Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

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Steve Galehouse
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Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

Post by Steve Galehouse » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:14 pm

ENTS-

Yesterday I visited Rocky River Reservation, part of the Cleveland Metroparks and the closest park to my home with extensive woodlands. I've mentioned the area in the past in reference to fall colors and the floodplain forests. On this trip I concentrated on a small area of upland forest on the slopes and top of an elevated plateau adjacent to the river. I wasn't sure what to expect, since it is within a large urban area, and has portions of the woods planted in non-native Scots and red pines. I was pleasantly surprised to find the tallest white oak I've measured----white oaks are very common here in NE Ohio, but they usually take on a picturesque craggy appearance as they mature, with heights of 100' to 110'----this tree was tall and graceful at 128.2', and with a cbh of 12' 1'' it has to be a fairly old tree. Photos of the white oak:
'.jpg
' trunk.jpg
' crown.jpg
Other nice trees included a red oak at 110' x 11' 7'':
'.jpg
' crown.jpg
a white ash at 114' x 11' 10'':
'.jpg
' crown.jpg
and a tuliptree at 126.4' x 10' 3''
'.jpg
' crown.jpg
Rucker Index:
R I Rocky River slopes.JPG
R I Rocky River slopes.JPG (16.75 KiB) Viewed 1362 times
This R I compares to a R I of 120.18' for the floodplain forest within the same park, which had a tulip at 136' as the tallest.

The slope and plateau forest is the first woods I've measured where tuliptree is present but not the tallest species.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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dbhguru
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Re: Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

Post by dbhguru » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:46 pm

Steve,

That white oak is very impressive. Forest grown whites won't do that here in western Mass, at least so far as I've seen. The open grown ones will, of course, exceed 12 feet in girth, and the forest growth whites toy with one hundred feet, but not much more. A 128-foot specimen is indeed a special white oak to take not of at your latitude. At least I think it is.

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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dbhguru
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Re: Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

Post by dbhguru » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:21 am

Steve,

From what you've learned from Ohio's big tree surprises, have you formed at least a mental map of where to find the best of the best? For example, here in Massachusetts we find the tallest trees in the western part of the State. There may be surprises lurking in the East, but so far they've alluded us. I have no explanation for this, but have a feeling it is tied to the type of bedrock in the east versus west and the longer history of land use in the eastern side of the state. The eastern side of the state has been too worked over too many times. Too many soil nutrients have been lost and productive sites get hammered.

In Ohio do you anticipate the tallest trees will be predominantly located in the East? Where are the regions of richest soils? My understanding is that most of Ohio contains or at least contained very deep, rich soils in the past. So basically any place we have variations in terrain with ravines we have potentially gret trees. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts.

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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edfrank
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Re: Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

Post by edfrank » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:51 pm

Steve,

Very nice white oak! I am wondering what characteristics seem to stand out to you that says this is an old white oak? I have been think quite a bit about it since reading Neil Pedrson's paper http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.3375/043.030.0405 I have thought about age characteristics before, but this provides a different framework for considering the topic.

Carl Harting and I measured a tall black walnut at the Holden Arboretum a few years ago. http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... oretum.htm I am not sure exactly where it was located, but it was less than a hundred feet into the woods from the road along a nice trail. I could not see the top from my vantage point and Carl didn't think he measured it either. "Our first stop was an unscheduled one to measure a large Black Walnut tree. The tree had a girth of 11.2 feet, and a height of at least 126.9 feet. The height isn't very good. The canopy was very thick and we could not get a good top." If you get out that way it could be a new hight record for the region.

I wish I was able to get over there and do more measuring with you.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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gnmcmartin
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Re: Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

Post by gnmcmartin » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:37 pm

Steve:

Nice white oak. I think they are absolutely wonderful trees--perhaps my favorites. I have posted a number of white oak pictures in the past, including a couple of forest grown trees like the one you show here. They grow with wonderful form, wonderfully graceful, yet very strong. In the open they grow with beautiful form also, but develop a more rugged and gnarled appearance over time. Remember my pictures of the amazing one at Carter hall, and the one across the road by the church?

I know of no other tree that can be so amazingly beautiful, with such balanced form, whether open grown, or in a forest.

