Irondequoit Bay Parks

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#1)  Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby ElijahW » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:12 pm

NTS,

I figured now is a good time to summarize the visits I've been making the last several months to the Irondequoit Bay Parks.  Since the three properties (Irondequoit Bay Park West, Abraham Lincoln, and Lucien Morin) are owned by Monroe County, are in close proximity, and are very similar botanically and topographically, I'm combining them in one thread.  I'll break down each one below and give a summary at the end.

Lucien Morin Park
https://www.rochesterparks.org/monroe-county-parks/lucien-morin-park/
349 Acres (Includes wetlands)

Lucien Morin, formerly part of nearby Ellison Park, is likely the least diverse park of the three, but also contains the tallest trees.  Like the other parks, Lucien Morin contains mostly a southern oak-hickory forest, with a several acre stand of almost-pure Black walnut, and an additional section of young Black cherry, Black birch, and Red maple.  

The tallest canopy in Lucien Morin is a grove of Tuliptrees covering about an acre in a NW-facing ravine.  Common overstory species include Northern Red, Black, and White Oak, Black Cherry, Black Walnut, White Ash, Bigtooth Aspen, and Pignut Hickory.  Less common, but still present canopy species include Sassafras, Eastern Cottonwood, Red and Sugar Maple, Black and Yellow Birch, Bitternut and Shagbark Hickory, Eastern White Pine, and American Basswood.  

Witch hazel is common in the understory; Spicebush, Flowering Dogwood, Common Serviceberry less common, but still present.  Speckled alder grows in at least a small area near the ponds.  I found a handful of American Chestnut sprouts, but only one dying mature tree (around 65' x 1' DBH).  

Trees Measured in Lucien Morin Park

Tuliptree  152.9' x 9'1"
              150.7' x 7'2"
              147.6' x 8'4"
              144.8'
              142.1' x 9'6"
              139.7' x 9'7"
White Ash  137.7' x 7'1"
Northern Red Oak  131.9' x 9'2"
Red Maple  115.7'
Pignut Hickory  115'
Eastern White Pine  114.2'
Black Oak  110.4'
               108.7'
Sassafras  109.8' x 4'11"
American Basswood  107.6'

Average Nine Species:  121.6'

Irondequoit Bay Park West
https://www.rochesterparks.org/monroe-county-parks/irondequoit-bay-park-west/
147 Acres

The species makeup of this park is almost identical to that of Abraham Lincoln; to my eye however, Park West contains a greater number of old trees than the latter as well as more trees with girths exceeding 10'.  Besides a core of mature, old trees, perhaps as much as half of the acreage of Park West appears to have been cleared within the past 50-75 years.  The regrowth for the most part is unattractive, but may be interesting in the future decades as the canopy is made up of lots of Black Birch in the 80-90' range and Black Cherries already exceeding 100'.  

Black oak is abundant in Park West, and I think many trees, though not old growth, may exceed 150 years of age.  Both Red and Sugar Maple are more common in this park than the other two, but their common associates, White Ash and American Basswood, are not.  At least two Tulips top 140', but Park West lacks a pure Tuliptree grove, limiting the need to compete for light.  

Trees Measured in Irondequoit Bay Park West

Tuliptree  144.6' x 9'3"
              142'
Pignut Hickory  135.2' x 9'2"
Eastern White Pine  134.7'
                             130'
Bitternut Hickory  131.5' x 7'2"
                          127'
Black Cherry  129' x 7'6"
Eastern Hemlock  125.1'
Black Walnut  121.3'
Northern Red Oak  119.4' x 11'9"
Black Oak  117.6' x 9'9"
               114.2' x 10'1"
               103.4' x 13'2"
Sugar Maple  115.6' x 9'2"
Sassafras  109.7' x 4'8"
Black Birch  106.2' x 4'3"
                 102.5'

Average Top Ten Species:  127.4'

Abraham Lincoln Park
http://www.rochesterparks.org/monroe-county-parks/abraham-lincoln-park/
183 Acres

This county park, previously Irondequoit Bay Park East, is probably my favorite.  Lincoln grows all tree species well, including invasives.  Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) likes it here, as does Norway Maple and European Alder (Alnus glutinosa).  Lincoln has more ravines than the other two parks, and fast-growing species such as Tuliptree and Cottonwood have taken advantage of the deep, wet soil combined with protection from the wind.  Sassafras reaches exceptional heights for the latitude here, with at least two individuals exceeding 110'.  I was able to duplicate Tom Howard's previous measurement of 120.0' on the tallest one with the leaves completely gone.  The Tree of Heaven listed below is not the tallest one; a bushwack which I didn't have time for today will lead one to a couple of trees in the 115-120' range.

Interesting non-canopy trees and shrubs include Common Serviceberry (many on the Bay-facing knolls), Spicebush (very common in low, moist areas), and Rosebay Rhododendron.  I believe the Rhododendron is native here, though the farthest north I've seen it to date in NY is about an hour's drive to the southeast.  


