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3 year Chestnut blight survivor

I have been watching over some chestnut sprouts in various clearcuts in Tar Hollow State Forest for the last 10 years or so. It was fun to watch them grow, and no so fun to watch them fail as the blight settled in on them. In general, it seems to take ~ 3 years for the blight to kill a small tree, say 3"-5" dbh, once it gets established. Curiously, it does seem like a small tree can handle a single canker, walling it off with fresh callous once it gets the size of your fist or so. However, once a single canker gets established, it soon spawns numerous secondary cankers all over the trunk and nearby branches. It does seem like the shear number of cankers is what dooms the tree, as if it has only so much fungi fighting ability that is exhausted when attacked in numerous locations. It's pretty common to see a smallish canker start to burl up with callous and stabilize for a season or two. Inevitably though, the fungus reasserts itself and breaks out of the callous to girdle and kill the tree.

Anyway in one clearcut I've watch a half dozen or so sprouts die off back to the roots. However, there is one survivor of the group that has survived 3 years under heavy attack, more or less intact.

Pictures from Sept 2013:

Compared to Oct 2016:

It's lost a few branches in the crown, but somehow it is still hanging tough:


I picked 16 nuts off of it this year.
by Rand
Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:07 pm
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY


Pharaoah Lake Trail (Crane Pond to Pharaoh Lake) 5/6/17

White Pine

137.1' x 10'3"

Red Pine

107.3' x 6'11"

Red Spruce

98' x 6'10"




86.3' x 5'6"

Sugar Maple

119.4' x 9'5"

American Basswood

100.3' x 10'4"

Yellow Birch

93.5' x 10'4"

Hiking south from Crane Pond and its several 140+' White pines, I expected to find some dandies on the way to Pharaoh Lake, but that didn't happen. Though this trail had many pines in the same age class, they were generally less than 130' tall and 8-10' in circumference.

All the hardwoods grew on a east-facing slope between 1400 and 1500' in elevation. Some trees in this area appear to have significant age, especially the scattered Yellow birches. White ash and Basswood may exceed 120' farther downslope.

A few of the Red pines on this trail, though not particularly large, look very old. Other than the impressive hardwood slope, I think the soil is shallow and of average quality.

Approaching Pharaoh Lake, I ran across several 90'+ Red spruces, and I look forward to checking them out soon.
As a bonus, a 134' White pine along the Sacandaga River, town of Wells, Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area:

by ElijahW
Sun May 07, 2017 1:25 am
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