Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:45 am

Erik- That's great. If I ever come up that way I would love to see that area. Always enjoy your posts! Larry

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:05 am

If you're ever coming through let me know, would be happy to meet up and show you some trees.

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JHarkness
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by JHarkness » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:23 pm

Erik,

This place is wonderful, I've been enjoying reading through your various posts on the site. I can barely believe these cherry trees, honestly. Around here they get to a respectable size but there seem to be very few sites where the climate, soil and disturbance history favor large and old black cherries. I've personally never encountered one larger than 7-8' CBH and more than 100' tall. It would be interesting to see gather more complete data on the species state wide to compile a map showing sites at which it attains certain maximum heights. The hemlocks are absolutely stunning as well, if it wasn't for being at the exact opposite end of the state, I would certainly make a trip there just to see those hemlocks, definitely on my bucket list for my next trip to that area, along with Zoar. You mentioned that there is no HWA in the grove yet but there is some nearby, is that still the case? Have any of the hemlocks been checked for EHS? They all look very healthy to me, but I'd be interested to know as that area supposedly has a quite a number of scale outbreaks, some recent, some quite old. Maybe I missed something in an early post, but what was the reason that this site was not cleared, being in a flat site almost in the middle of a town?

Hoping to see some new reports on the site soon,
Joshua
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:42 am

Josh, funny enough, I just visited for the first time in months a couple weeks ago. No new measurements, but I took some photos with a friend that I'll add.

RE: Black Cherry- This region (the Allegheny Plateau, as extends down into PA) is particularly known for its high quality black cherry production. I've often heard speculation that there's a particular strain here that grows faster and straighter than in other places, but I have never seen that idea substantiated and I'm inclined to think it's a bit of a myth. In my observations, even outside of this region one can encounter similar black cherries throughout the great lakes influence area and even in parts of the adirondacks (and of course the greatest specimens come from the southern appalachians), with my hunch being that the greatest growth is seen where there is some remaining old-growth component- such as in the wake of selective timber removal followed by regrowth, old growth stands with a natural disturbance sometime in the last few centuries, or even clearcutting and regrowth without major soil disturbance. This may be more true in beech/maple/hemlock areas than oak dominated areas. Black Cherry growth in stands in this area that have been repeatedly overharvested, or are in regrowth following a period of agriculture, is much less impressive and more in line with the "weed-tree" black cherry seems to be considered on the coast.

HWA nearby continues to be treated, and remains localized. The winter weather patterns we've been having have been pretty good for suppressing HWA. I have not observed any scale on accessible foliage, but will keep an eye out.

Your last question, about the reason for the stand still existing, has no solid answer I can find in the historical record but the characteristics of the grove itself, its geographic context, and the regional history permit some narrative speculation without getting too fanciful.

Regarding the grove- in this location, long-term succession would tend towards stable climax stands dominated by beech, hemlock, and sugar maple, with basswood and yellow birch. Black Cherry, Red Maple, Northern Red Oak, Shagbark Hickory, White Ash, and White Pine would persist by taking advantage of the small-scale gap-phase disturbance pattern resulting from wind events typical in this region and would be relatively scattered and make up a much smaller percentage of the stand. The Leolyn Grove, however, has a very high percentage of those species, and the majority of dominant stems of each of those species reasonably seem to be about the same age, including the white pine supercanopy. I would speculate that this "cohort" of sorts stems from a major blowdown event. Based on recorded stump counts and cores (very limited) and tree characteristics this likely occurred around 250 years ago. Scattered throughout the grove are a handful of trees that seem even older than this grouping, and tellingly most of these are currently slanted and show signs of having recovered from major crown damage a long time ago. Microbursts occur somewhat regularly in the area and this stand would have been relatively exposed in such an event, due to its geography.
My friend David Burg with the ancient red oak, one of the handful of trees I'd speculate to be pre-blowdown.
My friend David Burg with the ancient red oak, one of the handful of trees I'd speculate to be pre-blowdown.
Geographically, the grove is on an island ringed by the Cassadaga lakes on one side and extensive wetland on the other. While settlement of the area started around 1802, it began near Lake Erie and as far up the Canadaway creek as was navigable- about 5 miles short of Cassadaga lake. Settlement of the uplands proceeded slowly, Cassadaga proper established only in 1848, accessed instead from the south by way of Cassadaga Creek (navigable as a headwater of the Allegheny). Clearing of land was piecemeal, being labor intensive and not yet highly mechanized, and we know from other sites that even down in Fredonia where the area's settlement began there were "virgin" stands left in the middle of town in the 1840s. In the highlands of Cassadaga, large areas of the landscape would still have been in primary forest going into the 1840s. Clearing the area of Cassadaga no doubt proceeded pretty rapidly after that, but the first stands to go would have been the most accessible, with the most valuable timber, on the best potential farmland. Leolyn Grove, located on an island in the middle of a swamp, less than a century into recovery from the probable blowdown discussed (while stands from the adjacent mainland were remarked as being thick with timber 5' in diameter), simply would not have been the most desirable to commit the labor to clear. The Spiritualist camp that later developed into the Lilydale Assembly was established in the late 1870s, just a few decades into the area's settlement. At that time it was probably one of many primary stands left, but as the assembly preserved it as a place of spiritual contemplation it was the only one to escape the saw as mechanized lumbering and railroad expansion accelerated the pace of land clearing toward the end of the 19th century.
David standing next to the Grandfather Hemlock. The slow taper and great volume indicate an old tree, but the low branch scars indicate a period of growth with less competition- I'd speculate Grandfather was an understory hemlock released by our hypothetical blowdown event, so probably less than 300 years old in total. Grandmother hemlock and possibly the on-the-fence hemlock are two I'd suggest may be pre-blowdown.
David standing next to the Grandfather Hemlock. The slow taper and great volume indicate an old tree, but the low branch scars indicate a period of growth with less competition- I'd speculate Grandfather was an understory hemlock released by our hypothetical blowdown event, so probably less than 300 years old in total. Grandmother hemlock and possibly the on-the-fence hemlock are two I'd suggest may be pre-blowdown.

