Hey ENTS: So, spent the weekend in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. Been up there many a time, yet this trip surprised me in a number of ways. First, although the entirety of Door Cty.is T. occidentalis central, what with it's Niagara Escarpment limestone bedrock (The species is a strong calciphile), I ran into numerous groves of truly huge "northern white cedars"......far more than I would have expected. So, although I'm not a real tree measurer, and certainly not by the standards here, I would urge anyone interested in documenting large specimens of this fascinating species to visit the area on the lake side-that's Lake Michigan, as opposed to the bay side, ie. the bay of Green Bay-to poke around near Jacksonport and Bailey's Harbor. Then, take the ferry up to Washington Island and explore that island's relatively wild north shore region. Limestone bluffs cascading down to the lake are simply beautiful beyond description, so I won't try, but man, the "cedar" here is almost unbelievable.
This would not be one of my posts if it didn't contain at least a note of depressing factoids, and this is no exception: Door County is under heavy development pressure, with rich guys building mansions along the shore in many areas, and these lakeshore areas are the very sections where the Thuja is-of course-at its best. But there are many large reserves present as well, and the developers haven't gotten to everywhere yet. Honestly, like I said, I'm not a true ENT, at least in terms of measuring trees, but I've got to think there's at least a new state record somewhere in this zone, especially now that a tornado took down the huge ones at Maribel Caves in Manitowoc County, just south of the area I reference here.
Hemlock, white spruce, sugar maple, white ash (too bad about EAB), beech, and paper and yellow birch make up a bunch of the rest of the forest. So there's that too. White pines are never at their best in Door Cty. it seems. Oh, sure there's some good ones, but overall, I think they do better in more acid soil areas of the state. Red pine is a poor option here, but there are some of course. But for the trees I mention in the first part of this post, man oh man.....I tells ya.....it's something else.
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- Larry Tucei