Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research Area

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Larry Tucei
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Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research Area

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:26 am

NTS- Delta National Forest is the only remaining tract of Bottomland Forest in Ms that one existed all along the River. The Forest contains 60,898 acres of typical Bottomland species of trees. I visited the Sweetgum Research Natural Area located on the northern end of the Forest near campsite 6. Most of the Forest Canopy around this area was in the 120's but in the Research Area it reached mid 130's. I plan to come back in the winter and do a more in depth study of this fantastic place. The Forest here is very similar to Congaree in South Carolina. One difference there are no Conifer species are growing here, maybe Cedar. The other two Research Areas may have trees the same age and size. It will take a couple of trips to get to all these different areas. Delta NF is approximately 6-7 miles wide and 20 miles long.
The Green Ash-Overcup Oak-Sweetgum Research Natural Areas within the Delta National Forest are rare examples of a pristine bottomlands hardwood forest. I just went to the Sweetgum Area for some data on them. Sunflower Management Area is throughout the Forest so a Daily Permit is required for usage. There are lots of Hunting and Fishing activities as well as a few Campsites which I will stay at in the future.
Let’s take a look at the Forest coming in from one of the Check-in stations on the northeast side. The next photo is of Campsite 6 which is on the northeast corner of the Sweetgum Research Area. The third photo shows an ATV trail that runs east to west on the north end of the area. Let’s get to the Trees. The Sweetgum Research Area is a 40 acre tract and I only walked around in maybe a quarter of it. Many other species are growing here but the dominate tree was big Sweetgums. The first tree I measured just off the trail was only 122.5' tall with a CBH of 11' 8". Just to get a feel of my TruPulse 200 and my Prostaff 440. It's the first time I've used them both to measure trees. I then spied a whopper just south of this one. I'll call it Sweetgum 1, I was OMG! The CBH was 14' 7.5" and the Height was 135.5'. I also did a Crown Spread of 66' x 103.5' A real beast and up to then the tallest and largest Sweetgum that I had ever measured! I stayed at that tree what seemed like forever, I was stunned by its presence. South and a little west of this beast was another, it measured 13' 4 and had a Height to 136.5' another record! Since I was just scouting the area I went back to the Campsite and followed the ATV trail west for .5 miles. The Forest is filled with trees in the 120 class and I measured a few other species. A nice Willow Oak of 124.5' with a CBH of 12' 6", another Sweetgum to 126' with a CBH of 13'7", also a Overcup Oak to 121.5' with a CBH of 11' 4'. I was getting hungry so I walked back to the Campsite and had lunch. I then went back over to the Researh Area for one more look at that area and spied a MONSTER even larger than my biggest of the day. I was OMG! again, this tree was massive! It measured CBH 17' 1", Height to 135.5' and Crown Spread 52' x 84'. The mass went way up the trunk, this was one big Sweetgum! I must have stayed at this tree for at least an hour and hated to leave it but it was gettting late. The Forest is filled with Sweetgum, Willow Oak, Water Oak, Water Hickory, Mockernut Hickory, Honey Locust, Overcup Oak, Scarlet Oak, and Nuttall Oak. The understory had much Hornbeam and large Saw Palmetto was everywhere!! To be continued- Larry
Attachments
Delta National Forest
Delta National Forest
Check in Station
Check in Station
Campsite 6
Campsite 6
Sweetgum 1  CBH 14' 7.5"  Height 135.5'
Sweetgum 1 CBH 14' 7.5" Height 135.5'
Sweetgum 1a
Sweetgum 1a
Sweetgum 1b
Sweetgum 1b
Sweetgum 2 CBH 13' 4"  136.5'
Sweetgum 2 CBH 13' 4" 136.5'
Sweetgum 2a
Sweetgum 2a
Willow Oak
Willow Oak
Sweetgum 3 CBH 13' 7"  126'
Sweetgum 3 CBH 13' 7" 126'
Overcup Oak
Overcup Oak
The Monster Sweetgum 17' 1"   135.5'
The Monster Sweetgum 17' 1" 135.5'
Sweetgum 4a.jpg
Sweetgum 4b.jpg
Sweetgum 4c.jpg
Sweetgum 4d.jpg
Last edited by Larry Tucei on Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Will Blozan
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Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Will Blozan » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:37 am

DUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You need some help down there man! I wish I could easily help out on this fine stand. Looks like a gold mine. That sweetgum is a beast and close to a National Champion (~25 points).

Will

Joe

Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Joe » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:17 pm

Larry Tucei wrote:NTS- Delta National Forest is the only remaining tract of Bottomland Forest in Ms that one existed all along the River.
Larry, does that forest flood often? Were such large trees common along the MS River before the pale faces showed up?

Joe

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Rand
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Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Rand » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:16 pm

Okay that monster sweetgum is begging for a merged photo:
sweetgum-merged.jpg

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:21 pm

Joe- The region would have flooded much more in the past than it does today due to all the levees. The Mississippi River is west of here but the whole Delta area would have flooded annually. Yes the trees would have been gigantic before the Pale Face came. Randy- Thanks for merging those two photos, you get a better sense of its size. Larry

Joe

Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Joe » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:30 pm

Larry Tucei wrote:Joe- The region would have flooded much more in the past than it does today due to all the levees. The Mississippi River is west of here but the whole Delta area would have flooded annually. Yes the trees would have been gigantic before the Pale Face came. Randy- Thanks for merging those two photos, you get a better sense of its size. Larry
So, sweetgum is a flood plain species? I've seen very few here in Mass. There is a beauty on the U. Mass. campus, I'm sure Bob Leverett has seen that.

since the levees allow the river to be higher than the much of the floodplain, I presume the water table in the floodplain is very high all the time?
Joe

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:44 pm

Joe- I believe so but the soil is so loose that it does not hold water at the surface. We get so much rainfall down here avg. 53-55" a year that it stays high. I hope I answered your question. Sweetgum is a flood plain species. Larry
Last edited by Larry Tucei on Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Joe

Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Joe » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:46 pm

Larry Tucei wrote:Joe- I believe so but the soil is so loose that it does not hold water at the surface. We get so much rainfall down here avg. 53-55" a year that it stays high. I hope I answered your question. Larry
any gators there?
Joe

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:50 pm

Joe- Gators, Snakes the usual reptiles but mostly in and around the Lakes and Sloughs. When the temp falls the Gators go underground. The Mosquitos were bad for this time of year. I'll go back in Dec-Jan when its much colder.

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dbhguru
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Re: Delta National Forest Part I Sweetgum Natural Research A

Post by dbhguru » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:02 pm

Larry,

Way to go! Those sweetgums are super sweet. And the last one is a beast. I've always liked sweetgum. Now I know why.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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