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Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 6:02 pm
by ElijahW
NTS,

This report isn't very well-developed, and certainly will be added on to in the future, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Looking for a good route into Irondequoit Bay, just north of Rochester and on the south shore of Lake Ontario, I stumbled upon an ordinary-looking Monroe County park, named after former county executive Lucien Morin. Before today, I'd never heard of the park or the man, but I quickly began to appreciate the park, at least. After walking through some attractive stands of pure Black Walnut and Sassafras, I took a trail into a gently-sloped hollow and encountered some surprises.

The hills of Lucien Morin are covered with Rochester's typical oak-hickory combination (Northern Red, Black, and White oak mixed with Bitternut, Pignut, and Shagbark hickory). Similar to nearby Washington Grove, however, the bottom of the hollow harbors the tallest trees, the mighty Tulips. The nearly pure stand of tulips indicate a history of at least mild disturbance, and I would be surprised if they were much over one hundred years old. Some of the oaks on the slopes appeared older, but not by much. Tulips in this area, probably an acre or so, averaged in the 130s for height, and somewhere around seven or eight feet in circumference. I'm fairly confident I measured the tallest tulip, but maybe not the tallest Red oak. White ash was a minor component in this forest, along with Red and Sugar Maple, Black Birch, Cottonwood, and White Pine. The understory seemed to indicate very rich soils, supporting at least a couple of fern species, maple leaf viburnum, witch hazel, spicebush, and flowering dogwood. I found one small American Chestnut sprout, but larger ones are likely present.

Here's a summary of my measurements:

Tuliptree
152.9' x 9'1"

White ash
137.7' x 7'1"

Northern Red Oak
131.9' x 9'2"

Sassafras
107.1' x 4'9"
Tallest tulip
Tallest tulip
High point is on the right, next to the Maple leaf.  Top on far left is about 1' shorter, or 151.5'.
High point is on the right, next to the Maple leaf. Top on far left is about 1' shorter, or 151.5'.
131' Red oak
131' Red oak
Crown of same Red oak
Crown of same Red oak
Lucien Morin Park is slightly north of Green Lakes, and I believe now contains the tallest eastern hardwood north of 43 degrees Latitude. I expect them to keep growing, as well.

Elijah

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 7:22 pm
by Erik Danielsen
Congratulations on pulling a notable site out of nowhere! You mention the tulips averaging in the 130s- is the tallest one an anomaly produced by the topography, or are there a number in the 140s as well? Nice sassafras, too. From the numbers and images posted it sounds like this site has all the right conditions for exceptional growth. I wonder how many other non-notable parks and bits of land in regrowth are harboring exceptional trees, unrecognized because they've never been visited by someone with a laser rangefinder...

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 7:55 pm
by ElijahW
Erik,

I measured one tulip just over 140', and several more in the 130s, but only one with tripod and trunk marker. Moving up the slope, heights seem to drop quite a bit. I think the key factors here driving height are soil quality and shelter from the wind. Taking what I saw today, I wouldn't be surprised to find additional tulips over 150', hickories over 130', and taller oaks in the unexplored sections of Irondeqouit Bay. I think this area is an anomaly, but I would be glad to be proven wrong.

Elijah

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Mon May 23, 2016 5:31 am
by dbhguru
Elijah


Ditto to what Erik said. Amazing. Out of nowhere. Once again, the Great Lakes reveal their effects through tree height.

Bob

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:10 pm
by ElijahW
NTS,

Today I completed my summer walk-through of the last of the three Irondeqouit Bay county parks, sort of a scouting mission for serious measuring post leaf-off. I thought I'd share a summary of what I've found so far, and what I expect to find this winter. The first column will be actual laser height measurements, to be interpreted as "not less than"; the second approximations of expected height ceilings. The three parks are Lucien Morin, Irondeqouit Bay, and Abraham Lincoln (formerly Irondeqouit Bay East).

species Actual Height Expected Current Height Maximum

Tuliptree 152 152
Northern Red Oak 131 135
White Ash 137 137
Eastern White Pine 130 130
Eastern Cottonwood 131 135
American Beech 120 125
Sassafras 107 120
Black Cherry 122 125
Black Birch 102 110
Tree of Heaven 112 120
Pignut Hickory 120 130
White Oak 101 110
Shagbark Hickory 120
Bitternut Hickory 125
Black Oak 115

These parks have little to no old growth and one is bound to wonder just what was here a couple of hundred years ago. I'll update this thread when more measurements have been done.

Elijah

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:45 am
by dbhguru
Elijah,

These are very impressive numbers. The heights of the hardwoods redefine for me what I thought the representative species could do at that latitude. I noticed that Irondeqouit Bay is at 43.205 degrees north latitude. The 152-foot tuliptree you measured must be our current record for 43 degrees or higher. The only under performer in your list is the white pine.

If you find tops at the heights that you anticipate, that region will have a Rucker Index exceeding 130. Sweet!

Bob

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:12 am
by Erik Danielsen
Great work- you're definitely putting a lot of numbers behind the notion that Zoar Valley, while spectacular, is not an anomaly. The rich soils, ample precipitation and lake-mediated microclimates of central and western NY can produce some serious trees, and as Bob notes at higher latitudes than might have been expected. Our knowledge of fantastic trees produced by similar conditions in Ohio has greatly expanded in the last couple years and I think NY is due for the same. If you manage to break 110' for a Sassafras, that'll really be something, much less hit 120'. Interesting to see a tall Tree of Heaven in there as well- I've got some exceeding 100' over here but 112' is impressive. Saw a paper a little while back delineating their ecology in forests as gap-dependent emergents, not unlike Tuliptree. I don't imagine they'll top out at similar heights, but it's hard to know what they might achieve.

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:46 pm
by adam.rosen
The other park in Rochester that contains supposed remnants of the the older forest is Tryon county park. It is along the east section of the 590 corridor, in Webster or Irondequoit. I have never been there. https://www2.monroecounty.gov/files/par ... AILmap.pdf

I see that Lucien Morin park is right across from Ellison Park, a place where I have spent a lot of time, and home to some nice big oaks, one of which had a cavity I could climb in.

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:21 pm
by ElijahW
Thanks for the replies, fellas.

I don't know if any of the individual parks will have a Rucker Index over 130', but certainly the group will, as a whole. This is certainly an excellent area for tree growth.

Bob, I don't know what is holding back White pine here; hemlock is also present but suppressed.

Adam, I've been to Tryon and was not impressed, but that was several years ago. I may return at some point. The Rochester area seems to be well suited for the northern oak species.

Erik, I believe Irondequoit Bay is a unique spot on the Lake Ontario shoreline, but Erie is full of possibilities.

Peace,

Elijah

Re: Lucien Morin County Park, Webster, NY

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 6:28 pm
by ElijahW
NTS,

I recently revisited Lucien Morin, and my survey is pretty much complete. One year's growth added approximately 14" to the tallest Tulip, and it now stands at 154.1'. Additional trees measured:

Bitternut Hickory

125.6'

Shagbark Hickory

115.4'
116.6'
117.0'

Lucien Morin Rucker 10 Index:

154.1 Tuliptree
137.7 White Ash
131.9 Northern Red Oak
125.6 Bitternut Hickory
117.0 Shagbark Hickory
115.7 Red Maple
115.0 Pignut Hickory
114.2 White Pine
110.4 Black Oak
109.8 Sassafras

123.1 Average

Elijah