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JHarkness
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by JHarkness » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:55 pm

Erik,

Thank you for the response. What wonderful trees, with hemlock being my favorite tree species the Leolyn hemlocks obviously draw most of my attention, but that red oak certainly is a sight! Do we have any kind of database of forest grown northern red oak girths in the Northeast? My two personal bests are 12' 3' and 13' 1", though the latter appears to have at least taken advantage of increased light from nearby blowdown, and may have survived a heavy logging of the land before that, but it's quite a remarkable specimen at 1,000' of elevation on an exposed slope in central Vermont, I suspect larger forest grown red oaks are more common in low lying, productive and warmer sites in southwestern NY.


I have observed the "two personalities" of black cherry here as well, though around here the best ones tend to only top out around a hundred feet, though most are fairly straight and some have respectable girths. Typically the poorer of the two tends to be a strange very contorted thin stem searching for light, I often see them seed in into old fields before many other forest trees, instead of growing large like a sugar maple would in such a setting, they seem to not be able to handle the intense light from all directions and grow in one direction for a year or two, then in another, and so on, resulting in a contorted trunk despite the plentiful light. Whereas those that I see seeding into canopy gaps tend to grow very straight. Perhaps I will get to test this theory, while removing some invasive honeysuckles on my property recently I came across two nice two black cherry saplings which can't stay where they are, perhaps I will plant one in an open location and one in a canopy gap and see how they grow relative to eachother.


It's interesting what you say about the blowdown event, by any chance are these trees leaning to the west suggesting damage from a hurricane? I have quite a few older trees on my land which lean to the west suggesting a hurricane, trying to figure out which storm caused this I read about a hurricane in the early 1800s which struck at least eastern NY with extremely high winds and heavy snow, apparently trees were brought down and severely damaged by it all over the region. Curiously, a few of the older forests I know near my land all have similarly sized trees leaning to the west, I measured the direction of lean at several of the sites and it's almost identical between them, I'm wondering if this could have been the same storm that hit Lilydale?


Joshua
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by Erik Danielsen » Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:29 pm

Josh,

Not aside from the treesDB and VA tech database. Certainly they're infrequent enough to stand out. The most impressive in my area is the 17"cbh specimen in the thread for Long Point State Park.

When large hurricanes come up the coast, over here we really just get a precipitation event from the outer edges of the storm. A few hundred miles of intervening terrain takes a lot of the energy out of it. Stand-replacing wind events in this region are more often localized microbursts or less often tornadoes. There's no consistent pattern in the direction of lean for the extra-old trees, which (assuming that this narrative of a single influential event is accurate) would best fit a microburst. Probably a bit earlier than the hurricane you're referring to.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:06 am

2/3/2019 I visited Leolyn Grove to see how the winter had gone, and to continue working on volume measurements. I am looking forward to presenting the results sometime later this week, but in the meantime I'm posting to note the passing of the "Great Uncle" Hemlock I had described last year. As mentioned at the time, a long vertical crack with fruiting fungi and ominous creaks and groans in slight breeze suggested the tree was nearing the end, and I did find it yesterday laying on the ground, snapped off several feet above the base. Not only that, but it took the largest White Ash down with it! Examining the break, it's clear that the fungus observed (some polypore species) had extensively colonized the wood throughout the trunk where the break occurred.
The fresh stump and snow-covered fallen hulk of Great Uncle Hemlock, with Grandfather Hemlock standing vigil.
The fresh stump and snow-covered fallen hulk of Great Uncle Hemlock, with Grandfather Hemlock standing vigil.
To review, the Great Uncle Hemlock was 123.4' tall, 11.4'cbh, and had a fully reticle-modeled volume of ~620 ft3. In keeping with recent discussions this would give it a form factor of 0.485. In comparison, modeling this tree as would the Forest Service using FIA data would yield a volume of 468 ft3, a difference of nearly 25% (form factor of 0.367). This clearly speaks to the problematic nature of applying these FS models to stands that include older trees.
Crisp, legible annual rings with white fungal filaments now exposed.
Crisp, legible annual rings with white fungal filaments now exposed.
In this case, due to the way in which Great Uncle Hemlock's trunk fractured, we have a chance to determine just how much older we're talking. I was able to count rings from the outermost layer nearly all the way to the pith. This tree's rate of growth did vary but not nearly as much as hemlocks I've stump-counted from stands that experience release due to logging. Even at the end it was still growing at a moderate rate- no sanding and squinting to age this tree. As a result I can say with confidence that this tree was not less than 328 years old.

