Old Black Gum? (NY)

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ElijahW
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Old Black Gum? (NY)

Post by ElijahW » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:52 pm

I've attached a few pictures of the two largest black gum (nyssa sylvatica) I've been able to find on Howland's Island, up here in NY. The taller of the two is 72', and the fatter is 96" around at breast height. I've probably mentioned them in the past, but finally got out today and paid them a visit. I'd like to know what y'all think would be a possible age range, given the pictures and the following site description: The two trees are part of a group of 5-10 mature black gums growing in close proximity, along with many saplings and seedlings of the same species; the terrain is basically elevated swamp that floods regularly, but not necessarily every year; associated species are swamp-loving northern hardwoods (mostly beech, ashes, elms, and soft maple); the black gums disappear as the ground gets both drier and wetter. My guess is that the trees may be very old, just based on the bark characteristics and gnarly growth form, but this is only a guess. Here are the pics:
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Also, the surrounding upland, well-drained northern hardwood forest has been logged (probably several times), but this particular swamp does not appear to have been disturbed, at least to the same degree. Thank you for your consideration.

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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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Old Black Gum?

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:26 pm

Here's an article about old-growth black gums in New Jersey if this helps you gauge the age of your trees in NY.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/26/nyreg ... t-new.html
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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Will Blozan
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Re: Old Black Gum?

Post by Will Blozan » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:40 pm

250+ is not out of the question.

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Old Black Gum?

Post by Jess Riddle » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:27 pm

Elijah,

You're talking about the trees at the north end of Hickory Hill, right? I remember those trees. They certainly predate the surrounding forest, but they never stood out to me as particularly old for black gum. I would expect them to be over 200 years, but it's difficult to say beyond that. As you say, that site is just elevated enough to have decent soil drainage, and the soils are relatively nutrient rich. I remember a lot of hickories in the surrounding forest with the tallest trees reaching a little over 100'. Black gums never grow that fast, but I would be surprised if those trees grew super slowly under those conditions.

Jess

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ElijahW
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Re: Old Black Gum?

Post by ElijahW » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:07 pm

Jess - yes, those are the same trees. Black gum is a species that gives me trouble in guessing ages, mostly because I'm more familiar with the old-growth form on poor sites in the southern Appalachians. I've really not run into examples with the segmented and balding bark this far north. Younger black gums with the fairly symmetrical growth form and thinner bark are pretty common around Syracuse, but these are quite different. Thanks for you input, and PA's and Will's.

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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