The tree you show here is large, but it is still just a baby--what will it be like in another 200 or 300 years? We have a few nice ones like yours here in the woodland section of the Va Arboretum--I posted a picture or two of those before also. Maybe I will get time to measure them and post more pictures. I could make a project out of measuring that little woodland. It is, sadly, terribly overwhelmed by exotics, and I am starting a little volunteer project--when I get time--to start controlling the worst of the exotic vines.

--Gaines

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

Post by Steve Galehouse » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:46 pm

Bob, Ed, Gaines--

Bob wrote:
In Ohio do you anticipate the tallest trees will be predominantly located in the East? Where are the regions of richest soils? My understanding is that most of Ohio contains or at least contained very deep, rich soils in the past. So basically any place we have variations in terrain with ravines we have potentially gret trees. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts.
The agriculturally richest soils in Ohio are in the west, on the glacial till plains. I've concentrated on local areas in NE Ohio, day trips from my home, which are part of the glaciated Appalachian Plateau. I think the forests in the eastern part of the state are more species rich than in the west, with sort of a diluted mixed-mesophytic aspect even in the Akron-Cleveland area. Some of the best sites, like Sand Run, are associated with end moraines, I think, but I have no background or knowledge of geology. I think the tallest trees in the state are likely in the east, and primarily due to topography(more hilly in the east) and economics. Manufacturing became important sooner in the east, and farming became less so, so there has been more time for forests to regenerate, plus private forest preserves of early industrialist like Sieberling have become public lands and are now accessible.

I went to college(40 years ago) at Miami University, in the SW part of the state, and near Heuston Woods, which is described as an old growth beech-maple forest. I remember many nice trees there, but none that were exceptionally tall or large--but this was well before the rangefinder/clinometer technique.

Ed wrote:
Very nice white oak! I am wondering what characteristics seem to stand out to you that says this is an old white oak? I have been think quite a bit about it since reading Neil Pedrson's paper http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.3375/043.030.0405 I have thought about age characteristics before, but this provides a different framework for considering the topic.
Ed-I mainly think it's old due to the CBH/GBH of 12'. Perhaps old trees on rich sites look more youthful than those of similar age on poorer sites? For me, the pronounced trunk flare of the tree is especially interesting. All the other white oaks I've found in my area with similar girths are much shorter and much more "wizened" looking.

Gaines-I agree entirely--this is a species that really balances the yin and yang.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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gnmcmartin
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Re: Rocky River Reservation slopes and plateau forest

Post by gnmcmartin » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:54 am

One of the special characteristics of old white oak trees is how the callus growth covers the stubs of old broken branches. Often when the branch does not rot or break off close to the trunk, a sleeve of callus will grow outward over the dead branch for a distance of a foot or more. Eventually the branch will rot and break off, and the callus will close over the end.

This phenomenon is most common in old field grown white oak, that subsequently had a forest grow up around them, causing many of the lower branches to die, creating many opportunities for these "sleeves" to grow and eventually cover the stubs.

The first white oak I remember seeing and appreciating when I was a kid was one like this. This tree had a lot to do with me becoming the tree lover I am today. It was one of the largest trees in the area, and it looked like a pre-historic relic from some kind of mystic past. Anytime I went for a "hike" anywhere near the area where this tree stood, I would go out of my way to see this tree, and maybe sit under it for a time and look up into the magnificent crown and all the gnarly overgrown branch stubs.

These sleeves and overgrown branch stubs are a good sign os the age of a white oak tree because these sleeves of callus require many years to grow. But the callus growth of white oak, compared to that of other trees, is very fast, and I think it is one of the reasons white oak trees live so long. Old branch stubs are effectively covered over before rot can enter the tree. Likewise other kinds of potential openings, such as those from scrapes that knock off bark, etc. Of course, with the old branch stubs, the fact that the wood is relatively rot resistant, gives the callus enough time to grow so extensively and to eventually close over the stubs.

And white oak trees can survive lightning strikes far better than any tree I know. I have a great old one on my timberland that had a lightning strike maybe over 100 years ago. It caused the trunk to open and the center of the tree to rot out. But the tree has grown new wood all around the opening, curling well into the opening, which is large enough for a man to stand in. The tree muct be close to 300 years old, and is very, very healthy and should live for many, many more years

I think I have quoted it before for ENTS, but I love the opening sentence of the description of white oak in AFA's book Knowing Your Trees: "Chief of all the oaks and outstanding among trees is the white oak."

--Gaines

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