Sky Lake Mississippi

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Devin
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:41 pm

Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by Devin » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:38 pm

I had the pleasure of visiting sky lake, near Greenwood MS the other day. Sky lake was once part of the ms river and now is a oxbow lake. The area was high graded in the past but still has some ancient, gnarly relics. The kiosk there said that these trees were some of the oldest bald cypress that exist on the planet. It was a beautiful spring day and the water was maybe 3-4 feet deep? There is an impressive boardwalk that extends about a quarter mile into the swamp. The area was privately owned but donated to the state for preservation. The forest consisted of cypress and water tupelo with water elm (Planera aquatica) underneath. Buttonbush and water locust were spotted, but in general the forest was dominated by three species. I was curious to what kind of herbacious, or even shrubbery could tolerate the severe flooding. The trees had high watermarks on them. It would be interesting to go back in a drier month and see what grows on the floor. Prob just a bunch of cane grass.


I was able to get a quick video of the area, the birds were feisty that day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBYxhGtjE3w&feature=youtu.be
Attachments
IMG_0973.JPG
water locust
water locust
tight grain
tight grain
IMG_0935.jpg
One of the oldest trees documented 1000+years
One of the oldest trees documented 1000+years
beast
beast
IMG_0897.JPG
planer trees infested with galls
planer trees infested with galls
IMG_0824.jpg

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bbeduhn
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Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:00 pm

I know of only five other places with documented 1000+ baldcypresses, The eastern Oldlist lists them here. I've seen the ones in Four Holes Swamp. I intend to measure there at some point.

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~adk/oldli ... /TADI.html

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:10 pm

Devin- Cool Post!! Love the growth ring shot. Sky Lake is a sample of what all of the southern swamps would have contained. Pascagoula River also has some Cypress documented to over 1000. Some NTS members went to Sky Lake back in -07. Larry

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by Matt Markworth » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:51 pm

Devin,

Very cool, I especially like the video. I've been trying to take more of them myself since smartphones make it so easy.

Matt

Devin
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:41 pm

Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by Devin » Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:31 pm

Bbeduhn- After becoming inspired about cypress I did a little research and found this great publishing. It mentions the Four Holes swamp as having "giant columnar trees", and one of the few virgin stands that actually had desired timber. It goes into detail on how the trees location affects its growth form, and thus its marketability. Obvious with terrestrial trees (biggest trees usually on sheltered alluvial flats), but I never thought about "water trees" and their relationship to water depth, salinity, dissolved oxygen etc.

http://www.uark.edu/misc/dendro/PUBS/20 ... le-QSR.pdf

Larry- Just getting a taste makes me drool over what the south was originally, especially the longleaf and cypress in Louisiana.

Matt- Smartphones do make it easy, once you have pano'ed a tree you never want to revert to normal again. I need to get a phone necklace for mine when shooting though, especially over water, darn things are so smooth feel like I am gonna drop it at any moment.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:55 am

Devin,
Fascinating article! I like that it mostly makes sense to amateur scientists. The discoveries of baldcypress in Baltimore, Washington DC and Philadelphia are enlightening. I intend to get back to Four Holes this year or next. It's been at least a decade since I was there. I do recall the taxodium not having the bell bottoms so common in Congaree. The Audubon Society erected a boardwalk to some of the oldest trees.
Brian

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dbhguru
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Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:11 am

Devin,

Dr. Dave Stahle, Director of the Tree-ring Laboratory at UARK, and his associates did the dating on the Sky Lake cypresses. Dave knows all about them. He's sending me information on the trees and his work there. I'll post the info when I get it.

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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Rand
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Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Post by Rand » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:27 pm

I thought the explanation or cypress knees was particularly interesting:
Baldcypress trees can adventitiously sprout fine root systems from the stem, upper root system, and “knees” (vertical root formations, sometimes over 1e2 m tall; Fig. 5) to track long-term changes in mean water levels and to maximize the fine feeder root mass in the zone of well- oxygenated near surface water. If the mean water level is lowered for decades, then baldcypress seem able to sprout new rootlets at lower levels on the stem, lateral roots, and knees to continue to supply moisture and nutrients to the plant. Or conversely they can abandon low-level fine roots and sprout new roots higher up the stem and knees when the water level is persistently raised. In fact, the most important physiological function of knees, which has been long debated (Kurz and Demaree, 1934), may be to increase the fine root mass in the zone of well-oxygenated near surface water, more than would be possible solely with roots skirting the main stem.
In uncut virgin cypress stands, Mattoon (1915) described baldcypress “to be a tree of even-aged groups within all-aged stands,” reflecting the infrequent episodic bursts of reproduction only when climatic conditions and swamp water levels became ideal for (a) germination and then (b) several years of rapid height growth to allow the young cypress seedlings to survive subsequent inundations
Here's a blurb from one of my books that gives a few more details about cypress regeneration:
..since we began observing forests and studying the habits of particular trees, bald cypress hasn't been noted for its abundant regeneration. Except for chestnut, this species probably has had the greatest reduction in volume over the past century than any American tree.
[...]
Nature is cyclic, and the weather is in nature's realm. Every so often -perhaps once in 5 years or once in 500- surface water in any swamp disappears. That's the time for bald cypress and its pond cypress variety, both ecological pioneers, to become established. But the seeds must be available and they must come to rest on a saturated, but not inundated seed bed. And there's the rub, for although produced about every third year, the sticky seeds are scattered only by water, never by wind or animals. To make matters worse, they are often washed from the site of initial deposition by suddenly rising waters that simultaneously destroy a potential forest or create one on another site.

Suppose now that the seed has been "cast upon the waters" and evenly distributed. Suppose, too, that just at this time -while those seeds are still viable- a drought comes, and the pond almost (but not quite) dries up. Suppose also that the soil which is still a little moist remains just so for three months in the spring and into early summer. If the suppositions hold, we've probably got a crop of germinating bald cypress seedlings. But one thing yet is needed; the seedlings must not be inundated for more than three weeks during their first year. If the water is warm, reducing the level of free oxygen, or if there are silt and clay sediments in the water to precipitate to the bottom and clog the soil pore, death will likely follow.

from Forests: A Naturalist's Guide to Woodland Trees, by Lawrence C. Walker

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