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Re: extending an invitation to Michigan Ents.

How wonderful to see an account of the big Thujas on S. Manitou! I live near Green Bay and have oft looked in wonderment at maps of that island cluster over across the big lake. Incidentally, a grove of enormous N. white cedar used to exist at Maribel Caves County Park near the tiny hamlet of Maribel, WI, in Manitowoc County, an area with a great many of this species present. Those trees...or the largest of them I should say...used to be at the least Wisconsin champ but I believe a subsequent tornado has torn them up pretty bad. An interesting area of karst geology. Which brings me to the main point I wish to make: In seeking the "best" growth for N. white cedar, one must look in limestone zones, especially if that limestone happens to be dolomite. They just love dolomite regions.

Finally, I own a bit of land in central Oconto County, at roughly the same latitude as the trees in this thread. And while we're just beyond the limestone area, it seems to still exert some influence. We're chock full of "cedar" around there, and if one goes way back in the swamp, there are some very nice, tall ones in there. I'm not one to measure trees-so far anyway-but I'll bet these are at least 80-footers. An interesting thing that is most pronounced there- Thuja stands-as I'm sure many of you know- can be a near monoculture. Just about the only other tree species that has any presence within these stands on and near my Oconto Cty. land is paper birch. Interestingly, in far more cases than one would expect chance to dictate, a cedar tree and a big, very tall, and still-growing birch have completely intertwined each other, buddies for life I like to call it. Not one, not two, but quite a few examples of this odd phenomenon in that neck of the woods. If anyone would like to visit this cool, dark, and spring-laden area, get in touch with me. I'd be happy to show it off.
by wisconsitom
Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:18 pm
 
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Re: Wizard of Oz Oak Grove Feb. 2016

Nice report, Tom. Just one rhetorical question, for you or whomever: Ever notice anything strange about those "oak"....or were they beech trees in the Wizard of Oz? In short, they bore apples! Yes, these trees-again, they always looked like beech to me-had apples on them!

OK, just trying to levitate the mood here on this Monday! Carry on.........
by wisconsitom
Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:23 pm
 
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Re: Giant Koompassia excelsa trees

Indeed, yet another reason why I think the so-called "religions" of the world are largely irrelevant at best, and directly harmful at worst. To wit, I really like many aspects of Pope Francis. Finally someone who "gets it". Yet church ideology still promotes giant families, in places where there are simply way too many people already. Sorry for whoever's toes I've just stepped on-although on this board, I sense more of my mindset than usual-but this is how I see it.........the placing of man on a pedestal atop nature is problem number one.
by wisconsitom
Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:03 am
 
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Re: Yard Tree Stories

The phrase I hear far too often from folks goes something like....."well, I'd plant a tree, but I'll never live to see it grow"...or something on that order. Pish posh I say! In my dinky front yard, when we bought the house back in '81 was a truly mal-formed silver maple, trunk dbh of perhaps 12 or 14 inches, leaning WAY back towards our bungalow. Meanwhile, in the back yard was this city's largest of that species-a truly huge silver maple. I can't remember circumference but the tree was 90 ft. tall and nearly as wide. There were "limbs" of 24" to 30" or more inches in girth over our house, the neighbor's house....and the other neighbor's house on the other side of us! Big, big tree. Well the point of this is that that one with the terrible house-ward lean in the front yard simply was not going to stay. I cut it down quick. We then planted a Sorbus aucuparia for one Mother's Day, and as these things go, it grew well and lasted all of fifteen years or whatever it was-not long. Nice trees, just not long-lived. Then I took that down and subsequently we planted a 'Golden Raindrops" flowering crab in that spot. My point? We're already on our third tree just in that one little location! People say trees don't grow fast enough but we're through three of them already..........and to tell the truth, I'm not liking the crab all that much! The site has closed in with too much shade for that member of Rosaceae so flowering/fruiting has been sub par. It is not out of the question that tree number four could soon occupy this spot!
by wisconsitom
Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:03 am
 
