Significance of Ice Glen Explored
17, 2003 07:07 PST
Will, Colby, Lee, Dale, et al:
Yesterday John Knuerr and I
remeasured the huge Ice Glen white
pine, a tree that has been frequently remeasured. My last
was from the uphill side. The uphill side of the crown can be
and the height of that side is somewhere between 153 and 154.5
However, that isn't where the high point is located. The
the pine has the high point, but it is within a nested top and
consistent measurements are hard to get. Yesterday, both John
topped 156. On occasion I've done that in the past, but not
consistently. With two sets of instruments, I feel comfortable
now go with the higher measurement. In addition, I can justify
as the best circumferential measurement. So, the two values
record book for 2003. The Ice Glen white pine is an old tree and
broad, fairly flat crown. I don't thinki it will get much taller
is. I suspect that we seeing the tree during the period
start down hill.
In fact, I think our 126.11
Rucker height index is approaching the
maximum for Ice Glen and to my mind that bit of information has
significance for reasons that will later be explained. But
species by species analysis will explain why I think we're near
maximum for Ice Glen.
1. In terms of the Rucker index, white pine is the flag ship
New England and Ice Glen has it. But in terms of producing a
height index, there is only one main contributor in the Glen -
Glen pine. The old field pines on Ice Glen's north side are
growing taller than present, but they get buffeted frequently by
Crown damage is the rule instead of the exception. However, the
pine is in protected area. Height wise, it probably represents
we're going to get out of the pines. I admit to teh possibility
possibility of a north-side pine eventually catching the big
regardless, I'd place the pine height limit of Ice Glen at 157.
present, if we lose the big Ent, we're down to 151.1 as the next
contributor. Lose the second and 150.2 becomes the third.
we're in the mid-140s. So we can set au upper limit of 157 to
for Ice Glen with confidence.
2. White ash is turning out to be a beautiful performer in the
140-footer is eventually possible. But more than that is just
dice with the elements. I think the larger ash trees are
maximum. Presently, there are two solid candidates for a future
in Ice Glen and maybe 3. So with white ash, we have a little
if we lose one. However, for purposes of this analysis, we can
upper limit for the species in Ice Glen at 140 with a moderately
probability of holding one in that class for a decade or two.
3. The champion hemlock in Ice Glen is now at 137.1 feet and may
137.5. I'd place 138 as its ceiling and that's also the ceiling
the hemlocks in the Glen. Lose the champ, and we drop like a
131.1 as the next best. Lose number two and were down to about
we can set the hemlock's maximum contribution to 138 and with
adelgid lurking near by, a precariously one at that.
4. The current shagbark hickory champ has potential to grow
could eventually make 135. It is an amazing tree. But, alas, it
of a kind. If it goes, there are no close replacements. We can
max at 135, but lose it and we drop all the way to 120. Yuk!
5. Our black cherry champ has already dropped in height
more meticulous measurements (John Knuerr and myself,
yesterday). It is
now at 120.5, but lose it and we're screwed. We're down to 115
is little depth in black cherry beyond that. There may be 2 or 3
6. We have a pignut hickory in the Glen at 120.8 with a back up
117. We could eventually get a 122, but I just don't see any
more. There are very few. If we want to live dangerously
7. The red maple is wide spread with lots of potential. The
champ is 116.5. I can image us eventually pulling a 118 out of
but one will have to grow into this number. Lose the top
we have a backup only inches less. After that, its the doldrums.
8. We have the one American elm at 115.2. Need I say more.
At this point, I'll lump the
remainder in the 110 to 113 category.
No shortage of trees will be in that height range. So lets see
these numbers point us, 157, 140, 138, 135, 121, 120, 118, 115,
113 averages to 127.2. But for Ice Glen to reach 127.2, all
be at the above maximums at the same time. If the maximums are
realistic, concurrently maintaining all of them over time
increasingly improbable. Of course a N. red oak in the Glen may
into the 115 to 118-foot class, partially offsetting the loss of
the better performers, but the scenarios all point to something
127.2 as being the probably maximum for Ice Glen. I'd guess
Incidentally, sugar maples are well represented in Ice Glen, but
find it as good for growing as they do in Trout Brook and on
Ridge in Mohawk. The sugar maples in the Glen will not be super
performers, nor will the basswoods. So what we've got is what we
So what does this all add up
to? At present, I see Ice Glen as our
best indicator of what a good southern New England site can
Mohawk is an anomalie and non-representative of the geographical
If we want to start putting points on the map in terms of Rucker
plotted against latitude and longitude, Ice Glen may be the
to use to typify southern New England, or 41 - 43 degrees
we drop south of that we likely substitute tulip tree for white
retain a big performer. But for the same site, multiple big
at 41 degree and north starts to stretch the odds. Now, we can
begin to appreciate the significance of Zoar Valley, New York.
Excepting the Mohawk
anomalie, in southern New England, Ice Glen's
only present competitor is Monroe State Forest, which could
be nursed up to 123 or even 124, but not more. There may be
sites that are close to 120 if not slightly over, but without a
pine or tuliptree flagship species to lead the way, the
sites yield 2 full points on the index before starting. Rhode
and eastern Mass are too close to salt water. Those places can
fine trees, but they wont push the index.
Given that the southern
Appalachians and the southern swamps out
perform the Northeast by quite a lot, the point is not in
contests in which the Northeast is bound to lose, but to
the maximums are for the overall regions and individual sites.
where John Knuerr, Gary Beluzo, John Eichholz, and myself can do
best work. With John Eichholz aboard, we can get a much better
understanding of the growth potential of the full Deerfield
corridor. John and I have sampled it at points all the way to
mouth, but need to expand the sampling.
It should be
remembered that the site indices we are computing
for Massachusetts reflect the best sites we've been able to
of the upland Berkshire region represents very ordinary growing
conditions and a not insignificant proportion of sites are
totally uninspiring. By contrast, for the Connecticut River
its much deeper soils, large areas are capable of producing
trees. Within the mountainous regions, the areas that grow the
invariably in mountain valleys and coves/ravines and on the toe
of ridges. Large bowl-shaped drainages with stable boulder
as on Clark Ridge, obviously do exist, but may not produce
trees. Some do, some don't. I suspect the poor performers don't
their moisture well enough as Lee frequently suggests. There are
of potentially good mountain sites left to warrant extended
develop increasingly better comparisons between the lowland,
valley sites of the Connecticut, and the western mountain sites.
As a final bit of
information, when we returned to our cars, we
walked along the Housatonic River on an old Trolly Bed. We spied
cottonwood that proved to be 12.9 feet around and 107 feet tall.
further confirmation of the consistency with which the species
to between 105 and 110 feet in height over a large part of its
how infrequently we encounter cottonwoods over 120 in
really are getting this species dialed in.
Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society
The Significance of Ice Glen Explored
17, 2003 08:13 PST
Colby, Lee, Dale, et al:
it was a wonderful day out there...
and i know that bob's zeal made him forget that he had two
understudys in training out there with him and brother john k.
it is part of bob's spread the word policy....
i even have pictures of him doing the gorilla dance...
in the pitch, working on my dues...