The Weymouth Oak Barry Caselli
  February 07, 2009

Today I took a short little trip to measure the Weymouth Oak, as I call it. After coming up with my idea the other day, I decided to try it. I took a big heavy bolt and tied it to the end of my tape with a wire tie, and threw the end of the tape around the tree while standing on the edge of the high river bank. I then picked up the end of the tape and worked the tape up so that all of it was the right height, and then measured. I found the CBH to be 12', just about exactly.
Weymouth, or Weymouth Furnace, was a bog iron furnace and village, which was in operation from about 1800 or 1801, up into the 1840s or so. After the furnace shut down two paper mills were built on the property. An asphalt road goes through the property today, going over one of the original village streets. About one or two dozen twentieth-century houses exist today, along with the 1805 (or 1807) church. Other than that it's all preserved land in one way or another- part county park, part state wildlife management area, and part NJ Natural Lands Trust preserve. The ruins of both paper mills are in a tiny county park where you can have a picnic. On the edge of the dirt parking area there, you can find a large Sweetgum. I measured the CBH at 10' 3". In this picnic area/park, you can also find smaller sweetgums, buttonwoods and other things, all of which seem to be offspring of original trees. Ruins, cellar holes and foundations can be found in  surrounding woodlands.

Across the asphalt road, in the NJ Natural Lands Trust preserve, you can find a very interesting assortment of trees. At least one of them dates to the bog iron era. That is the oak I measured today, mentioned above. Other trees were planted during the paper mill period or even during the 20th century when some people were allowed to live in the village before it was abandoned. When you walk the path into the woods, the Great Egg Harbor River is down the steep bank on your right. On your left there are two rows of Norway Spruces, at about a 45 degree angle from the path (which is an old street). There is also a small hemlock and a small European Larch. Just past these trees on the right, on the edge of the river bank, you find the old oak. This oak once had a twin, just several yards away. That tree died and came down many years ago, and lies in pieces on the ground. Common woodland trees in this woodland include Pitch Pine,  Eastern Red Cedar, Tuliptree, Buttonwood, White and other oaks, and American Holly.

The Buttonwood and Tuliptrees are likely offspring of former village trees which no longer stand. Further along the path there is an oak that's quite big but not as big as the one on the river bank. This one I measured at CBH 8' 6". Keep walking and you start to find more unusual trees. There are two old maples, one on each side of you, along with a single bald cypress tree, a single hemlock tree, and 4 or 5 European Larches, one of them dead. In this area down the embankment to your right you find a cedar swamp between you and the river, so the river isn't visible from this point. The Hemlock here is the one I would like measured (height), and checked for HWA if possible. Its offspring below it don't seem to have it, which is encouraging. I had measured the CBH of this hemlock and bald cypress on an earlier visit, maybe last week. The hemlock is 9' 6", but had to be  measured lower than usual, to get below a second vertical leader that starts pretty low. The bald cypress is 5' 11 1/2", and a nearby sweetgum is 7' 9 1/2".
I will send pictures later, or maybe I'll set up a Flikr or photobucket account so that people can click links instead of view attachments. I have an unlimited Webshots account, but Webshots is slow, and I think they don't take kindly to linking to individual photos.

Here's the 12' CBH Oak:

Here's the 10' 3" Sweetgum, the largest I've seen anywhere:

Here's the 5' 11 1/2" Bald Cypress, the only one there:

Here's the 9' 6" Hemlock, the only one there:


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