Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

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ElijahW
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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

Post by ElijahW » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:45 pm

NTS,

Just up the road from the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY, sits the preserved former Roosevelt family home and FDR Presidential Library and Museum. What interests me more, however, is the estate’s solid block of forest growing its way down a stepped slope to the mighty Hudson River. My hopes were high for this property, knowing how productive Vanderbilt is.

While I wouldn’t consider what I found a disappointment, it was substantially less than I was hoping for. Here’s what I measured yesterday, 2/24:

Tuliptree

146.7’

Eastern White Pine

133.8’
131.9’

American Sycamore

120.7’

Red Hickory

117.1’

I left my tape in the car, but the only species of substantial girth seemed to be the Sycamore. The tall Tulips and White Pines were all fairly young, probably one hundred years old or less. I did come across a number of old-looking oaks, but most were growing in very shallow soil amongst an expanse of exposed rock outcrops. The main limitation on tree growth here seemed to be the generally nutrient-poor and thin soils.

Having outlined the underwhelming stature of the FDR property, I should probably compliment it on the diversity of species I observed. Here’s a list of trees found but not measured:

Northern Red Oak
White Oak
Black Oak
Chestnut Oak
Bitternut Hickory
Pignut Hickory
Shagbark Hickory
Mockernut Hickory
Black Walnut
White Ash (most dead or dying)
American Basswood
Black Cherry
Black Locust
Sugar Maple
Red Maple
Eastern Hemlock (many dead or dying)
Eastern Redcedar
American Hornbeam
...plus more that I don’t recall.

Overall, this former estate has some tall young trees and some older, less-tall trees. The forest loop is a nice walk, though ice-covered yesterday. I recommend a visit if you have the time.

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

MarkGraham
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Re: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

Post by MarkGraham » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:19 am

Very interesting. Some of the best Fall foliage anywhere at that spot.

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JHarkness
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Re: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

Post by JHarkness » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:48 pm

Elijah,

I certainly wouldn't be disappointed at a 146' tuliptree, considering that they seem to top off below 140 in the eastern part of Dutchess County and stands with any tuliptree presence are far and few between. From your description, it sounds like the stand is relatively young? If that is the case, this site could certainly have a 150-foot tuliptree within just a few years, perhaps even 160 is possible. I'm convinced that there is a 160-footer somewhere in the Hudson Valley, the question is what sites meet the stand age, soil conditions, local climate, etc. requirements.

Joshua
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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ElijahW
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Re: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

Post by ElijahW » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:44 pm

Mark,

I can see this being a beautiful setting for a fall hike. The Maples, Oaks, and Hickories all change color at different times and have their own varying shades of yellows and reds. The town of Hyde Park has a really nice trail system that follows the Hudson River and weaves through some of the great estates that may be worth checking out for anyone in the area.

Joshua,

The tuliptrees and pines appear relatively young, probably dating to the ‘20s or ‘30s. Those small sections definitely have potential for height. The real letdown for me was the growing conditions where the older trees were. It’s still attractive, but in a different way; the soil is just not deep enough to support a tall canopy. 160’ for a Tuliptree or White Pine is likely somewhere in that valley. As you say, what’s required is optimal 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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ElijahW
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Re: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

Post by ElijahW » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:50 pm

NTS,

On June 2nd, Tom Howard and I walked the grounds surrounding the FDR complex. In addition to the many man made memorials and sculptures, we came across several very impressive trees, some of which may have been planted by Roosevelt himself.

Three particularly large trees, each a different species, stood out to me. These predated Roosevelt, and may be close to two centuries old. Here they are:

Tuliptree

139.2’ x 16.17’

Cucumber Magnolia

84.5’ x 13.65’

Black Birch

90.4’ x 9.88’

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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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:58 pm

Was that cucumber magnolia a well-formed single stem towards the base? One of similar girth at the Montgomery estate was disappointingly just a chunky double, but I've seen photos suggesting the species can develop and excellent open-grown form under the right conditions.

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ElijahW
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Re: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home

Post by ElijahW » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:00 pm

Eric,

Yes, the Cucumber Magnolia was a single trunk, and would have been taller if not for the top breaking off some time ago. It has grown back, just not to its full height.

Tom and I also walked the lawn at Vanderbilt, and found your enormous Honeylocust, the multi-trunked Hemlock, a big Coffeetree, a 15’+ White Pine, and several nice Black Maples.

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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