Dakota Dunes, SD

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Jess Riddle
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Dakota Dunes, SD

Post by Jess Riddle » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:06 pm

Alternative title: yes, there are trees in South Dakota

Separated from Iowa by the Big Sioux River and from Nebraska by the Missouri River, Dakota Dunes, a residential development, occupies the extreme southeastern corner of South Dakota. The smaller houses have manicured yards with recently planted trees, the larger homes are nestled in a mature cottonwood forest, and the end of the peninsula formed by the two rivers has been left as a public park. Among the dozen floodplain sites I have visited in southeastern SD, the park stood out as unusually productive.
Main path through forest with tallest tree measured in center
Main path through forest with tallest tree measured in center
The roughly 40 acre forest also supports unusually high tree diversity for the region, though the dense canopy limits herb diversity over most of the site. Mature cottonwoods form most of the overstory, but box-elder and green ash dominate some areas close to the Big Sioux. Box-elders and green ash also combine with white mulberry to form the midstory while the understory varies from sparse to dense rough-leaf dogwood. Much of the herb layer has been taken over by the invasive lion’s tail, but white snakeroot and Pennsylvania pellitory are also common.
Canada thistle at edge of forest
Canada thistle at edge of forest
Dakota_Dunes_measurments.JPG
Dakota_Dunes_measurments.JPG (30.71 KiB) Viewed 2187 times
8’5” x 69.6’ box-elder
8’5” x 69.6’ box-elder
Rough-leaf dogwood is one of the most abundant species in riparian forests along the middle Missouri River, and commonly forms a continuous shrub layer. Individuals over a foot in circumference are rare, half that size being the norm, and the tree at Dakota Dunes is by far the largest I’ve seen.
1’8” x 26.1’ rough-leaf dogwood
1’8” x 26.1’ rough-leaf dogwood
These cottonwoods are likely among the tallest trees in South Dakota, unless conifers in the Black Hills grow taller. These trees experience longer growing seasons and more rainfall than cottonwood elsewhere in the state. The only stand with trees I’ve seen with trees of comparable height is on the Missouri River about 30 miles to the northwest.
Cluster of cottonwoods with 11’6” x 117.5’ tree on the right
Cluster of cottonwoods with 11’6” x 117.5’ tree on the right
Has anyone else measured rough-leaf dogwood or peachleaf willow? These are the only ones I know of measured by NTS.

Unmeasured species at the site include European buckthorn, northern catalpa, bur oak, black walnut, white mulberry, and silver maple; catalpa, walnut, and bur oak are all represented by only one or two individuals. Mulberry reaches at least 60’, walnut around 70’, and silver maple about 75’.

Jess Riddle

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edfrank
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Re: Dakota Dunes, SD

Post by edfrank » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:23 pm

Jess, NTS,

Here is a listing of the current state champions in South Dakota:

http://sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestr ... -register/
http://sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestr ... rent-list/

The list is dominated by street trees and yard trees with fat girths. There are photos for most of the champions. I bet you could get state records for many species. There also is only a limited number of species on the list, including many exotics, so for some species any decent sized tree would be the new champion because it is the only one on the list.

Edward Forrest Frank

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"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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DougBidlack
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Re: Dakota Dunes, SD

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:32 pm

Jess,

I haven't yet measured any rough-leaf dogwood but it is very common in the metroparks along the lower Huron River in Michigan. The largest there are probably slightly taller than the one you measured but I'm not sure that I've seen any that were fatter. I was planning to measure this species this Winter so we'll see. There are also peachleaf willows of good size in southeastern Michigan but the measurements, as you know, are highly suspect. One is supposedly 112' tall and has a girth of 61". The girth seems reasonable and if we use the 3/4 rule for the height this would put the tree at around 84' which may actually be in the ballpark. I'll have to check out this tree and measure it.

Doug

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