the paved trail to 65.4 ft.


Trees measured at Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015:

Sugar Maple 54.4” dbh 119.9, Onondaga County champion, largest tree in Grove, Grandfather Tree, est. 400 years old
Sugar Maple 124.6 (123.8 – Apr. 18, 2014)
Sugar Maple 127.8 tallest NY, tallest tree in Grove
Sugar Maple 122.2
Beech 116.5
Sugar Maple 125.3
Bitternut Hickory 124.7 previously 123.3
Sugar Maple 108 Grandmother Tree, very ancient
Sugar Maple 114.7
Beech 116.7
Basswood 97.8
Red Maple 110
Sugar Maple 115.3
Basswood 111
Shagbark Hickory 118.4 tallest NY, repeat of 1/4/2015 measurement
Shagbark Hickory 108.2
Basswood 108.5
Hophornbeam 65.4


Tallest of each Species in Liverpool School Maple Grove as of Dec. 28, 2015:

Sugar Maple 127.8
Red Maple 124.9
Bitternut Hickory 124.7
Tuliptree 120.9
Shagbark Hickory 118.4
Beech 118
White Ash 111
Basswood 111
White Oak 96.3
Black Cherry 85.2
Yellow Birch 74.4
Hophornbeam 65.4


Liverpool School Maple Grove Rucker 10 Dec. 28, 2015:

Sugar Maple 127.8
Red Maple 124.9
Bitternut Hickory 124.7
Tuliptree 120.9
Shagbark Hickory 118.4
Beech 118
White Ash 111
Basswood 111
White Oak 96.3
Black Cherry 85.2

Rucker 10: 113.82 ft.

Liverpool School Maple Grove Rucker 5 Dec. 28, 2015:

Sugar Maple 127.8
Red Maple 124.9
Bitternut Hickory 124.7
Tuliptree 120.9
Shagbark Hickory 118.4

Rucker 5: 123.34 ft.



Tom Howard

Re: Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:04 am
by Jess Riddle
Tom,

The sugar maple and shagbark really are enormous for anywhere. I'm really sorry I never made it out to that stand. I hope someone got some photos.

Jess

Re: Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:17 am
by dbhguru
Tom, Jess, et. al.,

The 127-foot sugar maple is not quite pushing the limits for the species in NY, and definitely not the Northeast. I'm confident that NY has a 130-footer somewhere (in fact several), but I think around 135 is the ceiling for the species anywhere in the Northeast. Farther north, predictably, heights drop fairly quickly. My absolute best in the Adirondacks is 113 feet.

My all time best is still 136 feet in MTSF, but that tree is down. John Eichholz had one in Mohawk to 134, but I think it also is down. There are quite a few just eclipsing 120 feet. I think that is likely the case across MA and NY. Not sure about CT.

My experience with sugar maples is that they have these clumps of foliage in their crowns that vie for the absolute top, often far removed from one another. It can take several tries to get the absolute top, and to my eye, the species looks taller than it usually is. Don't know why.

Bob

Re: Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:14 pm
by ElijahW
NTS,

I spent a few hours today in the Liverpool Maple Grove. The purpose was to get a better height on the largest beech, as well as measure a few more beeches if I had time. Disappointingly, I couldn't find a top above 118.0'. After spending close to an hour with this one tree, its dimensions are the following:

118.0 x 9'7" x 90' max crown spread

This beech is the largest in the grove. I measured five more beeches:

118.9' x 7'5"
116.4' x 7'2"
115.2' x 7'3"
112.3' x 9'10"
109.7' x 8'6"

I'm convinced beech tops 120' here, but I can't prove it - yet.

On the happier side, I can update heights on some of the other species:

Bitternut hickory

126.1' (new top, previously 124.7')

Red maple

125.6' (previously 124.9')
122.5' (previously unmeasured)

Tuliptree

121.5' x 10'7" (previously 120.9')

Shagbark hickory

120.2' x 8'6" (previously 118.4', next to 2nd shagbark at 118.4')

Black cherry

98.7' x 8'8" (new top, previously 85.2')

The Rucker 10 now stands at 115.7', not bad for a stand which is made up almost completely of three species: Sugar maple, Red maple, and American beech. The Sugar and Red maple are currently the tallest accurately measured in NY, as is the Shagbark hickory. I agree with Bob that Sugars should get 5-10 feet taller in NY, and the same could be assumed for Reds. Looking at Shagbark hickory across its range, its maximum height should see some increase as well, though I'm unsure by how much.

I had a good conversation with another local resident while measuring, and it has become clear that people in this neighborhood really value their woods and have some idea of its significant age, which is very encouraging, though few are also aware of how large their trees are, as well.

Jess, Tom Howard has a photo of the Grandfather Maple, which was made into a beautiful painting by a local artist named Maria Rizzo. I don't have photos of any of the other trees, but I'll try to remember to take some the next time I go there with Tom.

Elijah

Re: Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:06 pm
by ElijahW
NTS,

Tom Howard and I made a couple of recent visits to the Maple Grove, and I thought I’d share some updates. Three species have reached the 127’ height threshold (Sugar & Red Maple and Bitternut Hickory), though none have yet hit 128’.

I found a better sight window to the top of the tallest American Beech, and ended up with a height of 121’. This is probably the only Beech over 120’ currently in the grove. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for a taller one and haven’t yet.

Though both Tom and I have written the school district about the importance of conserving this forest, we haven’t received any response. However, most of the residents we’ve met care very much about their trees, animals, and wildflowers, and regard the grove as a special place. I think it’s in good hands for the time being.

Elijah

Re: Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:55 pm
by ElijahW
NTS,

Today I spent a couple of hours checking up on the tallest four trees in the Maple Grove: two Sugar Maples, a Red Maple, and a Bitternut Hickory all known to be at least 127’ tall at the end of last year. Because leaves are beginning to fill in the canopy, the measuring window for this forest will be closing pretty soon. One note: On the tallest Sugar Maple, the final height took about an hour of circling the tree to obtain; once I found the new, nested top, it was very difficult to hit with the laser from multiple directions. Here are the updated figures:

Sugar Maple Acer saccharum

133.6’ x 10.6’
130.1’ x 9.16’

Red Maple Acer rubrum

127.8’

Bitternut Hickory Carya cordiformis

129.0’ x 7.3’

Before leaving, I cut out a small piece of trunk from a fallen Hemlock. I was curious how many growth rings I could count. This hemlock was about 25’ tall when still standing, and the DBH was 3.2.” The cookie I cut was right at 4.5.’ Using a magnifying glass, I came up with 92 rings. Here’s a picture of the cookie:
Hemlock cookie
Hemlock cookie
My guess is that the tree is slightly over 100 years old, but, being a slow-growing species, who knows? This site is absent of any large, mature hemlocks, and Tom Howard’s theory is that any that were here were cut for use on the nearby plank roads in the 1840s.

Elijah

Re: Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:37 pm
by bbeduhn
When hemlocks grow in the shade, they can start out very slowly. If a light gap appears, they can start a growth spurt and put on some serious size in a hurry, and then thy'll slow back down. I've seen cuts with very small inner rings and then 15 or so fat rings and then back to fairly small rings.

Re: Liverpool School Maple Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:01 pm
by ElijahW
Brian,

I might cut a thinner slice closer to ground level from this hemlock and put it under a microscope. Assuming a height of 25’ and a diameter at ground level of 4,” this tree would have averaged .04” (1mm) in diameter growth and 3” (76mm) in vertical growth per year, also assuming an age at death of 100 years. As you point out, of course, some years would have almost no growth and others would be way above average. Fascinating stuff.

Elijah