Grimsby School Grove Aug. 22, 2014

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tomhoward
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Grimsby School Grove Aug. 22, 2014

Post by tomhoward » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:05 pm

NTS,

After leaving Pennsylvania and the great White Pines of Cook Forest and Hearts Content, Jack Howard and I reached Grimsby, ON in the evening of Aug. 22, and we surveyed a small open area of tall White Pine near a school. This is not a forest but an open collection of trees. I often take the train to and from Grimsby on my way to and from Toronto to visit my brother. These White Pines on the lowland near Lake Ontario in Grimsby are the most prominent trees I see on the entire trip.

Bruce Kershner called the site the Grimsby School Grove in his Niagara Peninsula Report, and he claimed that is the most important White Pine site on the Niagara Peninsula. This is possibly a reasonable claim, but his description of the site is not entirely accurate. Bruce describes a 55.4” dbh giant White Pine at the center of the grove – we found no White Pine of that size, and his claim of a 350 year age for the Pine is also erroneous. He claims that the other White Pines around it are 100 years old – as will be seen, they are older than that. He also writes about a 36” dbh Red Oak – there is no Red Oak of that size on the site, but there is a high stump of what looks like an enormous Cottonwood. There are a few large Black Cherries, but none as large as the 48” dbh giant Bruce writes about.

I was surprised to find that the grove has a sign calling it a “Grand Old White Oak Tree Stand.” – the grove has been preserved by the Grimsby Park Commission. The giant tree in the center of the grove is actually a White Oak, as claimed on the sign. The great White Oak, which the sign says, dates from 1700-1750, is still standing, and it is one of the biggest, most ancient White Oaks I’ve ever seen; I measured it at 58” dbh; most of its crown is lying on the ground, but it is still alive, lifting a few extremely gnarled branches to a height of about 80 ft. Ironically, in the summary table at the beginning of his report, Bruce correctly calls this biggest tree a White Oak.

Trees seen in Grimsby School Grove - White Pine, White Oak, Red Oak, Red Maple, Black Cherry, Black Locust, Butternut (just outside grove area). It is a beautiful site with these tall (for the region) White Pines lifting rugged windswept crowns into the golden evening sunlight.

Several White Pines have fallen in recent storms, and the biggest Pine is gone. I counted 215 rings on a 15” radius stump of an uprooted White Pine. This was the biggest Pine by far. I counted 133 rings on a 9” intact radius (center hollow) stump of another fallen White Pine. I counted 120 rings on the 10” radius stump of another fallen White Pine. The surviving White Pines are easily 130-150 or more years old, much older than Bruce’s claims for them. There are 10 White Pines still standing.


I measured the following heights:

White Pine: 97.2 ft.

White Pine about 2 ft. dbh: 106.2 ft. – tallest tree measured on site

White Pine 27” dbh: 103.2 ft.

White Pine in group of 4 White Pines west southwest of big old White Oak: 101 ft.

After dinner in Grimsby, we continued to Toronto.

Here are some pictures Jack took.

Tom Howard
Attachments
Big White Oak, tall White Pines to 106 ft.
Big White Oak, tall White Pines to 106 ft.
Big White Oak with White Pines
Big White Oak with White Pines
Grove Sign
Grove Sign

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