Eastern White Pine site in Newaygo County, MI

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#1)  Eastern White Pine site in Newaygo County, MI

Postby AccipiterGentilis » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:53 pm

ENTS Members:

I recently stumbled sheerly by luck upon an impressive non-recognized white pine site in the lower peninsula of Michigan.  The site is owned by Consumers Energy but is leased by the county for public use, and is located in Newaygo county near and adjacent to the Muskegon River.  Their is a plaque commemorating the white pine and that there will not be any cutting on the site in the future and that there has not been since 1964.  

I would describe the stand as follows:  about 30 acres of white pine as the canopy dominant with a mix of typical mesic to dry mesic species: American beech, red oak, red maple, and white oak.   It is an open stand lacking  a dense understory but American beech is the most abundant understory species.  It appears to be a sandy and acidic soil that predominates here and the only herbaceous ground cover species I could find was Dryopteris intermedia or fancy wood fern.  I found a few scattered sugar maples saplings.  The white pine in the stand are the tallest I have seen in the lower peninsula outside of Hartwick Pines.  I spent an hour or more hiking and measuring with a laser range finder. My method for determining height is to shoot straight up and then add my height in if appropriate.   I will begin by saying that these are simply height estimates and not meant to be accurate, but they do give one an impression of the tree heights.

Most of the tall trees I measured with range finder are between 120 and 140' in height.  IF the rangefinder I am using is "modestly accurate" then most of the tall trees are over 125' and maybe a few around 140 feet or higher.  Interestingly, the diameter of the trees is not outstanding, and again an estimate, I would say most are between 24 and 30 inches.  However, some of the bigger specimens are close to 3 feet and a few may be over 36" in diameter.  The bark is rough as you might see on mature white pine.

The white pines here are impressive and yet are just part of the great potential that this county has for growing eastern white pine.  Newaygo county, Michigan is historically home to fantastic white pine sawlog numbers and  nearly all of the county is suitable for eastern white pine re-establishment as the dominant tree by volume and size.  Its literally a white pine growing machine, in my humble opinion.   An interesting thing about these these pines is that they have relatively skinny diameters, perhaps a result of tight growing conditions and smaller crowns, but also perhaps a sign that the trees are not much over 100 years old?  The white pine old growth in Hartwick tends to be larger diameter and also has taller trees.   However I would say that anywhere in Crawford county, Michigan (north-central Michigan) is going to be a much colder and more extreme growing environment  than Newaygo county (western Michigan, much more southern latitude).  Do these trees have the potential of growing over 150 feet?  

I guess these are questions I find myself pondering, as well as some more accurate measurements on the trees than my old range finder and my eyes.  I hope that maybe a few ENTS'ers will find this a worthy place for a field visit on their next trip through the state of Michigan.

Dan Morris

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#2)  Re: Eastern White Pine site in Newaygo County, MI

Postby dbhguru » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:39 pm

Dan,

 The numbers you post are quite reasonable. On good white pine sites, lots of trees growing in close proximity and in the age range to 100 to 150 years can be between 120 and 140 feet in height while having diameters of only 26 to 30 inches. The trees fatten out quicker on super sites, but as competition reduces the number of stems per acre on the more moderate sites, individual pines move up into the 30 to 40-inch diameter class.

  Doug Bidlack is originally from Michigan and goes there frequently. Hopefully, he'll get to those pines in the not too distant future. Thanks for letting us know about them.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest

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#3)  Re: Eastern White Pine site in Newaygo County, MI

Postby AccipiterGentilis » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:35 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Bob.  Excellent insight!

 I think it is a great site with a lot of potential for 150 foot plus trees in the long term.  I am hopeful that Doug Bidlack andpr other NTS members will be able to check it out because it is simply a neat area, if not for the tall white pines.  Located right next to the Hardy dam, the grove of pine is also surrounded by a large amount of forest that may be more than interesting to hike as well.  

 It would be great to get some good accurate measurements on these eastern white pines.


Thanks again!
Dan
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#4)  Re: Eastern White Pine site in Newaygo County, MI

Postby dbhguru » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:22 pm

Dan,

  We take your new white pine site seriously. We have a project in NTS to profile the species maximum growth over its  geographical range. We're good for half dozen states, but lack data in others. We need more midwestern sites, especially Michigan and Wisconsin.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
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#5)  Re: Eastern White Pine site in Newaygo County, MI

Postby AccipiterGentilis » Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:31 pm

Here are a few photos of this white pine site in Newaygo county, Michigan.
Attachments
ents.jpg
A larger than 30" white pine on the 30 acres
ENTS3.jpg
A view from inside the woods
1220151607.jpg
Another shot of the pines from the road
ENTS1.jpg
A fine white pine on the site from across the road

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