Cayuga Lake State Park

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

User avatar
tomhoward
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:15 pm

Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by tomhoward » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:04 pm

On this sunny, rather cool (about 69 F), sometimes breezy day, Elijah Whitcomb and I explored Cayuga Lake State Park.

This site consists of lawns with big trees (mainly White Oak, Red Oak, Pignut Hickory), and forested ravines leading back from Cayuga Lake. The forest in the ravines is mostly old growth, and is quite spectacular with tall hardwoods, especially Pignut Hickory and its variants. It is an Appalachian Oak-Hickory forest, a forest type rare this far north, with typical Appalachian species like Cucumber Magnolia, Rhododendron. It is the finest forest dominated by Oaks and Hickories that I have ever seen. The old growth seems to cover about 7 acres in at least 2 ravines. Maintained trails and dirt roads provide access to these ravines. The oldest trees could be White Oaks 200-300 years old, and Red Oaks almost as old. The Hickories also look very old with balding bark and gnarled crowns. The abundant Tuliptrees, which should be the tallest trees on the site, look younger, without much balding bark or battered crowns. This forest was probably selectively logged long ago, with Hemlock and possibly White Pine, taken out. This may explain the younger looking Tuliptrees, and the lack of large Hemlocks.

Even though they are old, the White Oaks of Cayuga Lake SP do not look as old as the ancient, gnarled White Oaks of the North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove, but they are bigger than the Cemetery Grove White Oaks with larger crowns, but with not as much balding bark, crooked branches as the North Syracuse Cemetery Grove White Oaks. Cayuga Lake SP seems to be a good site for White Oak growth, whereas the North Syracuse Cemetery Grove is a poor growth site.

Trees (and some shrubs) seen in and near the old growth forest at Cayuga Lake State Park:

Dominant: White Oak, Red Oak, Pignut Hickory

Associate: Black Oak, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Norway Maple, Boxelder, Tuliptree, White Ash, Green Ash, Black Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Black Walnut, Cucumber Magnolia, Basswood, Bitternut Hickory, White Pine, Red Pine, Hemlock, Black Locust, Flowering Dogwood, Sassafras (small), American Elm, Witch Hazel, Rhododendron, Beech (possibly)

Near the parking lot we came to an area of big old Oaks and Hickories in a lawn. A Hickory that could be Red Hickory (7 leaflets) was 29.2” dbh. Near it was another Hickory (5 leaflets, should be Pignut), Elijah measured a height of 102 ft. on this tree. In the same area, Elijah measured a big Red Oak to 105 ft.

Near a picnic shelter we examined a big Hickory (29.9” dbh, height 105.1 ft. which I measured Aug. 27, 2015 when Jack Howard and I visited this site). This is the tree that I believed could be a rare (in this part of the country) Shellbark Hickory. Elijah and I found that the nuts and leaves of this tree are too small to be Shellbark Hickory. The bark looks like pictures I’ve seen of Shellbark, and the leaves have the right 7 leaflets. Could this tree be a hybrid between Pignut and Shellbark, or a variant of Pignut? Shellbark is native to this part of the Finger Lakes.

We took a mostly paved path into what we would discover to be a diverse old growth Oak-Hickory forest in a ravine.

Slender Tuliptree at beginning of ravine: 115.3 ft.

Elijah got 112 ft. on another slender Tuliptree.

Elijah found a Cucumber Magnolia leaf on the ground, and we found a rather big Cucumber Magnolia tree with huge leaves, on the hillside, joined to a bigger and taller White Oak.

In this same area, Elijah counted at least 200 tight rings on a Red Oak stump.

Across the ravine, down the steep slope, I measured a soaring Pignut Hickory, with a small, but complex crown of crooked branches, and balding bark near the base. It is an old tree. I measured its height to 123.5 ft. This is the tallest tree we would measure on this day, the tallest Pignut Hickory that we know of in upstate NY. Elijah climbed down into the ravine, and measured the tall Pignut Hickory at 7 ft. cbh.

Up the hill behind the Pignut Hickory is a very large Cucumber Magnolia (Elijah got 9ft. 2” cbh), an old tree with balding bark. We only saw 2 large Cucumber Magnolias at Cayuga Lake SP. They are tropical looking with their huge leaves, and look out of place in this forest, but they are perfectly at home in the Appalachian Oak-Hickory forest, of which this is a northern outlier. I measured the big Cucumber Magnolia to 109.8 ft., tallest of its species in central NY.