Trees Measured in Abraham Lincoln Park

Tuliptree  144'
Eastern Cottonwood  132.3' x 9'4"
Pignut Hickory  124.4'
                      123'
                      118.3'
                      115.3
Sassafras  120' x 7'1"
White Ash  117.3' x 8'3"
Eastern White Pine  116.8'
Black Cherry  116.1' x 6'
                   114.6'
American Beech  113.8'
Tree of Heaven  112'
American Basswood  111.8'
Butternut  110.2'
White Oak  108.3'
Sugar Maple  104'
Black Birch  102.9' x 4'
European Alder  82.1' x 3'9"
                       80.8' x 3'8"
American Chestnut  62.2' x 3'6" (Healthy, no sign of blight; mature tree)

Average Top Ten Species:  120.8'

Irondequoit Bay Parks Cumulative Rucker 10 Average

Tuliptree  152.9'
White Ash  137.7'
Pignut Hickory  135.2'
Eastern White Pine  134.7'
Eastern Cottonwood  132.3'
Northern Red Oak  131.9'
Bitternut Hickory  131.5'
Black Cherry 129'
Eastern Hemlock  125.1'
Black Walnut  121.3'

Average Top Ten Species:  133.1'

Black Birch summary for Bob:

106.2' x 4'3"
102.5'
102.9' x 4'

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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#2)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby Erik Danielsen » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:19 am

Awesome work. As far as I can figure it there really is nothing else close in terms of hardwood heights at a higher latitude. Green Lakes is just a tiny bit further south, also above the 43rd parallel. The Great Lakes make some special things happen. Also above the 43rd parallel is the Niagara Gorge. Sites within the gorge were previously recorded to have some tall trees. A lot of sites that were recorded in that era to have trees of decent heights have more recently been measured to much greater heights. I wonder what might be lurking in there?

That Black Cherry is the tallest in NY that's really up to date- it would be good to get into Long Point state park to check on Dale's 130+ tree!
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#3)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby dbhguru » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:07 pm

Elijah,

  What an incredibly impressive site. At 133 RHI,it has to be the highest for the latitude in the East.

  When I got to those black birches I spewed coffee all over my computer screen. Those suckers literally jumped into our BB database.

  Elijah, you da man!

Bob
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#4)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby Will Blozan » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:48 am

Elijah,

Stellar work man! Any pics of the sassafras? That pignut is pretty dang impressive!

-Will
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#5)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby ElijahW » Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:49 am

Erik, Will, Bob,

Thank you.  Will, I put up a poor-quality picture of the sassafras on Tom Howard's Rochester thread (it was raining pretty good).  The tree sits midway down a roughly south-facing slope and has two major forks.  The leader rises by itself probably 10-12' to the top.  The whole Bay area is reminiscent of a mid-Appalachian forest type.  My guess is that this sassafras stand dates back to the late 1800s.  The pignut is likely a little older.

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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#6)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby dbhguru » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:27 pm

Elijah,

  The information that you and Erik have been gathering is filling in some big holes we had in our coverage of the NY. By rights, NY should have more than one super site. For a while it looked like Zoar Valley was unique, but the Great Lakes create very fertile growing environments. And it looks like lots of high index sites remain to be discovered.

    One of the uses of our data that I hope VA Tech will support is a kind of dashboard display of important site and individual tree measurements. A listing of top sites by Rucker Height and Girth Indexes as well as list of champion tall trees by state by species  come to mind.

Bob
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#7)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby ElijahW » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:27 pm

NTS,

I didn't intend to visit Abraham Lincoln Park this afternoon, but it drew me in as I drove by and that's where I ended up.  I got out to the park's northern reaches and into a few areas I'd not been to since the leaves dropped, and I was able to obtain several new measurements:

Tuliptree:  146' x 11'5" (previously 144')
Red maple:  125' x 9'5" (appears very old)
White ash:  131'6" x 8'1"
Tree of Heaven:
113' x 6'1"
115' x 7'3"
122'4" x 4'10"

I also climbed a hill and was able to find a much higher top on the Sassafras adjacent to the one Tom Howard and I measured to 120'.  It is now NY's tallest known, at 122'8".  A few photos from today:
               
                       
DSC00866edit1.jpg
                       
Sassafras
               
               

               
                       
DSC00868edit1.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
DSC00869edit1.jpg
                       
122'4" Tree of Heaven
               
               

               
                       
DSC00870.JPG
                                       
               

               
                       
DSC00871.JPG
                                       
               

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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#8)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby dbhguru » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:04 pm

Elijah,

 That sassafras is off the charts. The area you've been exploring seems to be a super site. Do you think that there are other sites along Ontario that might offer up some tree goodies?

Bob
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#9)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby ElijahW » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:32 pm

Bob,

I think Irondeqouit is as good as exists for tall tree sites along Lake Ontario.  Both east and west shores are limited by the influence of wind, and most of the northern shore is heavily developed (Toronto, ON) or has shallow soil.  The southern shore seems to have very productive soils, but is fairly flat and has been farmed for a long time.  South of Rochester, especially along the Genessee River corridor, may hold some tall trees.  Floodplain species like Cottonwood and Sycamore do really well in that area, and open-grown Bur oaks also reach substantial size.

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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#10)  Re: Irondequoit Bay Parks

Postby ElijahW » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:11 pm

NTS,

After some additional study today on the tall hickory in Irondequoit Bay Park West previously identified as Pignut or C. glabra, I'm confident enough to change the ID to Red Hickory, or C. ovalis.  Though lacking red pigment on the rachis, most of the leaves I found on the ground had seven leaflets, the exceptions being single examples of both five and three leaflets, probably from the top of the tree.  The few whole nuts on the ground were nearly round in appearance instead of pear-shaped.  I cracked one nut open and ate a little of the meat, and it tasted good to me - definitely not bitter.  The bark is a dark grey, with deeply interlaced ridges.  I remeasured the tree's height and it now stands at 136.6', an increase of 17" over last year's measurement.

Today I also explored a site further north, less than a mile from the Lake Ontario shoreline, that grows Black birch very well.  I don't have firm numbers yet, but heights above 100' are common.  More to come.

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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