A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

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#11)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby dbhguru » Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:29 pm

Tom,

  Thanks for bringing Lilydale back up on my radar. I remember it pretty well. I was extremely impressed by the black cherries. They are the best I've personally seen in NY. Did Ed show you any of the whoppers in Cook Forest?

Bob
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#12)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby Larry Tucei » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:38 pm

Guys-   Wow those Cherry Trees are enormous and that Red Oak is a Monster!!!!!   Looks like a fantastic place to visit. If you didn't find any downed Pines then I would guess that they were cut out.  Nice report.  Larry
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#13)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby Erik Danielsen » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:28 pm

Here's an anecdote I pulled up from an old facebook discussion regarding the woods at Leolyn:

"An odd experience I had at Leolyn woods many years +/-30 ago (Lily Dales old forest). As a NYSDEC forester, I occasionally visited Lily Dale because I enjoyed the big old trees, and also because the Dales bylaws required a DEC approval prior to cutting a tree on the grounds, most memorably the "healing tree", a huge hemlock, the bark of which supposedly had healing properties. But that's another story.
Anyhow I once thought it would be interesting to measure the height of the towering white pines, most of which are now gone. I took my trusty Suunto clinometer, a sturdy, liquid-filled Swedish- made instrument out of its leather case. I raised it to my eye to take a shot, but the bearing had fallen off its pivot, rendering it useless. I had carried it around for years and had taken thousands of measurements with It and had no memory of having dropped it recently. Strange indeed! The trees did not want to be measured? Mind you, I have absolutely no belief in anything supernatural. In any case, I had the clinometer repaired and later returned to measure them when they were in a better mood. The tallest were about 135 feet..."

I do some work for the fellow who posted this story, so I can also relate what he told me about the "healing tree." Decades ago, he was asked to come examine this monstrous hemlock to make sure it was still healthy. The concerned individuals were worried by the fact that all of its needles had been brown for a couple years, and thought something might be wrong with it. What he found was that people who believed this particular tree's bark to have healing properties had over the years stripped pieces of bark from it, which they "replaced" with patches of reddish paint, all the way around the tree at roughly hand-height, effectively girdling it. The tree was dead, of course.

Pine that died in the pet cemetery section probably was removed before it could fall. There are still standing white pine snags (and probably down logs) in the central stand. My rangefinder is back in working order so I intend to return again soon; I'm pretty sure there's one more white pine based on pictures I took this spring.
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#14)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby Erik Danielsen » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:50 pm

I had some spare time today after working somewhere close to Lilydale so I figured I'd better take advantage of the opportunity to keep filling out the numbers for this awesome forest. As the leaves have started to turn and fall, new windows into the canopy have opened to enable measurements that were impossible a month ago, particularly the ancient red oak and the second white pine. That said, reading over Tom's numbers it looks like only a few of the trees I measured today were repeats from that session, which really speaks to how many awesome specimens are present here. Additionally, adding numbers for hemlock, sugar maple, beech, white ash and a hickory I'm not sure of along with augmenting the numbers for the species already reported on here (black cherry, white pine, red maple, cucumber magnolia, northern red oak, and yellow birch) we can put together a decent RHI. This should account for nearly all the species present at Leolyn. I did find some striped maple though none tree-sized and a substantial tree in the near-dark as I left that may be a walnut, and basswood is present but has yet to be measured here.

Today's numbers:

Hemlock:
126.69'          134.65"cbh
121.12'          112.99"cbh  
121.02'          129.13"cbh
119.4'            113.39"cbh
117.78'          149.61"cbh
117.62'          118.9"cbh
115.85'           98.43"cbh
115.5'            113.39"cbh
112.21'          127.17"cbh
107.66'          135.03"cbh  This hemlock struck me subjectively as the most ancient-looking present, very compact crown, bark red as can be

Black Cherry
126.18'          114.96"cbh
123.2'            141.73"cbh
113.4'            112.2"cbh
112.09'            96.06"cbh
110.88'           131.1"cbh
107.17'           119.68"cbh

Sugar Maple
121.47"          111.81"cbh
108.87'           112.6"cbh
105.9'              98.42"cbh

American Beech
110.58'           114.17"cbh
109.5'             102.76"cbh
101.28'           106.3"cbh

White Ash
123'                111.02"cbh
112.09'           109.84"cbh

Northern Red Oak
116.1'             135.43"cbh  This is the same oak Tom shot straight up to at least 114.5' in august.
110.13'           100.79"cbh
103.83'           169"c(5'6")h This is the giant leaning oak, the tip of its crown revealed by a young red maple shedding early.

