More Pequonnock Trees

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RyanLeClair
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More Pequonnock Trees

Post by RyanLeClair » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:05 pm

My dad and I just got back from the Pequonnock valley. While we didn't find anything extraordinary, we did manage to locate a few trees with potential.

This time we started from the Parlor Rock entrance. Initially the trees were about 1-2 feet in diameter and not too tall. Then the trees thinned out greatly, as the areas by the river were getting very swampy, too swampy for big trees. The specimens in this area were mostly ash (can't tell which), sycamore, and some oak. We were passing this lowland area when we decided to measure a trails-side tree our family has known about for awhile. It's a turnip-shaped sycamore with a huge, hollow base and a relatively unsubstantial crown. We got a circumference of 15'10"; we measured at the lowest practical point, as the tree is on an extreme slope. The bole is very flattened (the pictures show the widest diameter of the trunk), so using pi to get a diameter results in a distorted figure. 5.0 ft. It measured 117.5 ft in height. This tree was not on the river side of the tree, but rather on the hilly side. We did not find any more notable trees on that side.

The next tree was another sycamore. It measured 11'10" in circumference, for a DBH of 3.8 feet. The height was 123 ft. This specimen was to be found on the west side of the river, the same side on which the 155' tulip was found (although, of course, that was miles down the river).

The last tree we measured was another one on the west side. It was a Liriodendron, and an impressive one at that: 135.7 ft. tall, 3.2 DBH. It might not be a record-breaker, but it might be an omen of good things to come. My dad and I might find some tall ones when we push farther.

It seems clear that the big Pequonnock trees are going to be on the west side. From what we could see the east side was dominated by smallish hemlock (which are very healthy--maybe the HWA hasn't gotten here yet?). The west side went from being super-saturated to hospitable, but the conditions are still not as perfect as those in which the 155' tree grows. The "shelf" along the river was only 20' deep, compared to 100+ ft. The terrain is rockier as well. However, there's a chance that the shelf gets wider farther down the river, and if so, maybe there will be some 140+'s.

And a caveat: I'm really new to the Suunto clinometer (and again, Bart--thank you so much for letting me borrow it!), so these measurements might be a little off. However, I am confident they are pretty close.

--Ryan
Attachments
The 135.7' tulip (left leader)
The 135.7' tulip (left leader)
123' sycamore (in background)
123' sycamore (in background)
123' Sycamore
123' Sycamore
Closeup of the turnip base
Closeup of the turnip base
My dad at the base of the turnip sycamore
My dad at the base of the turnip sycamore

RyanLeClair
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 8:45 pm

Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by RyanLeClair » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:08 pm

Crap, I always do this! I got the photos in the wrong order. Oh, well.

Also: you might wonder why the photos are from an album named "137' Tulip," not an album named "135.7' Tulip." This is a typo.

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dbhguru
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Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by dbhguru » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:20 pm

Ryan,

Good show. Nice sycamores. What is particularly important is that you are collecting measurements over an expanding area, putting together a picture of the best. I look forward to your next post. You are our Connecticut Ent. We're lucky to have you on board.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

RyanLeClair
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Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by RyanLeClair » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:52 pm

Thank you, Bob. Instead of going to a lot of sites across the state, I think I'm going to focus my efforts solely on the Pequonnock (at least for now). I actually just acquired an old map of the valley. One of the areas is labeled as "The Inner Sanctum--Big Pines." I'm interested.

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Bart Bouricius
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Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by Bart Bouricius » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:26 pm

Ryan,

Keep it up Ryan, and good luck finding similar territory to that where the really tall Tulip Trees were. I think when you are done there you might find it interesting to take Rout 108 to the location where several tulips with circumferences in excess of ll' were, and probably you have a good chance of finding some impressive trees along the Housatonic River where you mentioned those parks around Shelton.

Bart

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Chris
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Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by Chris » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:54 am

From the pictures, those particular trees seem much larger than anything else in the surrounding forest.

RyanLeClair
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Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by RyanLeClair » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:51 am

Yes, these were the standout trees. The rest of 'em weren't very big. The hollow sycamore might be the biggest-girthed tree in the whole Pequonnock valley.

RyanLeClair
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Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by RyanLeClair » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:53 am

Thank you, Bart. I'm going to check out that Route 108 site as soon as I can, as well as areas along the Housatonic.

RyanLeClair
Posts: 302
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Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by RyanLeClair » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:16 pm

Some more finds:

The new Pequonnock Valley girth champion. A gnarly, ancient red oak 15'11" in circumference. It surpasses the 15'10" turnip sycamore. In third place is a white oak at 13'10". All three of these trees appear to be farm trees leftover from Connecticut's days of yore.

Next was an impressive tulip tree: 134.1 ft x 10'8". Surprisingly, it's growing on a steep slope, and far away from the river, at that.

A 132.1 ft x 10'3" tulip tree grows a little farther down the way. It's basically on the trail. There are a lot of 120+ tt's in this immediate area. At this point the trail is fairly far from the river (100+ ft).

Lastly I measured a TT growing about 50' from the 135.7' tulip. It came in at 126'. Not bad.

So far it seems that tulip tree dominates wherever it grows, and it grows everywhere--floodplains, rocky outcrops, slopes. The second-tallest tree is sycamore, coming in in the 120s (tallest one measured by Bart--125'). The sycamores almost exclusively grow along the river. Sycamore groves here are usually 105-120', it seems. Some of these trees are ridiculously skinny--less than a foot DBH.

RyanLeClair
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 8:45 pm

Re: More Pequonnock Trees

Post by RyanLeClair » Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:46 pm

Here are some photos of the Pequonnock Valley girth champ (15'11"). Sorry, no one for scale.
Attachments
Ree 008.jpg
Ree 007.jpg
Ree 006.jpg
Ree 005.jpg

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