West River outing - Dummerston, Vermont

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#1)  West River outing - Dummerston, Vermont

Postby johnofthetrees » Thu May 27, 2010 10:26 pm

ENTS:

I had the opportunity to spend most of today at a private site on the West River in Dummerston, Vermont.  I had previously posted on finding a 140' white pine and a 120' eastern hemlock at the site, and I have been eager to revisit and explore the area further.

The first tree I measured was a sycamore, which grow quite nicely along the river.  I got 106.8'h x 6.8'c.

I then remeasured both trees I had found earlier, which are located on the banks of a small stream flowing to the river.  I got 139.1' h x 8.0'c on the white pine, which had lost some of the crown, and 121.5'h x 7.4'c on the hemlock, which looked great.  Continuing up the stream, the canopy is almost entirely hemlock, with occasional sugar maples and beech.  One large maple was downed by last night's powerful thunderstorms, making a high, level bridge across the stream basin.  There were several hemlocks in the low 110's, and two above 115'.

Retracing and continuing along the West river, along a series of benches, I found a wonderful pine area, mixed with hemlock and hardwoods.  The trees were a lot bigger than they looked, mostly because they weren't all that old.  Here is a table of data from the site:

               
                       
20100527.JPG
                       
West River data
                       
20100527.JPG (18.99 KiB) Viewed 1342 times
               
               


I didn't measure many hardwoods, but they seemed to top out around 100'.  Finding several 140+ white pines was satisfying, and shows the potential of the West River for tree growth.  It is mostly privately held though, so difficulty getting access could limit the amount of data available.  The West River is topographically similar to the Deerfield River, and this may be a factor in the tree heights found.

John

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#2)  Re: West River outing - Dummerston, Vermont

Postby dbhguru » Fri May 28, 2010 8:28 am

John,

  You now hold the record for having accurately measured Vermont's tallest tree. Congrats. The Dummerston, VT area was one of the places my research confirmed as having had huge white pines in colonial times. Of course they were all cut down, but it is nice to know that the area can grow them back. I've viewed the West River from I91 many times and each time have commented to myself that it looks like a very fertile tree-growing region, and obviously is.

   Oh yes, I think you have the tall hemlock record also. You've confirmed a 120 in Vermont. We have 120s at Claremont, NH. We're moving up the Connecticut River Valley on both sides.

   Interestingly, the New England hemlocks seem to run into a height barrier at around 120 feet. Isolated trees may reach to 130, but there are no widespread populations. We've measured plenty of old ones and young ones. We are developing a good profile for the species.

Bob
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#3)  Re: West River outing - Dummerston, Vermont

Postby johnofthetrees » Sun May 30, 2010 9:17 am

Bob,

I was wondering what data we have for Vermont.  Since it is unlikely an early tall tree sight would be the best, it should be a short lived record, but then we would likely come up with more 150's!  Finding a 145' at 6.1'c kinda makes me think 160' as well as 150' is in its future, if it lives another few decades.  That tree was next to the other 145' and several others in the high 130's.

It would be nice to find a grove of old pines along the West river.  There is a row of them visible from rte. 30, south of this site that is dramatically emergent with old growth form, for example.  But, they could be in someone's field and emergent only above grass!

Speaking of 120' hemlocks, I'm going to spend a couple days in the upper Cold river basin to try and see how far up the 120' hemlocks go, and maybe find some tall spruce.  For instance, I remember Spruce Hill, which I believe was a site Jack Sobon brought us to, has typical big hemlock topography.
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#4)  Re: West River outing - Dummerston, Vermont

Postby dbhguru » Sun May 30, 2010 6:53 pm

John,

   I had data for the Fisher Scott Memorial Pines north of Bennington. They were once thought to be the tallest pines in the state, but one or two are flirting with 140, but no really tall pines that I found. When my old computer crashed, I lost a lot, but not much from Vermont. I did have data from Gifford Woods - an ash up to 116.

Bob
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#5)  Re: West River outing - Dummerston, Vermont

Postby edfrank » Sun May 30, 2010 8:14 pm

Bob,

Computer crash - an external drive enclosure can be had for $10 to $20 and would convert your old hard drive to USB.  Then materials on your drive could be copied to virtually any PC with USB port.  $20 to recover whatever data may be on the drive seems like a cheap price.  You likely could buy one locally at a computer store or order one via internet.  Here is one from TigerDirect:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Category/category_tlc.asp?CatId=2777&name=Hard-Drive-Enclosure

Ed
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