Elijah was very impressed by the tall, old Pignut Hickory and big and tall Cucumber Magnolia.

In the same area, are many Tuliptrees that seem to be a little over 120 ft. tall, and Elijah got a straight up shot of over 123 ft. on one of these Tuliptrees. In this same area, there are a few small Sassafras trees, and shrubby Rhododendrons. Elijah measured an old looking Tuliptree with furrowed bark on that hill to 10 ft. 1” cbh.

Near the trail we came to a big Black Oak, 9 ft. 9” cbh, with balding bark, which I measured to 110.6 ft., the tallest Black Oak in central NY, tallest Black Oak in NY outside Washington Grove City Park in Rochester.

A gnarly old looking White Oak on a hill is 92.6 ft.

In the same area, Elijah found a slender Flowering Dogwood that he measured to a height of at least 40 ft., the tallest we’ve ever seen of this species; this could be the tallest Flowering Dogwood in NY.

Looking down into the ravine, Elijah measured a Basswood to 112 ft.

I measured a Tuliptree with forking trunk near this Basswood to 110.9 ft.

Elijah got at least 123 ft. on 2 more Tuliptrees.

Near the end of the ravine, we entered a grove of young Black Locusts over 90 ft. tall. We were near NY highway 89.

We went back into the ravine, re-entered this wonderful old growth forest. I measured a big White Oak (10 ft. 1” cbh) in the ravine to 99.3 ft.

In the same area, Elijah measured a Bitternut Hickory to 89 ft., and a small Sugar Maple to 75 ft. Red Maples in the ravine do not reach the canopy. We saw some small American Elms in this area.

Red Oak and Cucumber Magnolia are reproducing.

Elijah found another Flowering Dogwood at least 40 ft. tall, this time with 2 slender trunks. When we came near the end of the ravine toward the lake, Elijah measured a slender double-trunked Red Maple to 95 ft.

Back in the lawn toward the lake are 3 big Hickories with bark similar to Shagbark, but not nearly as shaggy, and with 5-7 leaflets. Could they be crosses between Shellbark and Pignut, or another variant of Pignut?

We re-entered the forest on a grassy trail, where Black Locusts are common among big White and Red Oaks. Elijah measured a slender Black Locust to 106 ft., tallest in central NY, and a nearby big Red Oak to 105 ft. In the same area, Elijah measured a Hemlock to 85 ft. Pignut Hickory dominates much of this section. In this same area, Elijah measured a slender White Pine to 102 ft.

We walked to the north end of the park, where there are many large Red Oaks and Pignut Hickories. Elijah measured the tallest tree in this section, a Pignut Hickory near the road and at the edge of the forest, a tree Jack and I noticed Aug. 27, to 119.8 ft.

We entered the northernmost ravine on a dirt road. I measured a White Oak in this section to 111.6 ft.

Elijah measured 2 Red Oaks (one 13 ft.6” cbh) in the same area to 109 ft.

This section of the ravine is old growth with many Rhododendrons under big White Oaks and Pignut Hickories, a classic Appalachian old growth Oak-Hickory forest scene.

I measured a big Pignut Hickory with somewhat shaggy bark, in this ravine to 119.1 ft. This is only the highest point visible – the tree is taller.

We quickly left the old growth, and near a cabin, entered an open grove of slender young White Pines; Elijah got 96 ft., 95 ft. on 2 of them, and he measured a slender Red Pine in their midst to 88 ft. (could be tallest in central NY).

We re-entered the forest on another dirt road among big Pignut Hickories. Elijah measured a Red Maple to 91 ft.+.

We left Cayuga Lake State Park after 5 P.M. and searched for the area’s other old growth site, a small, but diverse growth in a ravine in Seneca Falls Cemetery that I last visited in July 2003. We found the site, and there are many big trees there. The ravine (at least the part of it that we saw) was too steep to enter. Some trees seen include White Oak (big), Red Oak, Bur Oak, Hophornbeam, Beech, lots of Basswood, Tuliptree, Shagbark Hickory, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Cucumber Magnolia, thorny Honey Locust.

