North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove Dec. 28, 2015

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North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove Dec. 28, 2015

Post by tomhoward » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:40 pm


On this now cloudy very cold day (Mon. Dec. 28, 2015), after we left the Liverpool School Maple Grove, Elijah Whitcomb and I surveyed the North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove and surrounding area. It was an excellent visit. We first explored the 2nd growth forest just north of the old growth oak grove. I got a straight up shot of 90.5 ft. on the biggest Sassafras (6’ cbh, 22.9” dbh) in the north. This tree is the Onondaga County champion, tallest Sassafras in Onondaga County. There are several scars up the trunk, with the outer layers of bark rubbed off.

Just east of this tree is a fine grove of rather young Yellow Birch, the largest stand of this species in North Syracuse. I got 74.8 ft. on a double-trunked Yellow Birch, and Elijah got 83.9 ft. on another Yellow Birch (4’2” cbh, 15.9” dbh), tallest known Yellow Birch in northern Onondaga County. There are no Black Birches on this site.

We entered the old growth oak grove, and it is an awesome place, far denser than the Liverpool Maple Grove. Elijah said that this is the best oak forest outside Washington Grove in Rochester, but the North Syracuse Grove is much denser than Washington Grove, and is possibly older than Washington Grove. The ancient, most likely 300 (or more) year old White Oaks of the North Syracuse Cemetery Oak Grove, are a glorious sight, a dense stand of crooked trees, filling the sky with ancient, writhing wood. Elijah said that the canopy of the oak grove is basically flat-topped, about 110 ft. tall. Despite recent rains, there was no water in the vernal pool in the center of the grove.

Numbers on trees in this report refer to the 1999 brochure Robert Henry and I developed about this grove.

I measure a young Red Oak west of massive old White Oak #33 to 99.3 ft.

Elijah got 112 ft. on White Oak #24, one of the tallest and oldest trees in the densest part of the stand.

Elijah got 108 ft. on White Oak #10, a big, but not terribly old, tree to the southwest.

Elijah got a height of 109.6 ft. on the grove’s largest tree, the extremely difficult to measure (because of wide, complex crown) Black Oak #27, the Onondaga County champion (12’2” cbh, 46.5” dbh), single-trunked, forest-grown, over 200 years old. This is the tallest Black Oak in Onondaga County. From the ground, the highest point does not look like the highest point; this is often the case with large trees like this.

Elijah got 111.1 ft. on massive old White Oak #16, a tree with extreme balding bark, crooked limbs. When Joan Maloof visited the grove Nov. 30, 2012, she estimated this tree to be at least 300 years old.

I got 113 ft. on straight up shot on White Oak #23, a massive gnarled tree in the densest part of the grove. This is the greatest height I’ve ever gotten in the grove, and this is the tallest White Oak I know of in central NY.

Elijah got 110.5 ft. on nearby Red Oak #26, a big tree that lost most of its crown in a storm in July 1994. It is now the tallest Red Oak in the grove.

Elijah found 2 slender White Ashes in the 2nd growth forest southeast of the oak grove. The first White Ash (3’3” cbh, 12.4” dbh) is 104.4 ft. tall, and the second (4’6” cbh, 17.1” dbh) is 105.4 ft. tall.

Back in the old growth grove, I got 107 ft. on a straight up shot of old, gnarled White Oak #14.

Tallest of each species as of Dec. 28, 2015:

White Oak 113 12/28/2015
Red Oak 110.5 12/28/2015
Black Oak 109.6 12/28/2015
Red Maple 107 11/27/2015
Black Gum 82 11/12/2012
Sassafras 90.5 12/28/2015
Yellow Birch 83.9 12/28/2015
White Ash 105.4 12/28/2015
White Pine 110.8 11/27/2015

Trees measured Dec. 28, 2015:

Sassafras #41 90.5 north of Grove, Onondaga County champion, tallest Onondaga County
Yellow Birch 83.9 north of Grove
Yellow Birch 74.8 north of Grove
Young Red Oak 99.3
White Oak #24 112
White Oak #10 108
Black Oak #27 109.6 Onondaga County champion, largest tree in Grove, 46.5” dbh, tallest Onondaga County
White Oak #23 113 tallest central NY
Red Oak #26 110.5 tallest in Grove
White Ash 104.4 south of Grove
White Ash 105.4 south of Grove
White Oak #14 107

Rucker 5 including White Pines in 2nd growth just outside Grove:

White Oak 113
White Pine 110.8
Red Oak 110.5
Black Oak 109.6
Red Maple 107

Rucker 5 110.18 (as of 12/28/2015)

Tom Howard

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