Oldest tree in Connecticut?

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#1)  Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby jcruddat » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:33 pm

Hi all,
    My name is Jack Ruddat and I am an 18 year old High School student in West Hartford, Connecticut. I have been involved in the science of dendrochronology since 2013 and have kept a list of sampled trees along with their circumference and minimum age. I recently found an eastern redcedar in my home state of Connecticut that is 550+ years old, probably the oldest known tree in Connecticut. The age was verified (with a margin of error due to the missing rings, false rings, fire scars, and missing wood by pith) by a dendrology professor at the University of Connecticut who counted the rings under a stereo microscope. As far as I am aware, the only trees that come close to that age are the 350-400 year old eastern hemlocks in Sage's Ravine in Salisbury, Connecticut. This tree was found in Simsbury, Connecticut on a trap rock basalt ridge and was aged using an increment tree borer. Would this information be of any use to people keeping a list of old trees? I have also found a couple of 250+ year old sugar maples in what I believe to be a very early secondary old growth forest in Ridgefield, Connecticut from the early 1700's and a 200 year old shagbark hickory in West Hartford. I'll attach a picture of the eastern redcedar and a word document of the trees I have found for anyone interested.

Jack Ruddat
Attachments
E. Red Cedar9 full.JPG
545-600 year old Eastern Redcedar
Dendrochronology of North America Location removed.docx
Table of trees cored (locations removed).
(42.63 KiB) Downloaded 40 times
Last edited by jcruddat on Sun May 21, 2017 12:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#2)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby Rand » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:43 pm

You know a tree is old when it outlasts the rock it is growing out of.

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#3)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby ElijahW » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:59 pm

Jack,

Welcome to the NTS board and thanks for posting on your Cedar.  As far as I know, Cedars (Northern White and Red) are the longest-lived tree species in NY, as well.  Most, if not all, of us in this group are interested in trees of great age like yours.  Neil Pederson is the man to talk to about tree ages, but I haven't seen him post for a while.  

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: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby Erik Danielsen » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:43 pm

That's a great find! If you haven't seen it already, I'd highly recommend the book "The Last Stand" by Peter Kelly and Douglas Larson, documenting their work on cliffside Thuja occidentalis in the great lakes which later expanded to sampling trees in similar growth forms around the world. If they're still actively doing that work it may even be worthwhile to contact them and offer to share data. It's also just a beautiful book to read and look at.

I'm currently based in NYC and another NTS member (Ryan LeClair) is over in Connecticut. We're planning on taking some trips to record measurements of Atlantic Whitecedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in Old Saybrook, and potentially other spots as well. We'd definitely be happy to have you along if you're interested, and/or to check out any noteworthy spots you might suggest- the more the merrier. If you'd like, shoot me an email at er1kksen@gmail.com and we'll keep you in the loop.

It looks like you do careful work and record-keeping, which are exactly what NTS is about at its best. I hope you'll stick around and be a participant here so that we can continue hearing about your work! Tree enthusiasts committed to collecting quality data seem to be a small and scattered community, so it can feel lonely without a place like this to congregate online.
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#5)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby jcruddat » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:12 pm

Elijah,
    I've heard of Neil Pederson and visited his website containing the eastern old list. Perhaps this tree could be included under juniperus virginiana?

Jack
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#6)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby jcruddat » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:16 pm

Rand,
    That a good point. There are some other fairly sized dead cedars at the bottom of the ridge that I might be able to be cross date with the 550+ year old cedar.

Jack
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#7)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby jcruddat » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:27 pm

Erik,
    Although I have not read their book, Peter Kelly and Douglas Larson's work on northern white cedars is actually what inspired me to check out the cedars growing on the trap rock ridges of Connecticut. I did find another cedar that is 225+ years old and I believe there are likely others close by that are 200-300 years old. I have actually read the post on Atlantic Whitecedars in Old Saybrook, Connecticut and would be delighted to join you and Ryan in search of old trees. I've been to Talcott mountain many times and think that the west side of the mountain contains a mix of primary and secondary old growth forest. This might be a good spot to check out. Are you primarily interested in measuring tree size, age, or both?  

Jack
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#8)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby Erik Danielsen » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:51 pm

I tend to concentrate on height but am certainly interested in any and all metrics we can collect on trees. I've done a little bit of dendrochronology work but don't own an increment borer, so a project I was working on with the department at a school that had one was put on hold by a jammed core and really just never got started up again.
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#9)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby Larry Tucei » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:36 am

Jack-  Cedars are one of my favorite species.   David Stahle of Arkansas University is another one of our members who would be able to assist you in your project.  https://fulbright.uark.edu/departments/ ... stahle.php
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#10)  Re: Oldest tree in Connecticut?

Postby dbhguru » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:35 am

Jack,

  I know Dr. Neil Pederson at Harvard Forest and communicate with him periodically. He keeps a database of maximum species ages. I'll forward your post on the 550-year old cedar to him. I'm sure he will be appreciative of the information.

  Eastern reds have been dated to near 900 years in dolomite formations in the Missouri-Arkansas-Oklahome region by Dr. David Stahle and associates. He associates really advanced ages in that species with dolomite formations. Limestone secondarily. To get this age in the basalt is exciting,

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
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Native Native Tree Society
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Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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