St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 783
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun May 01, 2016 9:11 am

NTS,

This thread is the first of several reports on the cemeteries of the Catskill and Southern Tier regions of NY, bounded roughly by Interstates 81, 87, 90, and 86/NY-17. This whole area, aside from the Catskill high peaks, has a history of land-clearing and farming dating back to the colonial days, and likely none of these reports will be describing old growth, but rather land set aside in the mid--to-late nineteenth century for burial grounds and planted with a combination of native and non-native tree species. St. Paul's is my first completed report, but I have three more partially completed and potential for perhaps a few dozen altogether. On to the meat of the report...

Located just across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania in the village of Hancock, NY, St. Paul's Cemetery, from what information I've been able to gather, dates from about 1880. The oldest graves, found among the oldest-looking trees, are marked from the 1880s, 90s, and early 1900s, and I believe the trees, Eastern White Pines, are contemporary with the founding of the cemetery. The 135 year old grove of pines, covering probably slightly under one acre, contains several dozen beautiful white pines with an average height of close to 140'. The girths are fairly uniform, as well, from about six to nine feet. I believe I found what is the tallest individual, at 153.4' x 8'5", but several trees top 140', and a couple with broken tops indicate a taller one may have reigned in the past.

Aside from the white pine grove, Norway Spruce also does well at St. Paul's, though they are likely much younger trees. Joining the planted mix of species are Blue and White Spruce, as well as Northern White Cedar, or Arborvitae, and Eastern Hemlock. I did not carefully measure any hemlocks, but they don't reach much higher than 100'. Below is a summary of trees measured, with a few photos.

Eastern White Pine

153.4' x 8'5"
149.1' x 8'9"

Norway Spruce

121.0' x 7'3"

Blue Spruce

99.8' x 6'9"

White Spruce

93.0' x 5'5"

Northern White Cedar

61.5' x 6'11"
61.5' x 6'
White pine grove; 149.1' beautifully formed tree in center
White pine grove; 149.1' beautifully formed tree in center
153.4' pine center right in the background, behind painted oil drum (well-hidden)
153.4' pine center right in the background, behind painted oil drum (well-hidden)
93' White spruce (foreground)
93' White spruce (foreground)
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

User avatar
Erik Danielsen
Posts: 846
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun May 01, 2016 11:45 am

Wow! Congrats on a new 150+ site for NY state! Looking forward to whatever else you've got in the works!

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by Don » Sun May 01, 2016 1:19 pm

Mmmmm...Southern Tier Brewery! Many nice brews come from there!
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4446
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by dbhguru » Sun May 01, 2016 7:40 pm

Elijah,

The unfolding of the full story of NY tall tree treasures is solidly under way. Congrats.

Monica and I will be in the Adirondacks on May 5-7. We'll be looking at old growth in the Keene Valley and Ampersand Lake regiona. Any chance of you joining us on May 6 when John Davis and others will be presesnt?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 783
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun May 01, 2016 8:37 pm

Bob, Erik, Don,

Thanks. The river valleys of southern upstate NY are showing potential for tall trees, but age is also going to play a big part. I've seen several areas where white pines approach 140', but any old growth in such places would have been outstanding.

Bob,

I expect to be working on the 6th, but if that changes, I'll give you a call. I may be able to join you on Saturday, if you're still around.

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

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 783
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:26 pm

NTS,

I re-measured the two tallest White pines in Hancock this afternoon, and they both did very well this last growing season. The taller one is now 155' x 8'6" and the shorter one is now 152'4" x 9'1". Part of the increase in size and height on the second pine is due to the removal of about 1' of duff layer at its base, but somehow, both trees gained about an inch in girth and 2' in height since last April. This is a weird phenomenon the reason for which I'm not sure. Unless they're recovering from an injury, putting on that much height I would consider unusual for ~135 year old trees. I used the same equipment as last year and I believe I measured from the same spot, though I can't say that for sure. Oh, well. Here's an edited photo that makes the trees' locations clearer than my previous photo:
DSC00788edit1.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

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4446
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:48 am

Elijah,

Growth rates for white pines in the 100 to 150-year age range in the Northeast are higher today than silviculturists have expected. Back around 2000, a silviculture professor from UMASS expressed the belief that what pines 125 years old and up grow about 5 or 6 inches in height a year. That may have been true for in prior years, but not today. I often use the Jake Swamp pine as an example. In 1992, it was 155.0 feet tall. Today it is 174.0 feet tall. That represents an average height growth of 9.5 inches per year, almost double the expected rate. Similar rates for older pines can be authenticated for pines in many areas in western Mass. I assume the same for NY.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

User avatar
Erik Danielsen
Posts: 846
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:16 am

Due to the "Top 10 tallest by state" topic I've been informally tracking just where the bottom cut-off is for the list- with this new 155' pine, the top 10 list goes 8 trees deep before it drops below 155'. The gap between the tallest and 10th tallest is 4.4'. I think it's interesting that it's such a tight grouping relative to the other states that have been posted, which have gaps of 10+' in height between the tallest and 10th tallest.

To some degree that's probably a result of the fact that NY would definitely seem to have the right species, climate, soils and topography to produce some 160-170' trees, but as yet we have not been able to find them. Whether they're hiding out there right now or all the potential sites were cut and need more regrowth time to get back up there is the question...

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 783
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:34 pm

Bob,

I just read your article in the 2009 Bulletin on White Pine growth in MA. At the time, Jake Swamp was not quite 170' tall, but you posited that MA pine heights would likely have a similar ceiling as the Cook Forest pines, or about 180'. Now that Jake is closing in on 175', do you think its growth will taper off or will it eventually catch or even pass Longfellow?

Assuming this Hancock stand dates from about 1880, barring any catastrophic injury or disease, these trees have a realistic chance at exceeding 160' before turning 150 years old. This will be interesting to watch.

Erik,

I noticed the same trend as you. Regarding White Pine, it seems to consistently achieve its greatest heights in the upper Hudson and Delaware River watersheds, and I've struggled to find old trees in these areas. On the best growing sites, 1880 is about as far back as I've gotten. Tall Tulips, though having a wider distribution, are also generally younger trees, between 100 and 150 years old. I still think NY has some 160'+ trees, but finding one has proven much more difficult than I anticipated. By the time I'm 50 we should have plenty, lol.

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

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 783
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: St. Paul's Cemetery, Hancock, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:47 pm

NTS,

While doing some more research on St. Paul's Cemetery, I came across a helpful article on the church's website: http://www.stpaulshancock.org/history_of_st.htm that seems to provide a solid date for the germination of the pine stand. According to the article, land for the cemetery was purchased in 1889. Assuming the pines were planted, they would currently be ~128 years old. The tallest pine, therefore, has averaged ~1.2' per year in vertical growth. The trunk has suffered damage multiple times and is not perfectly straight, so I guess 2' of growth in a good year is not outlandish.

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

Post Reply

Return to “New York”