Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

User avatar
InglesLuke
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:49 pm

Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by InglesLuke » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:55 pm

I was out exploring some state land today where i was primarily looking for any nice sized Eastern Hemlocks and White Pines, but ran across a nice surprise–– a large grove of Northern White Cedars. they are not overly common in the area so it was a nice surprise. they were clinging along a steep slope north facing slope which led down to an old river channel, now an oxbow lake (frozen with ice this time of year).There were many nice trees, most of them not extremely large, however, i ran across a few which i measured the diameter of:
Northern White Cedar DBH's 17.6, 14.8, 15.7, and a rather large one of 24.1! (pictured)

I measured heights of the largest one as well as one of the others but after i crunched numbers later (offsite) I got numbers that seemed well to high. I am headed back out in the morning to get a good measurement and taking the calculator along this time.

thought this was a cool find, especially for this area of Michigan.

I did end up finding some nice White Pine and Hemlock too!

Luke
Attachments
Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 7.46.02 PM.png
24.1 DBH Northern White Cedar
24.1 DBH Northern White Cedar

User avatar
djluthringer
Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:35 am

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by djluthringer » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:21 am

Hi, Luke,

Great to see you the other day in Cook Forest.

I've never seen the great white cedars in Michigan, but if you found cedars of those size in PA they'd be superlative.

Dale

User avatar
InglesLuke
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:49 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by InglesLuke » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:48 pm

Dale,
I'm glad i stopped in, it was good to catch up and hear about some of the oldest trees in Cook.

I have heard of them getting very large, for example the few virgin specimens on south manitou island in NW MI. However, it really all depends on growing condition from what i understand. Assuming these are second growth in an area that had very little management after the clearcutting, they are indeed nice trees.
I couldn't get height measurements today because of fog and rain but am hoping to get back out and try again soon as well as collect a few more diameters.

Luke

User avatar
InglesLuke
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:49 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by InglesLuke » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:39 pm

I went back today and measured the 24 DBH Cedar and got 73', a very nice tree. I also measured a few more and got heights in the 50s and 60s.

In addition, i came across a tall and skinny Hemlock that i measured at 125'! it sits low in a ravine where it must compete the rest of the trees that have the height advantage of starting up on the hill.
(attached picture)

Luke
Attachments
stitched picture of the Hemlock
stitched picture of the Hemlock

User avatar
DougBidlack
Posts: 425
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:14 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by DougBidlack » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:43 am

Luke,

good work! Looks like you just found the tallest known hemlock in Michigan.

Doug

wisconsitom
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:08 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by wisconsitom » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:58 am

Good going Luke. As a Wisconsinite, and one with much awareness of where Thuja occidentalis does and does not grow well, I'd always wondered about that part of Michigan. It is in some sense the geographical equivalent of our Door County, which juts into Lake Michigan as a peninsula and is Thuja-central. Basically, the species appreciates cool growing-season temps, plentiful moisture and is a calciphile, enjoying growth most on calcareous soils, especially those containing dolomite, a form of limestone rich in both calcium and magnesium carbonates. Thuja occidentalis is often said to grow more slowly than other tree types. I think this is a misconception; If you look at the typical northern white cedar, it has perhaps thousands of individual growing points. Each and every one of these is going to expand upon resumption of growth in the spring. I think that if you were able to somehow measure the increase in dry weight of the plant following one growing season-obviously a destructive sampling method-I believe you would see that it gained mass similarly to other tree species. And one other thing: This is the ultimate example of a species which will sit and mark time until such and such an event occurs-perhaps an overshadowing tree falls to the ground-and off it goes, growing rapidly. A lifespan measured easily in centuries, perhaps millennia.

User avatar
InglesLuke
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:49 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by InglesLuke » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:52 pm

Doug,
that is super cool, thanks for the information. I'll have to keep looking, surely there are bigger ones out there.

Wisconsitom,
I agree, Thuja needs the cold and enjoys the calcitic rocks. I attend university down in Ohio and Thuja Occidentalis is pretty rare that far south but perched on the edge of a few separate gorges I hike in now and again (Indian Mounds Park, Clifton Gorge) are the Northern White Cedars. Sure enough the rock is all Dolomite. The growing speed–– being relatively average, is good to know. I had thought,as you brought up, that they grew slower than most other trees. As far as the thumb being Thuja Central, I'm not sure. The cold is definitely available for them, but there are not many rock outcrops for them to hang on to as i notice they like. The lakeshore here is quite densely populated, at least in my area, so maybe they were all over the coast at one time, who knows, really. However, further North is a little less developed and i remember vaguely cedars growing along the shore and in some ravines at a camp along Lake Huron i was once at. they are surely here, but just not all over the place. In addition to the cedars i reported on above, i found another site maybe a couple hundred yards away and back in a separate ravine where they were really growing all over the place, a really nice grove! Maybe I just need to do a bit more exploring.

Luke

wisconsitom
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:08 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by wisconsitom » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:22 am

Wonderful. I was referring to my own state's Door County as Thuja-central. It really is. And this peninsula, perhaps unlike the one you are exploring, is made of rock-dolomite to be exact. Door County is part of the same ancient reef that is Niagara Falls. It is all over this arch of the US and adjacent Canada that we will find the best northern white cedar. Maine's got a bunch too I think.

I have transplanted small, two or three-foot white cedars from where they are reproducing too thickly, up into open field. We've got deer up the wazoo up there. Somehow, and this is a mystery to me, they don't touch these plants. And because these plants are often being taken out of a swamp, and placed in higher and dryer ground, in more sunlight, they tend to grow about as rapidly as the pines, spruce, etc. we're planting right next to them. In other words, they pretty much are keeping up! Now the larch? No way, those things grow twice as fast as anything else I've got going there.

User avatar
InglesLuke
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:49 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by InglesLuke » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:54 am

Oh, my mistake, yes i can imagine it would be.

Interesting stuff, good to hear they can be planted in the yard along with the rest, as well as keep up, they truly are beautiful trees.

Luke

wisconsitom
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:08 pm

Re: Northern White Cedar in the Thumb

Post by wisconsitom » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:10 pm

I've often considered starting a group to promote cedar here in Wisconsin and the other Great Lakes states. It's a valuable resource and is really quite capable of growth. It only needs the opportunity. I've heard peeps talking about struggling to keep an "arborvitae" in their yards alive...something about it being a finicky plant. Well
I couldn't disagree more; I find them to be lusty growers, just like all the other coniferous species, and to possess marvelous qualities. It's really just about my favorite plant when well-sited and happy. I find that where mineral soil has been exposed, whether via man's activities, fire, or what have you....Thuja will come up thickly from seed blown in from nerby trees. It really likes to cover new ground.

Post Reply

Return to “Michigan”