Weekend forays:  Robinson State Park   Robert Leverett
  Oct 23, 2006 05:29 PDT 


   Two days of intense tree measuring produced some gratifying results.
On Saturday I went solo to MTSF.

   On Sunday, Gary Beluzo and I went to Robinson SP and wandered around
in new areas. We were not disappointed. The catch for Sunday follows.

Species Height Circ
N. red oak 117.2 8.1
Pignut hickory 113.2 7.3
N. red oak 113.2 9.2
Sycamore 112.9 9.0
Sycamore 112.7 9.8
Pignut hickory 109.2 4.8
Cottonwood 105.2 8.6
Sugar maple 104.7 8.0
Cottonwood 102.6 8.7
N. red oak 100.3 11.1
Pignut hickory 99.7 6.5
Pignut hickory 99.4 8.0
Pignut hickory 98.2 5.9
White oak 93.1 7.4
Black birch 92.2 7.7
Slippery elm 88.0 7.7
N. red oak 87.7 10.4
White birch 78.8 4.9

   The Northern red oak in Robinson SP is the tallest I've measured thus
far in the Connecticut River Valley region. The Rucker index of Robinson
is now 112.2. I believe we will eventually get to between 113 and 114.
Within state forests, reservations, and parks within the Connecticut
River Valley region, Robinson moves into 2nd place behind Mt Tom State
Reservation in terms of its RHI. Mt Tom is 115.8. Within Massachusetts,
RHIs for state forests and park-like properties, public and private are
as follows.

Site    Rucker Index
Mohawk Trail State Forest 136.1
Ice Glen                    126.2
Monroe State Forest         123.7
Mount Tom State Reservation 115.8
Bullard Woods                 112.9
Laurel Hill in Stockbridge 112.5
Bartholomew Cobble         112.5
Robinson State Park         112.2
Monica’s Woods (Florence, MA) 112.1
Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary 111.5
Stanley Park, Westfield         109.1
Hatfield Floodplain         107.4
Bryant Woods                 106.9
Look Park                 106.6
Skinner State Park         101.7

    Unless Lee confirms otherwise on Oct 26th, Gary and I are in
agreement that black maple is not present in Robinson SP. The early
identification relied on the characteristic of the sun leaves of sugar
maple, which were also the first to fall. The identification process was
a reminder to me for how much leaf variability there is for sugar maple.
I have since started to look at variability more carefully among the
oaks, not that I've been previously unaware that it exists, but how
often it results in misleading descriptions in tree ID books. Here is a
case in point. Monica has a scarlet oak. Its fall color is unmistakably
scarlet that of scarlet or pin. The vivid color is what first catches
the eye. Its acorns are unmistakably scarlet, by common description
(striped). However, I read a description of pin oak in an Arkansas tree
guide that described the striped pattern as applying to some pin oaks.
The shapes of the tree's leaves at the top are simple and close to pin
oak. However, most of the leaves throughout most of the tree's foliage
have the more complex structure of scarlet, relative to pin. But at the
bottom, some of the broader shade leaves are suggestive of black oak.
The bark texture and pattern is about midway between red and black oak -
as opposed to being close to what I commonly observe for pin oak. The
tree has none of the curled lower branching common to you and
intermediate aged pin oaks. It is a scarlet with some pin and black oak
characteristics. Enough to give one a headache. Where are the dividing


Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society