Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

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tomhoward
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Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

Post by tomhoward » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:18 am

NTS,

On Sunday Oct. 30, 2016, Elijah Whitcomb and I explored Abraham Lincoln Park (formerly Irondequoit Bay Park East) on the east shore of Irondequoit Bay east of Rochester, NY. The park is covered with tall 2nd growth forest, and contains the tallest Sassafras trees yet seen in NY, and possibly the Northeast. The forest is dominated by Oaks, especially Red and Black Oaks. The weather turned nasty, with a cold, steady rain starting when we were at the farthest point of our hike, near the tall Sassafras trees. This bad weather, and the wet, muddy, steep, mostly unmaintained trail, made it difficult to concentrate on trees. The upper part of the forest is filled with invasive plants; much further down the steep ravines are many tall native trees, especially the grove of tall Sassafras trees, densely clustered together on a steep hill. The tree were still mostly green, still in leaf, incredible for this time of year this far north.

Trees seen at Abraham Lincoln Park include Red Oak, Black Oak, White Oak (few), Basswood, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Beech, Sassafras (common), Tuliptree, Cottonwood, Bigtooth Aspen, Black Birch, Yellow Birch, White Ash, Pignut Hickory, Willow, Hophornbeam, possible European Elm species (leaf like Elm or Hophornbeam, bark like rougher Shadbush, but not as smooth as Hornbeam, small trees), Butternut, Ailanthus (tall), White Pine (few), Hemlock (few), Norway Spruce (plantation near top of hill).

It rained all the rest of the time when we were in the Rochester area, so we drove around and through parks, including Lucien Morin Park, Irondequoit Bay Park West, Seneca Park in Rochester, and Powder Mills Park in Pittsford (hills covered with what could be old growth Oak forest).

Trees Measured with Elijah Whitcomb Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016:

Abraham Lincoln Park east of Irondequoit Bay:

Cottonwood
128+ straight up shot (tree over 130 ft. tall – Elijah)

Sassafras
120 tallest NY, possibly tallest Northeast
96.1
110.5
105.5
101.5
100.6

White Oak
84.9

Seneca Park, Rochester:

Persimmon
73.5 6’1” cbh (23.2” dbh) tallest NY (Elijah), possible NY champion, corresponds to tree on NY champion list

Trees at Seneca Park not measured for height:

Sassafras
9’4” cbh (35.6” dbh), battered tree, low broken top

Table Mountain Pine
small tree with spiky cones, possible NY champion, corresponds to tree on NY champion list

Turkish Oak
(Quercus cerris) small leaves, big open-grown tree

Powder Mills Park, Pittsford:

Shagbark Hickory
99.8

Tom Howard

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

Post by Erik Danielsen » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:04 am

What an incredible spot for Sassafras! I believe I've actually got Persimmon to a little over 80' at Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn, but the measurements were in a notebook I lost. Since it was about 10 points shy of the listed tree I wasn't excited enough to get the numbers into my spreadsheet right away, so I'll have to go back sometime.

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

Post by Matt Markworth » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:27 pm

Tom,

Neat site. Looks like sassafras and cottonwood do really well!

Do you know if the section at Powder Mills with old growth characteristics has any official protections? I looked in their master plan and didn't see any mention of protections, which is unfortunate.

Matt

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ElijahW
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Re: Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

Post by ElijahW » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:36 pm

Tom,

Thanks for your write-up. We'll get back there eventually, and with better weather conditions.

Mark,

I don't know to what extent the Powder Mills property is protected, but Monroe County in general seems to have done an exceptional job of acquiring tracts with attractive mature forests, and I assume this was done purposefully. The Irondequoit Bay-area county parks are surrounded by upper- and middle-class neighborhoods, as is Powder Mills, and I think the public has a good idea of the value of leaving these parks in their current wooded state. Rochester seems to be very tree- and nature-friendly, so I think Powder Mills will be safe for the time being. I can't say this for sure, but I think it's a reasonable assumption.

I've attached some pictures of the tree Tom and I were puzzling about below, as well as another unidentified tree from Irondequoit Park West:
DSC00828.JPG
DSC00829.JPG
DSC00830.JPG
The leaf base is not unequal like an elm, but even like hophornbeam; however, the bark isn't shaggy like hophornbeam, and is a darker shade of brown.

Some poor pictures of the top of the tall Sassafras (in center, red leaves):
DSC00826.JPG
DSC00827.JPG
Irondequoit Bay Park West mystery tree:
DSC00832.JPG
DSC00833.JPG
DSC00834.JPG
This appears to be a linden of some sort, but the leaves are much smaller than Tilia americana, and thinner and more delicate than cordata. Any help with the ID would be welcome.

By the end of the year, I hope to have a thorough tree survey of the three Irondequoit Bay parks completed. I believe it's between five and six hundred acres of hills and ravines, and with the leaves on, locating true tree tops has been difficult. As of today, here are some highlights:

-All three parks have trees exceeding 144' (all Tuliptrees over 140')
-7 species exceed 130' (Tuliptree, White ash, White pine, Northern red oak, Eastern cottonwood, Pignut and Bitternut hickory)
-Most of the tall stuff is relatively young (>150 years). The only old trees seem to be scattered White and Black oaks, White pines, and a couple of Hemlocks.

Current Maximum Height for the three parks:

Tuliptree: 152.9'
White ash: 137.7'
Pignut hickory: 135.2'
Eastern white pine: 134.7'
Northern red oak: 131.9'
Bitternut hickory: 131.5'
Eastern cottonwood: 131'
Black cherry: 129'
Eastern hemlock: 125.1'
Black walnut: 121.3'
American Beech: 120'
Sassafras: 118.2' (same tree as Tom mentioned above; difference in height due to different instruments used)
Red maple: 115.7'
Sugar maple: 114.6'
American basswood: 107.6'
Black birch: 106.2'
American chestnut: 62.2'

Current Rucker 10 Index: 133.0'

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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Larry Tucei
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Re: Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:09 am

The second leaf photo looks redbud.

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wrecsvp
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Re: Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

Post by wrecsvp » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:54 am

The elm looks consistent with Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) in terms of leaves and bark. Can't see the buds too well unfortunately, I usually take a close look at them too. Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) is closely related and quite similar too

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ElijahW
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Re: Rochester, NY Area Oct. 30, 2016

Post by ElijahW » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:26 pm

Larry,

I considered Redbud, but these leaves are thinner and serrated, as opposed to smooth. The trees also are full-sized, and much larger than any redbuds I've seen. The overall leaf shape is almost identical to redbud. It really looks like a linden of some sort, but I haven't nailed it down yet.

Wrecsvp,

Wych elm was my first guess, but now I think it is Slippery elm. This is the simplest explanation, though the even leaf bases are throwing me off. I'll be able to check the buds easily come springtime.

Thanks,

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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