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Re: Hefty bigtooth aspen in Bolton

Hah! One of my favorite species, even if not too terribly long-lived. It just gives the woods a little something-the color of the trunks when younger than the trees shown in this post, the interesting gray-green look of newly emerging foliage in the spring, and so on. We're planting a few up at our land this weekend. We've covered most all the bare field with trees but I've got a few higher humps I purposely left open for this tree of upland sites.
by wisconsitom
Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:41 am
 
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Re: Thuja occidentalis

Hi miwinski. Not sure if you're aware or not-no intent to insult your intelligence-nor do I necessarily know what all I've revealed in other threads related to this one....but Door County is a part of the Niagara Escarpment. Yes, a part of the very same chunk of limestone over which the famous falls plunges. And indeed, much study has been done of what turn out to be very ancient trees, growing very slowly, directly on some of those cliffs. That relates to the purpose I had in starting this thread, but is itself a different topic. What I'm reporting on here is the presence of very large specimens-not making any age claims-that are growing in this ultra-rocky county. Some of the soils are undoubtedly deeper, some less so, but overall, the conditions in this, the Bruce Peninsula of Ontario, and other maritime-influenced areas of the Great Lakes region having limestone at or near the surface, are such that very large specimens of white cedar can be found. So a sort of parallel issue-involving the same plant species-but in one case dealing with great antiquity, in the other, truly impressive size. In both instances, the trees could be very old. But white cedar in an ideal environment is not quite so slow-growing as the literature would have one believe.

In any case, should any of you have an interest in this species and care to check out an area having many, many specimens, and many, many very large ones, Door County is your place. And to break that down just a bit more, the "lake side" is both less developed and has more of the very large ones, it seems, as did also, the northern end of Washington Island. Rock Island is all white cedar, and there, the cliffs are especially dramatic. And the Garden Penninsula-that part of Upper Michigan which geologically-speaking is an extension of the Niagara Escarpment-is full of more of the same.
by wisconsitom
Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:22 am
 
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Re: Banyan Tree Islamorada Florida

Heh Larry....if it seems like I'm following you around the forum this morning....! In any case, once again, check out the Edison grounds in Fort Myers for a much, much larger Banyan. But again, this one is cool too.
by wisconsitom
Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:02 am
 
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Re: Kapok Tree Key West

Nice tree! You really need to view the much larger one at Edison grounds in Fort Myers. But this is cool.
by wisconsitom
Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:01 am
 
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Thuja occidentalis

Hey ENTS: So, spent the weekend in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. Been up there many a time, yet this trip surprised me in a number of ways. First, although the entirety of Door Cty.is T. occidentalis central, what with it's Niagara Escarpment limestone bedrock (The species is a strong calciphile), I ran into numerous groves of truly huge "northern white cedars"......far more than I would have expected. So, although I'm not a real tree measurer, and certainly not by the standards here, I would urge anyone interested in documenting large specimens of this fascinating species to visit the area on the lake side-that's Lake Michigan, as opposed to the bay side, ie. the bay of Green Bay-to poke around near Jacksonport and Bailey's Harbor. Then, take the ferry up to Washington Island and explore that island's relatively wild north shore region. Limestone bluffs cascading down to the lake are simply beautiful beyond description, so I won't try, but man, the "cedar" here is almost unbelievable.

This would not be one of my posts if it didn't contain at least a note of depressing factoids, and this is no exception: Door County is under heavy development pressure, with rich guys building mansions along the shore in many areas, and these lakeshore areas are the very sections where the Thuja is-of course-at its best. But there are many large reserves present as well, and the developers haven't gotten to everywhere yet. Honestly, like I said, I'm not a true ENT, at least in terms of measuring trees, but I've got to think there's at least a new state record somewhere in this zone, especially now that a tornado took down the huge ones at Maribel Caves in Manitowoc County, just south of the area I reference here.

