Newly Discovered Old Growth Eastern Hemlock Forest in CT

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jcruddat
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Newly Discovered Old Growth Eastern Hemlock Forest in CT

Post by jcruddat » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:24 pm

Hi all,
Recently, I have been frequenting Enders State Forest in West Granby Connecticut where I observed some very old looking eastern hemlock, among other species. I took around 20 samples from the oldest looking trees. Here is what I have found thus far in terms of their ages (>150 years old):
Eastern hemlock - 180(x2), 190, 200, 205, 212?, 225, 230, 250, 260, ~260-300, 285, 280 (>300), 363-376 and 429 (both dead)
Sweet birch - 200, 218, >250, 279
Chestnut oak - 170, 200?, 280
American beech - 176
Green ash - 200
Red oak - 150, 161
Red maple - 250, ~260
Sugar Maple - 210
Yellow poplar - 175, others with heart rot
Other species - Yellow birch, Paper birch, White oak, American witch-hazel, striped maple, American hornbeam, Sassafras, hobble-bush, mountain laurel

The plot is roughly 35 acres when measuring from google earth, although I am still unsure as to its full extent. I don't expect it to be any larger than 50 acres. Eastern hemlock is the dominant species, with most being 200+ years old. Unfortunately, the hemlock woolly adelgid and elongated hemlock scale were found throughout the forest. Most of the hemlocks appear to be very healthy and growing at an acceptable rate, albeit the older ones, although I fear it is only a matter of several years before they too start suffering the same effects. I wonder if it would be worth the time and expense to launch an attempt at saving this extremely rare and stately grove, especially the ~1 acre section containing the largest and oldest looking hemlocks, some of which may turn out to be living 430+ year old trees when cored from the base. I have heard that chemical treatments are most effective and that certain introduced beetles can also help to control or even eliminate the growing population of hemlock woolly adelgid. I'll post a follow up with some pictures to better illustrate the character of the forest and its old growth characteristics.

Regards,
Jack Ruddat
Last edited by jcruddat on Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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jcruddat
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Re: Newly Discovered Virgin Connecticut Forest (Eastern Heml

Post by jcruddat » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:35 pm

Here are a few photos

Virgin eastern hemlock grove:
Virgin Eastern Hemlock Grove
Virgin Eastern Hemlock Grove
Dead 429-year-old eastern hemlock:
IMG_0534.JPG
IMG_0536.JPG
Stilted roots (~190 years old):
IMG_0530.JPG
Hemlock woolly adelgid:
IMG_0482.JPG

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RayA
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Re: Newly Discovered Virgin Connecticut Forest (Eastern Heml

Post by RayA » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:51 am

Jack,

Nice work! Thanks for the report... are you giving guided tours?
I'd like to get together with you to get a peek at your find.

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jcruddat
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Re: Newly Discovered Virgin Connecticut Forest (Eastern Heml

Post by jcruddat » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:44 pm

Hi Ray,
I would be very happy to show you what I found. I am available most of the time, except in early July. And by the way, nice job on The Lost Forests of New England, it was fascinating to watch and the filming was exceptional.

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jemaloof
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Re: Newly Discovered Old Growth Eastern Hemlock Forest in CT

Post by jemaloof » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:43 am

We'd love to add this forest to the Old-Growth Forest Network if it is protected from commercial logging. Do you happen to know the protection status of this grove? Great work finding it and documenting ages. Joan

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jcruddat
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Re: Newly Discovered Old Growth Eastern Hemlock Forest in CT

Post by jcruddat » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:34 am

According to https://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?A=2716&Q=594616, it is considered a dedicated open space and a state forest. It has a no hunting restriction but parts are managed for saw-timber, firewood, wildlife habitat, and recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, and bird watching. If you need more information I would contact the CT DEEP via https://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a= ... v_GID=1511. I have quite the table of trees in CT which have I have sampled at more than 150-years-old, some of which I believe to be part of further previously undocumented old-growth forests. I could email this if interested.

Jack

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jemaloof
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Re: Newly Discovered Old Growth Eastern Hemlock Forest in CT

Post by jemaloof » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:53 pm

Thank you Jack. Would you be able to contact the state of CT to find out if the area is protected from logging? (Thanks, I think you could describe the location better than I could.) As we know, state forests are not usually protected from logging unless this area has some special status. Would you call the area "relatively accessible? Are there trails to it? I'm trying to determine if it is a good candidate for the Old-Growth Forest Network. Thank you again! Joan

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jcruddat
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Re: Newly Discovered Old Growth Eastern Hemlock Forest in CT

Post by jcruddat » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:08 pm

Hi Joan,
Yes, I could send out some emails to determine whether or not it is protected and then let you know. Ender's state forest itself is easily accessible with plenty of trails along one side of the river. In order to access the other side which contains most, but not all of the old growth, you will need to cross the river. This may only be possible/recommended during the spring and summer months and also when the river is not flooded. You may be able to hike in through the other side, although I remember that involving some bushwhacking. I have another potential candidate forest which I believe to be older and perhaps larger than Ender's State Forest. It is located in Colebrook, CT near, but not quite in Algonquin State Forest. It has many 300+-year-old hemlocks (some over 8' in circumference) and a few 300+-year-old yellow birches among other old species. When I get the chance I'll post the details on ENTS.

Jack

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