Dowagiac Woods, MI

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DougBidlack
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Dowagiac Woods, MI

Post by DougBidlack » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:27 pm

NTS,

in late February of this year I was able to spend a little bit of time in this 384 acre Michigan Nature Association (MNA) property that is located in Cass County in southwestern Michigan. This property was purchased in large part due to the extraordinary spring wildflower bloom but the very fertile soils that have never been plowed also contain a very diverse tree community for Michigan including some species which are quite rare for the state. Since my time was very limited at this site I decided to just try and find some of the tallest Ohio buckeyes. Upon entering the forest from the South you first walk through a young white pine plantation which eventually merges with some vigorous tuliptrees. I didn't measure any of these tuliptrees but they were probably no more than 110' tall. A couple of pictures follow.
Dowagiac1 (1).jpg
Dowagiac2.jpg
Once I went deeper into the forest, went down to and crossed the stream, I quickly began seeing Ohio buckeyes. The first one that I decided to measure was 3.48' (41.76") x 66' and after a bit of searching I found the biggest one that I would encounter on this visit. It measured 4.07' (48.84") x 87'. Below are four pictures of this tree. In the first two pictures the tree is in the center with the mossy base.
Dowagiac3.jpg
Dowagiac4.jpg
In this third picture the tree is located off to the left. Again, notice the mossy base.
Dowagiac5.jpg
The last picture is a shot up into the crown with the interesting, thick twigs.
Dowagiac6.jpg
These are the only Ohio buckeyes that I've ever measured and 87' is the greatest height for this species in the state as far as I know. The 'hard' maples at this site appear to be black maples. With the many pawpaws and Ohio buckeyes as well as black walnut and reports of chinkapin oak and I think also blue ash this site must have a good amount of lime as well as being very fertile.

Doug

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