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ElijahW
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by ElijahW » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:39 pm

Erik,

Nice job in getting a solid ring count on the hemlock. It's too bad that the tree had to fall down first, though.

I've read through Bob's writing on the differences we're finding between the expected Forest Service volume numbers and our field results. It's very interesting stuff, with tree age seeming to play a large role in the form factor of a given tree's trunk.

Thanks for taking the time to follow up on Leolyn.

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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JHarkness
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by JHarkness » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:04 pm

Erik,

It is sad to hear about the tree going down, while not as impressive or beautiful as some of the other Leolyn hemlocks, Great Uncle's weather-beaten crown and overall gnarled form certainly it one of my favorites. Nice job on the ring count though, I'm honestly surprised the heartwood wasn't that rotten, most big hemlocks I have seen go down have extremely decayed heartwood. Knowing the age of Great Uncle, can you provide any educated guesses on the ages of some of the other hemlocks?


Joshua
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Leolyn Grove at Lilydale, NY Revisited

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:40 pm

While I posted a set of roughly calculated hardwood volumes from trees in this grove last year, the uncertainties in the methodology I used (taped DBH, reticle measurement of trunk just below the crown, paraboloid trunk projection, extrapolated base diameter using an average taper factor and projection of crown volume using full height) have left me a bit uncomfortable with the numbers. Adding a 200LR to my measuring equipment has inspired me to try to tighten things up. At the same time, efficiency is important. In pursuit of both accuracy and efficiency when dealing with the complex crowns of hardwoods, I've come up with a hybrid method using rangefinder and reticle together with a camera to collect enough data in the field to then extract a wealth of data from matched images later. I'll write more about this method and how it's applied to minimize perspective distortion and other sources of error in a future thread, but first, here, I would like to present the most thoroughly and accurately modeled tree in the grove to date, the Stagheaded Oak.
The Stagheaded Oak in proportional view as seen on 2/3/2019
The Stagheaded Oak in proportional view as seen on 2/3/2019
Basic Stats (slight girth increase since last measurement)

118.98' tall / 11.51'cbh

Volume

598.9 ft3 modeled
Trunk: 472.5 ft3
Crown: 126.4 ft3 (major limbs 92.3 ft3, minor limbs 34.1 ft3)

Trunk:Crown ratio=0.268
Major Limbs:Minor Limbs ratio=0.369

12.88 Tons total mass, 23.4 Tons equivalent CO2 sequestered

In preparing these numbers a total of 120 frustums were measured and calculated, going down to branches a little over an inch in diameter. In the field, this only required collecting two or three reticle/rangefinder measurements per major limb system once an appropriate perspective was found. Once I've modeled several in this fashion it'll be easier to determine where the method hits a point of diminishing returns in carefully measuring every last minor branch, but an added benefit to this process is that the photographic data is now permanently available to be analyzed as roughly or precisely as the application calls for.
Definitely grateful for cheap graph notebooks
Definitely grateful for cheap graph notebooks
I also checked the taper form for the main section between where basal flare fades out and where the crown starts. With a base diameter of 3.15' and a top diameter of 2.46', with a frustum length of 55.2', a projected conical frustum would yield 344.1 ft3, while a projected paraboloid would yield 347.6 ft3. The actual yield of the six frustums modeled within that span (calculated as conical frustums) was 348.3 ft- in this case actually more cylindrical than a paraboloid projection. In part this is probably due to slight widening between 55 and 65 feet up the trunk, but speaks to the fact that it's hard to predict the range of form variation in older trees.

The Black Cherry "Nina Serotina" is in the process of being analyzed by the same treatment, and so far has confirmed that my rough methodology as applied last year probably exaggerated most or all hardwood volumes it was applied to- but perhaps not by much. I'll post the results when they're finished.

Josh, while the heartwood was intact, it was softened and heavily interlaced with white fungal tissue, so I suspect it wasn't structurally much better than if it had been rotten. Based on this ring count, I wouldn't be surprised if the grove's oldest are over 400 years old.

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