Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, NY

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tomhoward
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Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, NY

Post by tomhoward » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:58 pm

NTS,

On Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, Elijah Whitcomb and I surveyed Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse after leaving the Wizard of Oz Memorial Oak Grove of North Syracuse. The weather was sunny and with temperature about 45 F, not at all like February. Oakwood Cemetery is a garden cemetery established in 1859 on rolling oak-forested hills south of what would later be Syracuse University and SUNY ESF. There are still many old, picturesque White Oaks there, but most of the original trees are gone; the Labor Day Storm of 1998 seems to have destroyed most of the oldest trees. Besides the abundant White Oaks, there are many Red Oaks, Black Oaks, and Hickories (that are difficult to identify), and also some White Pine, Hemlock, Sugar Maple, Tuliptree. Oakwood Cemetery has many exotics including Larch, Douglas-fir, White Fir, Baldcypress, Dawn Redwood, Yellowwood, Sweetgum, Gingko, Shingle Oak, Pin Oak, and other trees.

In a lower area of the cemetery is a group of 3 fairly large Baldcypress trees. These trees have been mentioned in earlier NTS posts, and I last saw them many years ago. They turned out to be larger and taller than we expected. Elijah measured the biggest and tallest Baldcypress (8’10” cbh) to a height of 88.7 ft., possibly tallest for this species in NY. I measured the other 2 Baldcypresses to 83.5 ft., 77.7 ft.

I measured a typical rather slender White Oak to 82.8 ft. There are many, many other like it all around.

The more open-grown White Oaks of Oakwood Cemetery are much shorter than the forest-grown White Oaks of the Wizard of Oz Memorial Oak Grove and North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove, and they also appear to be younger than the White Oaks of the North Syracuse groves. Few White Oaks in Oakwood Cemetery seem to be as much as 200 years old. The density of large White Oaks seems to be lower than in Oakwood Cemetery in Chittenango, a site surveyed by Elijah and me Jan. 17, 2016.

Back to Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse – Elijah measured a 6’3” cbh Gingko to 86.3 ft., an 8’9” cbh White Oak to 92.2 ft. (one of the tallest White Oaks in this cemetery). Elijah measured a Hickory (most likely Pignut) to 101.8 ft., the only 100 ft. tree we would measure in Oakwood Cemetery.

I measured a Tuliptree, which looked taller than its neighbors, to 90 ft., and I measured a White Oak, which looked taller than its neighbors. to 72.8 ft.

I counted about 120 mostly wide rings on a 15” radius Oak stump. Elijah counted 150 wide rings on a 2 ft. 2 in. radius Oak stump.

We came upon a Hickory with rough bark, but with a lighter color than most of the Pignut and Red Hickory variants than we’ve seen. The bark is rougher than Bitternut, but branches have smooth bark. This Hickory has a lighter color than other Hickories. We wondered if this could be Mockernut. Elijah measured this tree to 5’10” cbh, and 95.3 ft. tall. According to replies from the NTS Bulletin Board, this is most likely a Red Hickory.

Near Comstock Ave. on the east side of the cemetery, in sight of SU’s Manley Field House, are at least 2 Shingle Oaks. They look like Red Oaks, but with smooth oval leaves, that to people up here, do not look oak-like. The biggest, possibly the biggest in Onondaga County, is 9’7” cbh, 74.4 ft. tall, with a maximum crown spread of 67 ft.

Elijah measured a Pin Oak in this area, 11’6” cbh, 82.5 ft. tall.

Trees measured:

Baldcypress
88.7 tallest Baldcypress in NY, 83.5, 77.7
White Oak
82.8, 92.2, 72.8
Gingko
86.3
Pignut (?) Hickory
101.8
Mockernut (?) Hickory
95.3 most likely Red Hickory
Tuliptree
90
Shingle Oak
74.4 tallest Shingle Oak in NY
Pin Oak
82.5

Tom Howard

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, NY

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:22 pm

Fascinating to see those shingle oaks! For NY state, USDA's plants database entry for shingle oak shows it native or naturalized in just two north-central NY counties, two counties on long island, and on staten island. Considering that most uncommon oaks over here on long island and staten island (like post oak, blackjack oak, etc.) occur here as specialists in barrens communities where most trees don't grow over 50', I don't expect to find any taller down here. Are these oaks planted or do you think they began growing there naturally?

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ElijahW
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Re: Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:30 pm

Tom,

Great write-up. I'll post the rest of the photos when I get a chance.

Erik,

The shingle oaks are planted, and with the exception of some crown breakage, are very healthy. I haven't seen shingle oak in its native habitat, but, at least to me, it's an attractive tree.

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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ElijahW
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Re: Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:17 am

Tom, NTS,

The small grove of baldcypress at Oakwood:
DSC00743.JPG
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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