We saw 2 big Cucumber Magnolias in the ravine, and one of them seemed to be taller than all the other trees around it. It is near a big Beech tree. I got a height of at least 101.2 ft. for the Cucumber Magnolia. The tree is taller as I could not see the topmost twigs, and the base is at least one foot lower than I could see. This tree should be at least 105 ft. tall.

Elijah and I returned to the Syracuse area.

Tree Heights measured at Cayuga Lake State Park Sept. 20, 2015:

Pignut Hickory 102
Red Oak 105
White Oak 110+
Tuliptree 115.3
Tuliptree 112
Pignut Hickory 123.5 (Tom Howard, tallest upstate NY)
Cucumber Magnolia 109.8 (Tom Howard, tallest central NY)
Tuliptree 123+
Black Oak 110.6 (Tom Howard, tallest central NY)
White Oak 92.6
Flowering Dogwood 40+ (Elijah Whitcomb, tallest NY)
Flowering Dogwood 40+ (Elijah Whitcomb, tallest NY)
Basswood 112
Tuliptree 110.9
Tuliptree 123+
Tuliptree 123+
White Oak 99.3
Bitternut Hickory 89
Sugar Maple 75
Red Maple 95
Black Locust 106 (Elijah Whitcomb, tallest central NY)
Red Oak 105
Hemlock 85
White Pine 102
Pignut Hickory 119.8
White Oak 111.6
Red Oak 109
Red Oak 109
Pignut Hickory 119.1+
White Pine 96
White Pine 95
Red Pine 88 (Elijah Whitcomb, tallest central NY)
Red Maple 91+

Heights in feet measured by Elijah Whitcomb and Tom Howard of NTS by Sine method



Tallest Trees by species measured at Cayuga Lake State Park Sept. 20, 2015:

Pignut Hickory 123.5 tallest upstate NY
Tuliptree 123
Basswood 112
White Oak 111.6
Black Oak 110.6 tallest central NY
Cucumber Magnolia 109.8 tallest central NY
Red Oak 109
Black Locust 106 tallest central NY
White Pine 102
Red Maple 95
Bitternut Hickory 89
Red Pine 88 tallest central NY
Hemlock 85
Sugar Maple 75
Flowering Dogwood 40 tallest NY

Cayuga Lake State Park Rucker 10:

Pignut Hickory 123.5
Tuliptree 123
Basswood 112
White Oak 111.6
Black Oak 110.6
Cucumber Magnolia 109.8
Red Oak 109
Black Locust 106
White Pine 102
Red Maple 95

Rucker 10: 110.25 ft.

Cayuga Lake State Park Rucker 5:

Pignut Hickory 123.5
Tuliptree 123
Basswood 112
White Oak 111.6
Black Oak 110.6

Rucker 5: 116.14 ft.


Tom Howard

User avatar
Lucas
Posts: 837
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:55 am

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by Lucas » Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:41 pm

Great report. We need pictuures
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

User avatar
tomhoward
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:15 pm

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by tomhoward » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:43 pm

I forgot to mention the date of this visit. Elijah and I went to Cayuga Lake State Park Sun. Sept. 20. I do not have digital camera.

Tom Howard

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by ElijahW » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:16 am

Tom,

Fine report. I'll post more when I get home this weekend.

Lucas, photos will be coming. I took plenty, especially of the hickories. This was a great site, indeed.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by ElijahW » Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:58 pm

NTS,

Here are some photos for y'alls' perusal: I know I've posted pictures before of hickories that confuse me, so I apologize, but I am not repentant: I'll keep posting pictures of hickories until I figure out what I'm looking at in the woods (Thank you in advance).

