Atlantic white-cedars in eastern MA

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#1)  Atlantic white-cedars in eastern MA

Postby DougBidlack » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:57 pm


here are a few measurements I've made of this species over the last few years.  In December of 2012 I measured two trees in Rehoboth State Park, Rehoboth.
5.08' x 71.9'
4.41' x 74.5'
Both of these measurements were made with my Nikon 440 using the sine method.

In February of 2013 I measured one tree in the Hales Brook Tract of East Over Reservation in Marion.  It was a little taller than the tallest Rehoboth tree.
3.85' x 74.9'
Below is a picture of this tree.
Marion Cedar.jpg

Today I was able to measure some trees at a Bedford site that I'd had my eye on for a while and that I was talking to Jared about last Sunday.  The tallest measured:
3.26' x 74.4'
I made quick shots of 6 others but none were as tall so I didn't make better measurements.  Still, 3 of these 6 trees were likely between 70' and 72'.

Hopefully we'll soon find taller Atlantic white-cedars in Massachusetts.  I'm sure the species easily reaches 80' in this state.  We just have to find them.

P.S.  I think Jared told me that he had also measured some trees of this species to over 70' in Massachusetts.  Oh, and all the other trees I measured were with the sine method using the Nikon 440.


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#2)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in eastern MA

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:52 pm

Yesterday Doug and Ellen Bidlack hosted an Atlantic white cedar hunt in southeastern Massachusetts, to which Andrew Joslin, his friend Asa, and I were cordially invited. We met in the morning, piled our bodies and gear into my car, and set off for Copicut Woods in Fall River.

I parked the car on Yellow Hill Road and we walked a short way into the woods to a nice stand of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in a swamp populated by red maple, pitch and white pines, yellow birch, and tupelo. With a sense of where the big cedar trees are, the Bidlacks led us to some spectacular trees. As a team we measured six of the largest. Here are their dimensions, from shortest to tallest:

6.61’ x 59’3”
6.04’ x 62’1”
6.67’ x 62’10”
6.36’ x 64’10”
5.84’ x 65’8”
6.71’ x 66’5” x 16’8.75” (average crown spread)

It just so happened that one individual was both the tallest and girthiest, so we measured its crown spread to be able to put it in the running for state champion. With the measurements from today this tree has 150.9 big tree points (80.52 + 66.42 + 4). It must be that once a tree has reached the threshold of 150 big tree points it begins to talk. This tree was making noises at us. Here are a few photos of this fine tree:

6.71 x 66.42 AWC - base.jpg

6.71 x 66.42 AWC - top.jpg

6.71 x 66.42 AWC - looking up.jpg

As we were returning to the car we stopped to admire a small patch of mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia). Let me specify that it is the patch that is small, not the plants themselves. This is the biggest mountain laurel I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure! We measured the tallest stem at 0.76’ CBH x 19’1” tall! Below is the 19-ft mountain laurel, with red arrows pointing to the top and bottom of the plant.

0.76 x 19.1 Mtn laurel.jpg

After this successful tree hunt we returned to the car and took a lunch break on our way to the second site of the day, Acushnet Cedar Swamp. This property is over 1,000 acres, and if you don’t know where you’re going you can find yourself wandering aimlessly through thickets of brier. That’s kind of what we ended up doing. ☺ With the sun nearing the horizon, we returned to the car without having seen a single cedar tree! Fortuitously, we encountered a local on our way out and got the skinny on how to get to the Atlantic white cedars. You can expect a report on the trees of the Acushnet Cedar Swamp in the near future!

Last edited by a_blooming_botanist on Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#3)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in eastern MA

Postby AndrewJoslin » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:32 pm

Dogged determination! Doug capturing the vitals on a tall Mountain Laurel.

Jared finding the top on an Atlantic White Cedar. Now I know why his black birch walking stick is as long as it is, nice brace for holding the Truepulse.

Doug and Jared working in the underbrush surrounded by potential champion Clethra! ;-)

There are cedars with straight up vertical bark furrows...

and there are those that twist and shout!

Cedars tall together

Pitch Pine with impressively deep bark furrows. The bark characteristics and gnarly crown suggested an age greater than the other pitch pines we looked at in the bog.

Red maples growing in the crumbling remains of a fallen tree's root plate. Live Yellow Birch roots woven in there as well.


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#4)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in eastern MA

Postby dbhguru » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:36 pm

Doug, Jared, Andrew,

   I submitted your biggest Atlantic white cedar to the MA state champion tree program coordinator for you. As of now, it will become the state champ. I expect you'll be breaking the record soon.  

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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#5)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in eastern MA

Postby Lucas » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:04 pm

Image ... =3&theater

Big Tree Presentation at the Barrington Library this Sat Sept 24th at 10 AM. A hike to see some Atlantic White cedars like this state champ will take place right after. Be sure to sign up at the library website.

We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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#6)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in eastern MA

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:38 pm

Today I went on a little solo reconnaissance mission to scope out the Atlantic white cedars in the Westborough cedar swamp. At the confluence of several streams and at the headwaters of the Sudbury River, this wetland area covers over 1,600 acres. There are only scattered patches of cedar trees these days, however, making the task of sizing up these conifers a little less daunting.

I first visited the southern edge of the swamp, where I know there to be Atlantic white cedars. I parked my car in the back of St. Luke’s cemetery and walked a short way down a dirt road running along the edge of a field to where a path cuts into the woods. Upon entering the woods I could see the first and most accessible stand of target trees. The tallest of the group stood out to me, so I made my way across the frozen wetland to measure it. Not far from the tallest of the bunch was the girthiest, so I measured the two up properly and took some pictures of them. Here they are:

3.66’ CBH x 69’5”
3.66 x 69 ft AWC.jpg

4.31’ CBH x 60’10”
4.31 x 60 ft AWC.jpg

After getting a sense of how big the trees in this stand are, I walked back to the dirt road and continued walking east to another path cut into the woods. This path leads deep into the wetlands, reaching as far as the kettlehole pond in the center, Cedar Swamp Pond. The trail is only passible in winter when the ground is frozen, and, despite the bitter cold today, the ice was not thick enough to support my weight. So I surveyed the trees that I could from the safety of the swamp edge. These trees are between 60 and 65’ tall, with circumferences in the 3 to 4’ range.

With the little remaining daylight, I stopped at one other stand of Atlantic white cedars growing in the northwest corner of the swamp. To access these trees I parked in the parking lot of the Westborough Senior Center and walked southeast across the playground and ball fields. Here again, the trail leading into the swamp is most manageable when the ground is frozen solid. Before I was able to get up close to the cedars I encountered a portion of the trail inundated with relatively deep water and a thin sheet of ice on top. So, I sized up the cedar trees as best I could from where I was. Once again, these trees are cruising at roughly 60 – 65’ with circumferences comparable to those in the southern portion of the swamp. One tree in this stand that I had the opportunity to measure last month was 3.88' CBH x 59'8".

Here’s a picture of this northwestern stand:
Westborough Cedar Swamp - NW stand.jpg


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