New York City RHI

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Erik Danielsen
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New York City RHI

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:39 am

Having now been in NYC a little over 6 months and with nearly 1000 individual trees measured, I am happy to present NYC's first Rucker Height Index that I'm aware of having been compiled.

RHI5: 133.84 RHI10: 127.17 RHI20: 120.21

Excluding nonnative species:

RHI5: 133.84 RHI10: 127.03 RHI20: 119.62

5-
Tuliptree- 151.2 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Chestnut Oak- 132.5 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Northern Red Oak- 131.6 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Pignut Hickory- 128.1 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
White Oak- 125.8 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
10-
Sweetgum- 124.9 High Rock Park, Staten Island
Cottonwood- 121.2 Riverdale Park, Bronx
White Pine- 119.2 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Ginkgo- 118.7 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Bitternut Hickory- 118.5 Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
20-
Black Oak- 117.3 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
American Elm- 116.8 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Sugar Maple- 114.5 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
American Beech- 114 Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
Cucumber Magnolia- 112.8 Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Sycamore- 111.9 Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
White Ash- 111.8 High Rock Park, Staten Island
English Elm- 111.8 Washington Square Park, Manhattan
Black Locust- 111.2 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Norway Spruce- 110.3 Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
20 native-
Pin Oak- 110.2 Riverside Park, Manhattan
Green Ash- 109.6 Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Scarlet Oak- 109.3 Prospect Park, Brooklyn
...and Slippery Elm at 106.6 in Prospect Park makes for 21 native species.

Inwood Hill Park clearly dominates NYC's rucker index, thanks to a combination of history and topography. Red oak and the hickories might go higher there- both species have many individuals to get to. Tulips are quite possibly maxed out. The tallest black oak, white oak, and beech all seem to be outliers that are unlikely to be topped. Brooklyn's Prospect Park and Staten Island's Greenbelt hold potential for taller specimens of sweetgum, pin oak, white ash, green ash, and possibly others. Cottonwood and Sycamore may grow taller in Riverdale Park in the Bronx, and Swamp White Oak may achieve some height either there or in Pelham Bay Park, where Norway spruce also may get taller. The potential of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx is still largely unknown, as are Forest Park in Queens (which has some tall conifer potential) and Alley Pond Park in Queens (which has a small are of old-growth surrounding the famed Queens Giant Tuliptree).

(updated 4/12 with info from George)
Last edited by Erik Danielsen on Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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George Fieo
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Re: New York City RHI

Post by George Fieo » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:27 am

Erik,

I'm impressed with your NTS work ethic. You've taken NYC by storm!!! My brother has lived in Manhatten for years and has pleaded with me for some time to come and measure the trees he has seen in the city, especially Inwood Park. In July of 2015 I finally made the trip with intensions to measure some trees. I typically don't measure trees in full leaf but now Rob, my bro, was making a move to Florida and I now had a promise to keep. The first day I convienced him to leave the city for a well advertised site in Westchester County. Not exactly what I expected but did not disappoint. The next day I spent walking River Side Park while Rob spent the morning with the movers. Didn't measure many trees but saw lots of mature native specimens. Elms, black locust, n red and pin oak where most impressive. At that time I measured two new state height records side by side. I believe I have a photo somewhere. Records would be a pin oak at 10.5' x 110.2' and a common hackberry at 8.55' x 103'. I'll enter these trees with coordinates, between 108 and 112th streets, to the NTS data base soon.
Bark of mature black locust.
Bark of mature black locust.
L
Old hornbeam. Not certain which species.
Old hornbeam. Not certain which species.
Another black locust.
Another black locust.
Close up of black locust.
Close up of black locust.

Perhaps we could meet up to locate/measure/confirm the tall tulip that has been doped as NY's tallest tree. A tree measured by Daniel Karpen to 167' back in 2014. Cant remember the method of measurement. It was either laser rangefinder or clinometer but not combined. Its located next to the Shu Swamp Nature Preserve, Mill Neck, Long Island. Send me a private message if interested. Likely sometime this fall/early winter would be best but can work with you.

George

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: New York City RHI

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:11 am

Thanks George, I'd definitely be interested in getting together in the future and will PM you. Your reports from PA are always very impressive! I'll get those two into my rucker spreadsheet, and can probably revisit them shortly.

I do want to put on the record a clarification regarding that Tuliptree in Shu Swamp, though- when I spoke to Karpen recently he confirmed that his measurement was done with just a clinometer. More recently he asked a surveyor to come out and measure it more carefully, and they put it at 154'. Even so, I suspect Shu Swamp and nearby Welwyn Preserve have the potential to rival Zoar for the state's tallest tulip. I should be getting out there sometime in the next few weeks but the leaves are coming on quick. I'd be honored work together to give those sites a really solid survey after the leaves drop again.

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dbhguru
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Re: New York City RHI

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:17 am

Erik and George,

I do hope both of you can make it to Long Island and do some serious measuring. I know Dan Karpin and spoke to him recently. He repeated that the measurement of that tuliptree by the surveyors was 155 feet as opposed to the 167 feet he originally got. Dan uses a clinometer and I have discussed with him the range of errors that can be expected from use of just the clinometer. I think he really hopes you guys can get to Long Island. I'll love to see you all break 160 on a tulip.

Bob
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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Erik Danielsen
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Re: New York City RHI

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:31 pm

It seems as though I must have measured more trees in NYC in my first 6 months there than in the subsequent 18- of course, I knocked out the easiest sites to reach early and then got a job that had a heavier time commitment. Nonetheless, having kept at it and also continuing to remeasure the city's tallest as growth seasons passed and I got more accurate equipment, it's time to update NYC's RHI.

RHI5: 135.22 RHI10: 129.06 RHI20: 121.87

5-
Tuliptree- 151.2 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Northern Red Oak- 135.8 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Bitternut Hickory- 131.1 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Chestnut Oak- 131 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
American Sycamore- 127 Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx

10-
White Oak- 124.4 Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
London Planetree- 123.5 Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Sweetgum- 123.4 High Rock Park, Staten Island
Pignut Hickory- 122 Clove Lake Park, Staten Island
Cottonwood- 121.2 Riverdale Park, Bronx

Interestingly, while the RHI has gone up, many of the trees within the top 10 have had their heights reduced by a foot or two due to the fact that my old Bushnell seems to have been consistently rounding up its whole-unit measurements. Newer heights reflect Trupulse measurements. There's also been some ID revision. The tallest hickory at Inwood is a Bitternut after all, which allowed the Pignut at Clove Lakes to join the list. Finding the taller Northern Red Oak at Inwood and a tall Sycamore at Van Cortlandt Park just today (probably 130' or taller with the leaves off) have been the biggest contributors to the higher RHI in spite of these changes.

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dbhguru
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Re: New York City RHI

Post by dbhguru » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:12 am

Erik,

Congratulations, and thanks from all of us. I hope WildMetro, the group you are working with, appreciates and promotes your contribution. Who would have thought that the Big Apple had so many tree secrets.

Bob
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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