What I think is pignut hickory or some combination of pignut-red hickory:
DSC00584.JPG
DSC00585.JPG
DSC00586.JPG
DSC00587.JPG
What I'm not sure about (photos all of the same tree, but not the same tree as the previous set of photos). Note the similarity of the nuts, but the dissimilarity of the bark and leaves:
DSC00589.JPG
DSC00590.JPG
DSC00591.JPG
DSC00592.JPG
What Tom thought might be shellbark hickory (a third individual tree). Again, note the similarity of the nut to the previous trees, but the dissimilarity of the bark:
DSC00609.JPG
DSC00610.JPG
DSC00611.JPG
Here's some more general pics of our outing:
Red oak, foreground; Cayuga Lake, background
Red oak, foreground; Cayuga Lake, background
123' Pignut hickory left, Tuliptree right
123' Pignut hickory left, Tuliptree right
White oak with a gnarly base
White oak with a gnarly base
40'+ Flowering Dogwood bark
40'+ Flowering Dogwood bark
Rhododendron growing in the ravine
Rhododendron growing in the ravine
Cucumber magnolia
Cucumber magnolia
Cuke seed.  These were falling in their pods as I was underneath the tree.
Cuke seed. These were falling in their pods as I was underneath the tree.
I'd like to hear some opinions on the hickories, if anyone can help. My opinion is that all of these photos represent some form of pignut or red hickory and their variants. Until a few years ago, however, I could not distinguish hickories from ashes, so I admittedly don't have a lot of confidence in my opinion. Thanks in advance,

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

User avatar
Jess Riddle
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:59 am

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by Jess Riddle » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:42 am

Elijah,

Nice trees! Both fruit photos you posted look like typical red hickory. The bark and leaves are a little more ambiguous to me. The bark generally seems rough enough for red, but it is a little surprising that more of the leaves don't have seven leaflets. Overall, I'd lean towards red over pignut. Definitely no shellbarks.

Jess

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by ElijahW » Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:42 pm

Thanks, Jess.

Tom and I figured probably both pignut and red hickory were present or at least some combination of the two. This park has a nice open lawn with lots of these hickories, so comparison between the individuals, at least with the nuts, lower bark, and lower leaves is easy. The trees may have more leaves with seven leaflets further up in the crown, but it was hard to tell. The 123' hickory seemed to be clearly pignut, but perhaps that's a different expression of age and size. Tom and I are getting a crash-course in hickories recently; on the trip we took today we measured another one, a pignut or red, to at least 123'. But more on that later...

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

User avatar
bbeduhn
Posts: 1131
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:23 pm

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:49 am

Shellbark hickory is also known as kingnut because their shells are huge. The bark on the supposed shellbark is perplexing.
Reds usually have much more peely bark but they can vary substantially. Where red and pignut share soil, they can blend together pretty well. I notice some where one half of the tree has pignut bark and the other half has red. As far as the nuts go, I have yet to find a true medium between red and pig.
This is a nice comparison on hickory nuts--too bad you cannot always find the nuts: http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/pages/carya-fruits.htm
http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/pages/c ... kories.htm

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by ElijahW » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:57 pm

NTS,

I had an unexpected free afternoon today, and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather in making a follow-up visit to Cayuga Lake SP. My mission was to pick up more visual differences between Red and Pignut hickory, which are both present here. I'm feeling better now about my judgment, though I'm far from an expert. Some trees appear to be clearly Red or clearly Pignut, but some still seem intermediate.

I also took the opportunity to remeasure a few trees and measure a few new ones. Here's what I got:

Pignut hickory
125.8' x 7' (previously 123.5', new top from different vantage point)

Red hickory
108.1' x 5'9"

Tuliptree
127.9'
124.1' x 10'1" (previously 123', new top)

Cucumber magnolia

110.7' x 9'2" (previously 109', new top)
100.0'

White ash
109.3' x 7'2"

Flowering dogwood
56.3' x 1'7"
51.5' x 1'9"
38.1' (trunk splits near ground level; previously measured at 40' with straight-up laser shot)

Witch hazel
27.6' (multi-trunked; seems to be tallest of several tree-size individuals)

Rosebay rhododendron
13.1' x 6" (one of several stems)

The Pignut becomes again the tallest known in NY, but the surprise for me was the dogwoods and witch hazel. Both species here are far taller than any others I've come across. I think this site, especially the old-growth portion, is a very unique place. Tom and I probably could improve on the other species present in future trips, as well.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4484
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Cayuga Lake State Park

Post by dbhguru » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:24 pm

Elijah,

Central NY keeps on giving. I'm still marveling over Green Lake's RHI. Who would have thought. Do you have a summary of NY's RHIs?

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

Post Reply

Return to “New York”