Powder Mills Park, Pittsfield, Monroe County

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#1)  Powder Mills Park, Pittsfield, Monroe County

Postby ElijahW » Sun May 07, 2017 8:56 pm

NTS,

Trees Measured:

Red Hickory Carya ovalis (ID tentative)

134.5' x 6'9"
132.6'

Tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera

130'

Black Oak Quercus velutina

122.1' x 9'5"

Bitternut Hickory Carya cordiformis

120'

American Beech Fagus grandifolia

119.8'

Tamarack Larix laricina

78'

Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida

32.8' x 1'3"

Witch hazel Hamamelis virginiana

31' x 9" (Single stem)

Speckled Alder Alnus incana rugosa

28.3' x 10" (CBH at ground level before stems split is 17")

Rucker 5 Height Index:  125.2'

Several years ago, someone local to the area contacted Tom Howard about Powder Mills Park, a Monroe County property, wanting to know if it contained old growth.  Last year, Tom and I made an initial visit to the park, and in the intervening months, I've made several more visits.  My conclusion is that parts of Powder Mills should be considered old growth, and some portions probably have seen a small amount of selective cutting.  The remainder is highly disturbed.  By counting rings on a few cut stumps, Black Oak and Hemlock exceed 200 years old, and I got to about 170 rings on a Beech before I hit rotten wood.

As can be seen in my above summary, this area is very unusual in its species makeup.  Low, Black Oak-dominated hills surround a segmented bog populated by Tamarack, Black Ash, and Speckled Alder.  Normally a significant member of the canopy in our area's oak forests, hickories grow only on the forest edges.  Sassafras is also rare, and though White oak is common, Northern Red Oak is not.  In the absence of large-tree diversity, smaller trees drew my interest; hence, the mention of several such species.  A common pattern I noticed in the transition from oak ridge to bog was Hophornbeam to Flowering Dogwood to American Hornbeam to Witch hazel, concluding with Speckled Alder.  

I didn't notice any out of place bog-related plants, such as Blueberry, but I didn't venture very far into the mud, either.  With all the recent rain we've had, I might have been stuck for a while.  

Like a couple of nearby Monroe County parks, Rosebay Rhododendron is present on at least one hillside.

When I'm able, I'll verify the ID of the tallest two hickories.  I'm fairly confident they're Red, but I need to make sure.  Some photos from Powder Mills:
               
                       
DSC00916.JPG
                       
Dogwood in bloom
               
               

               
                       
DSC00915.JPG
                       
78' Tamarack
               
               

               
                       
DSC00917.JPG
                       
Tamarack regeneration
               
               

               
                       
DSC00890.JPG
                       
Black/White Oak slope
               
               

               
                       
DSC00919.JPG
                       
Speckled alder amongst the Skunk cabbage
               
               


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: Powder Mills Park, Pittsfield, Monroe County

Postby Erik Danielsen » Sun May 07, 2017 10:24 pm

Sounds like a fascinating, atypical environment. Congrats on those tall red hickories- the listed national and NYS champion red hickory, listed at 138' tall, I can confirm as 123.8' tall in reality. Looks like that make these trees the tallest in the state, for sure (the same proved true of the sweetgum and cucumber magnolia currently on the state list, and even moreso).

Very impressed by that black oak. Was it a more upright form of early maturity or an old one getting craggy and gnarled?
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#3)  Re: Powder Mills Park, Pittsfield, Monroe County

Postby ElijahW » Mon May 08, 2017 6:00 am

Erik,

Nice job in verifying those trees.  Next up should be the 151' Pignut.  The Black oak probably is in the 200-year range, but still has an upright, intact top.  Most of the Black oaks are bent over and/or have younger leaders due to wind damage.  Many are over 110' in height.

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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#4)  Re: Powder Mills Park, Pittsfield, Monroe County

Postby Erik Danielsen » Mon May 08, 2017 8:56 am

Looks like that pignut is a wyoming county Basset tree. If it's not on a private lot I'm sure we can get the location info from the state coordinator, if it was on the submission...

That sounds like the best site for black oak I've heard of in NY state. I wonder what factors have made it so dominant there.
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#5)  Re: Powder Mills Park, Pittsfield, Monroe County

Postby ElijahW » Fri May 12, 2017 8:04 pm

Erik,

Tom Howard and I have measured a couple of the same trees as Mr. Basset, and the results were similar.  I haven't met him, so I don't know what his measuring methods are, but that pignut in particular seems doubtful.  I'm pretty sure we can eventually find red and/or pignut hickory over 140'; I don't think I've seen their optimal habitat yet.

Regarding the dominance of Black oak, I think fire is the most likely cause.  Maybe someone has a better explanation?

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: Powder Mills Park, Pittsfield, Monroe County

Postby bbeduhn » Fri May 19, 2017 9:17 am

Nice hickories!!! I would not expect those heights from New York.
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