Hickory- I believe either pignut or mockernut, bark photos will be added soon. Didn't find any down branches at this time to aid in ID.
101.12'            85.43"cbh

White Pine
139'               125.2"cbh  This is the more slender white pine whose top couldn't be found in august. The view this time was pretty definitive.
125.62'          131.89"cbh This is probably the tallest-standing snag, bare where it emerges from the canopy. Beautiful all the same.

So this yields a RHI5 of 127.87 and a RHI10 of 119.88. Including yellow birch for an RHI11 drops to 117.24. Aside from white pine, cucumber magnolia and probably northern red oak I don't think we've measured the actual site maximums for any of these species, though we're probably close.

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#15)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby tomhoward » Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:56 pm

Erik,

These are great height numbers. Leolyn Woods is truly an exceptional old growth forest. The Black Cherries and Hemlocks are especially impressive; the 130 ft. Black Cherries measured in 2001 (as far as I know, the only time before our Aug. 2014 outing that trees have been measured in this stand) are still probably lurking somewhere in the grove. Hemlock and Black Cherry are probably taller there than anywhere else in NY. The giant Red Oak is even greater than I ever imagined it to be.

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#16)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby Erik Danielsen » Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:04 pm

Well, the 149.68"cbh hemlock would need a crown spread of just 12 feet to unseat the current co-champs on the state big tree register, problematic as that document may be. So they're definitely among the biggest in the state, and probably exceed the listed champs. However I feel like I remember reading of a hemlock in the 140s somewhere up in the adirondacks? I can't find the original source anymore. The tallest for the state in the trees database is just 96.8'. Does anyone have an authoritative number on the tallest hemlock measured in NYS so far?

I'd be thrilled if these were indeed the tallest. I'd also be unsurprised if further measuring with the leaves down this winter yields specimens over 130 for each of those species.
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#17)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby ElijahW » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:28 am

Erik,

The 96.8' hemlock is on Howland's Island, and is not an old tree.  The best in-state competition for your Lilydale hemlock will probably come from Green Lakes State Park or somewhere in the vastness of the Adirondacks; just where, I don't know.  From what I've seen, white pine is the only species to do exceptional things height-wise in the Adirondacks, but I don't see any reason why its evergreen associates (hemlock, spruces, red pine, and balsam fir) shouldn't be able to set records, too, given the right growing conditions.

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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#18)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby dbhguru » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:04 pm

Erik,

 I don't have a good sense of what the maximum hemlock height for NY would be. It almost assuredly is close to 140 feet, but I don't think that can happen in the Dacks. I expect the low 120s represents the hemlocks best performance in the Dacks. My best is 118 feet.

Bob
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#19)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby greenent22 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 3:07 am

Man, that's one exceptional forest.
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#20)  Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Postby Erik Danielsen » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:24 pm

Today I managed to carve out an hour and a half to meet up with my friend Chris Merchant (who just joined the boards here) to do a bit more measuring at lilydale. My focus for the trip was to keep working on the hemlocks with the goal being to push them up past 130 feet. The visit was brief, but there are some exciting numbers and discoveries to share.

First, that third surviving white pine has finally turned up, but not for long. Fully half of the trunk all the way up to the crown is bare wood, no bark at all. It measures 8.96' cbh. The crown is complex so I'm not sure I shot the real top but I measured 123.06' in height. The needles are getting pale and I doubt this tree will make it through the winter.

In the same area are at least 4 trees that demand a proper visit in the near future- the girthiest forest-grown red maple I think I've ever seen, a red oak at the edge of the woods that's at least 4' in diameter, a black cherry just as thick that may be the exceptional specimen in Tom's recollections, and the only shagbark hickory I've seen on site, no more than 6'cbh but at least 115' tall from a straight-up shot on the go.

Prior to being in such a hurry, I measured several hemlocks and black cherries. Nothing new for the cherries, but the hemlocks did deliver- 125.03'/9.08'cbh, 129.15', and finally one at 131.33'/9.78'cbh. These were all near the old pine snags and may have competed with them in the past, with the tallest competing within a cluster of other 120ish hemlocks and tall black cherry all around.

Chris took some photos so hopefully we'll have those up here soon, and I'll update the rhi as well.

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