Hemlock, white spruce, sugar maple, white ash (too bad about EAB), beech, and paper and yellow birch make up a bunch of the rest of the forest. So there's that too. White pines are never at their best in Door Cty. it seems. Oh, sure there's some good ones, but overall, I think they do better in more acid soil areas of the state. Red pine is a poor option here, but there are some of course. But for the trees I mention in the first part of this post, man oh man.....I tells ya.....it's something else.
by wisconsitom
Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:47 pm
 
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Re: Bear attack! (On my Doug-fir tree?!?!)

Tree appears to be planted too deeply. You want to be able to see the root flare when done planting. In this case, the root flare is buried, and in time, that will kill this tree. I'd recommend digging it back up, planting it correctly, staking if needed-for no more than one year-your tree is weak from being staked for 5 years. We never do that. If stake is required, it definitely comes off after one year. Five is way too long. You very likely weakened the tree forever with that stake. Trees develop trunk strength when they flex in the wind. With that stake on there, it has not had to develop its own strength and it hasn't.

I also doubt the bear angle to this story. Buck rub seems far more likely, although I will admit, most buck rubs I see end up worse than that.
by wisconsitom
Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:02 pm
 
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Re: New MA state champion yellow birch

Impressive allegheniensis! Keeping in mind this species predilection towards starting life atop a rotting stump or log, it's quite common to see large old yellopw birch "standing on stilts" the old stump or log having long since rotted away. But this is a nice one and I agree that the form is great.
by wisconsitom
Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:26 am
 
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Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Soil pH and CEC-cation exchange capacity-are two factors of extreme relevance to where a given plant species ends up not just living, but thriving. Botanists of the past sometimes thought the distribution of native species across the continent was a complete mystery,with no underlying factors. The great plantsman Fernald showed this to be nonsense: using tow quite opposite species, albeit both conifers, he used the soil requirements of jack pine and northern white cedar to show that these two occupied opposite ends of the soil pH spectrum. Without going into those particular details, it can be shown that soil pH and the presence or absence of good supplies of mineral nutrients like calcium and magnesium say as much about where plant species end up as anything else. In the case of jack pine, it thrives only in areas of very poor, sandy soil, with low pH and little CEC. Northern white cedar-a plant which most of you only know of as a hamburger-bun-shaped shrub outside somebody's foundation, is a vigorous grower in the forests of places like eastern Wisconsin, eastern UP of Michigan, NE Maine, and adjacent New Brunswick...and a handful of other locations, you will have never seen this tree in its actual habitat. It is a tree, with space between its branches, not a horribly dense, ungainly thing. Very beautiful trees, among the very best. But only doing well in areas where either dolomitic limestone is at or near the surface.......or where glaciation has dragged such materials back or forth into an area. These are the areas where this tree reaches its maximal growth. So it is related to glaciation, but not so simple as the initial subject of this thread.
by wisconsitom
Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:01 am
 
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Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

You're most welcome, Andrew. Indeed, after a time, one can just about "read" the soil of any given area by the vegetation it supports. Wisconsin may be an extreme case-glaciers really mixed things up here-but the basic relationship holds everywhere one cares to look. When I bought land for my "tree farm", I wanted to be in what I dub "the cedar belt", that part of my state where, either because of underlying dolomite, or because of some unknown glaciation factor, northern white cedar does well and is especially vigorous and healthy. It is thought that where limestone (dolomite) is not present at or near the surface, than in order for these relatively high-pH soils to form, material from a lime-rich area would have had to have been dragged back or forth into the area. Such must be the case where we are-the cedar grows exactly like it does across the bay in Door County, and that entire county is but one segment of the Niagara Escarpment. But where we are, sandstone is the underlying rock formation. And we have springs that feature mineral-rich waters. This is where "cedar" really grows. There are many places where it is present. But only in those lime-rich regions of the NE US and SE Canada that this species really kicks into high gear. Thus it is that a plant community that iIve seen all my life and take for granted is actually one which very few people, even those who fancy trees and forest, have ever seen.
by wisconsitom
Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:21 am
 
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