Howland's Island

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by Steve Galehouse » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:14 pm

DougBidlack wrote:
how do you distinguish Freeman's maples from Silver and Red?

Doug

Doug-

I'll chime in, since Freeman maple is common in NE Ohio as well. Basically they are intermediate between red and silver maples, with leaf sinuses deeper than red but shallower than silver. They tend less to be multi-trunked compared with silver, and seem to be typically taller and more upright than red. Fall color can be red or yellow, or a combination---silver maple is almost always a mediocre yellow. I've attached a pic of a Freeman from a local park, showing the bark and a typical leaf. This tree, at 130.7', is the tallest maple I've found in the state.
Large.jpg
Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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ElijahW
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by ElijahW » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:31 am

Jess,

Thanks for including some of your observations about the Island and the surrounding area. You're right on about the general species makeup of the different forest types. I've heard that both black and green ash are common on the island, but I have trouble separating them from the white. I know the described differences in id books, but I'm not confident calling them either one or the other. Same thing with freeman maple - there's lots of the tall single-stem variety of silver maples on the Island, but the leaf sinuses are pretty deep, and I know there's plenty of normal looking silver maple around. So I take the lazy, cautious route and set the hybrids aside, at least until I become more comfortable with the id. I've heard of the kentucky coffeetrees, but have not come across any yet, and the same goes for the bladdernuts and shellbark hickories.

I have yet to explore most of the deeper swamp areas, where some of the tulip trees grow, and would be really excited to see something over 130'. I'm sure the Island can support many species at that height, as most of the forest is well under 100 years old.

Bitternut hickories in this part of Cayuga county tend to be pretty prolific in hedgerows and abandoned fields, with the sugar maple, basswood, and black cherry mixed in.

It appeared to me that all of the evergreens found on the Island were planted. Do you have any idea of what the conifer/hardwood makeup of the area would have been, pre-settlement? I've been wondering this for a while, but haven't found anything helpful on the history of Howland's Island other than Bob Mead's book.

Neil,

From what little I've read, the largest of the red oaks on Howland's Island are in a similar age bracket as your oaks (~150-200 years old). The trees surrounding the one I posted a picture of are obviously much younger, and many are probably its offspring. Quercus rubra is one of my favorite trees and probably the first oak that I could identify with any degree of confidence. Thanks for the comments and the pictures. I haven't been to Curtiss-Gale yet, though I'm within an hour's drive. It's on the list, for sure.

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

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Neil
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by Neil » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:04 am

hi Elijah,

do not try to find the older oaks and beech at Curtiss Gale from Rt 57. they are well hidden behind a plantation of Scots pine: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27409.html - hike through that stand towards the river. Can't miss it.

neil

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DougBidlack
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by DougBidlack » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:34 am

Steve,

thanks for the info. I guess I assumed that the leaves would be intermediate...bummer. That really muddies the situation between red and silver maples.

I normally think of red maple as being more upright growing than silver maple, do you agree? And you are saying that Freeman maple is more upright growing than red maple as opposed to being intermediate between the two? Maybe my assumption that red maple is more upright growing than silver maple is incorrect?

Doug

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by Steve Galehouse » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:19 am

DougBidlack wrote:
I normally think of red maple as being more upright growing than silver maple, do you agree? And you are saying that Freeman maple is more upright growing than red maple as opposed to being intermediate between the two? Maybe my assumption that red maple is more upright growing than silver maple is incorrect?

Doug
Doug-

From what I've observed Freeman maple is more upright than either red or silver, or at least it has a cleaner bole and a narrower crown compared with red, and seems to not "lean" like so many silver maples do. A link to a photo of a Freeman maple crown: http://alpha.treesdb.org/Photos/630/Large
When one sees the leaves in person they become less confusing, but generally resemble red more than silver.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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DougBidlack
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by DougBidlack » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:53 am

Steve,

I hope you are right about Freeman maples not being too difficult. Really love that photo of the tall Freeman maple.

Doug

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by Jess Riddle » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:55 pm

Doug,

I agree with Steve's comments on distiguishing Freeman maple. If you want a few more technical details, try http://joa.isa-arbor.com/request.asp?Jo ... 564&Type=2

Here's what the leaves look like at Howland Island
IMG_7152.JPG
Jess

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by Jess Riddle » Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:11 pm

Elijah,

There are some black ash along the causeway out to Hickory Hill, and a nice grove of them at the north end of that drumlin. The coffee-tree population is very small; the population appears to have been down to two mature individuals at one point, but they are now regenerating. If we can get out to the island together at some point, I can show you them, the shellbarks, and bladdernuts.

If hemlocks had been present on the island, I assume at least a few would have persisted, so I doubt conifers were present on the uplands prior to settlement. White pine, white cedar, and hemlock could have been major components of the forests in the low areas between drumlins. However, those areas could also have been red maple swamps, which seems more consistent with the few low lying forests left.

Jess

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by AndrewJoslin » Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:13 pm

DougBidlack wrote:Jess,

how do you distinguish Freeman's maples from Silver and Red?

Doug
Was wondering the same thing. Is this a relatively common hybrid?
-AJ

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ElijahW
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by ElijahW » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:32 pm

Jess,

I would love to make a trip out to the Island with you, but it may be a while. I don't expect to be back in CNY until early March or so. I was home for Christmas and asked my brother if he'd been over there during hunting season (he had), and he said the Savannah entrance was flooded up to his waist. I've been on the lookout for the kentucky coffeetrees as well as a supposed state champion chinkapin oak in the hickory hill area, but haven't located them yet. My suspicion is that the chinkapin oak is really one of the two large white oaks on the east end of the drumlin.

The ecological history of the Island really interests me, especially the types of trees that might have grown there before it was settled. I have the same feeling as you about the absence of hemlock, even though many areas on the Island would seem to support the species. Same thing for northern white and red cedar, white pine, and tamarack, but non-planted individuals are nowhere to be found.

This Freeman maple thing has me re-evaluating what I thought were simply tall, straight silver maples. I'll have to go out and give them a second look. The leaf pictures you posted look to me like silver maple, but I've been fooled before.

BTW, the hickory hill area seems to be the most diverse on the Island, even though it's obviously been cut over several times. The swamp area at the base of the hill supports tuliptree, black gum, beech, hickory, red maple, and sassafras, and the uplands are where I measured some of the tallest sugar maples, white ashes, red oaks, american elms, and sycamores.

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

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