Mountain Top Dwarf Pitch Pine  

TOPIC: Mountain Top Dwarf Pitch Pine
== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Mon, Dec 8 2008 8:00 pm
From: "Edward Frank"
I have been reading some of the associated documents related to the report on Mt Everett, MA
There are several other mountains that have similar dwarf pitch pine populations in New England.
I am wondering if you have visited any of these other mountain sites, or if you know of any reports made of these old-growth dwarf pitch pine communities?
Ed Frank
Subject: Re: Mount Everett
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 09:17:26 -0400
From: (Tom K. Wessels)
Don't limit the old growth pitch pine association just to Mount Everett. It is also present on the exposed
eastern ledges of Race Mountain and the domed summit of Bear Mountain to the south, plus other
smaller pockets. I'd guess that the coverage of this old growth association on the eastern side of this
section of the Taconics is in excess of 150 hectares.
(Mount Race is a mountain summit in Berkshire County in the state of Massachusetts (MA). Mount Race climbs to 2,372 feet (722.99 meters) above sea level. Mount Race is located at latitude - longitude coordinates (also called lat - long coordinates or GPS coordinates) of N 42.082036 and W -73.432063.)
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999
From: "Robert Leverett"
The vegetation communities on the summits of Bear Mountain in Connecticut, Brace Mt. in
New York, Mount Frissell, Mt. Ashley, Alander Mt., Mt. Everett, Bash Bish Mt., Cedar Mt., and Fray
Mt. in Massachusetts have all been recently examined and the dwarf pitch pine communities are
limited to the summits of Everett, Race, and to a lesser extent, Bear.
(Bear Mountain, 2,326 feet (709 m), is prominent peak of the southern Taconic Mountains. It lies within the town of Salisbury, Connecticut, and is the highest mountain summit in the state of Connecticut.)
Date: Tue, 09 Nov 1999
Just one clarification. Dwarfed pitch pines like the ones on Everett, and every bit as intriguing, also
occur on some of the granite summits of Mount Desert Island, Maine and the north ridge of Mount
Cardigan, New Hampshire. Although Mount Everett is not alone, it remains one of a handful of
ridgetop dwarfed pitch pine communities which are definitely unusual.
Not Pitch Pine but older Hemlocks:
August 6, 1999
2) A hemlock stand near Alander Mtn. I cored these trees about 10 years ago with Ed Cook of the
Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, so their age is well documented. The oldest tree had
discernible rings going back to 1620, but the center of the tree was rotten. These trees are in a ravine
along Ashley Hill Brook. They start near the intersection of Lee Pond Brook and Ashley Hill Brook
and run south along Ashley Hill Brook. I also enclosed a publication where I had used these data to
demonstrate a tree ring standardization approach. I suspect that Ed Cook has also published on these
data. These trees are confined to the ravine, which is within quite a large section of State forest.
Paul C. Van Deusen
NCASI, Department of Civil Engineering
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155
(Alander Mountain, 2,239 feet (682 m) is a prominent peak of the south Taconic Mountains; it is located in southwest Massachusetts and adjacent New York. Part of the summit is grassy and open and part is covered with scrub oak and shrubs; the sides of the mountain are wooded with northern hardwood tree species.)

TOPIC: Mountain Top Dwarf Pitch Pine
== 1 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 4:51 am
Yes, I've been to other sites. Most have larger trees than Mt Everett, although not all. In Massachusetts, Mt Race comes closest to Everett. Mt Cargigan in NH and Mt Desert Island in Maine have dwarf pitch pines. I think the Catskills have several spots with dwarf pines.

== 2 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 6:52 am
From: "Edward Frank"
Thanks for the info. I was looking over the material in relation to the idea of unusual forests. Some of the people seemed to think that the dwarf pine population may have been genetically differentiated from the normal population of the species. Little tidbit about pockets of unusual vegetation or trees such other sites besides Mt Everett tend to pique my curiosity given the lack of more extensive or detailed descriptions. Other sites mentioned included areas around Guilder Pond, an area on Mt Everett described as
"most fully developed communities of mountain laurel that I (Bob L.) had seen. There was even a mention of a patch of old yellow birch at another location.
Similarly there are for many counties in PA county by county reports done by the nature Conservancy and by the Western PA Conservancy. I some of these, Butler Co, PA for example are mentions of some smaller patches that may be old growth or at least have some large and old trees. These are types of sites I would like to document better. Ill health held me back last year, so I am looking to hit some of these this year.

== 3 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 9:30 am
I'm glad to hear that your health is on the mend. As a stimulus to better health, nothing works better for me than time in the forest.
Beyond the tiny spots of dwarf pitch pine, unusual forest types in southern New England are the ones that include naturally occurring red pine. The places in Massachusetts where red pine is present and shows regeneration are probably less than a dozen - maybe half that. One of my scouting objectives for the spring will be to visit and assess the viability of the sites I know about and to look for others.
On a different theme, as the result of a private meeting this morning, it looks like I'm going to have a low-profile advisory role in helping DCR identify forest sites that deserve protection, but fall outside the scope of the forest reserve concept. I will also be helping to delineate the boundaries of small reserves that will add up to 50,000 acres. The large reserves have already been designated, as have some of the small reserves in the Berkshire region. I'll likely work within the Connecticut River Valley region.
I will also be resuming the project to help the Broad Brook Coalition study its 600-acre property with in rock-throwing distance of Monica's house, and finally, I am working on a contact to help Smith Vocational Education of Northampton better understand its property along the Broad Brook Corridor behind the house. The V.A. sold the land to Northampton and part of it is to teach timber management to students of Smith Vocational Ed. I'm not sure of what they teach their students in terms of basic forest ecology. Maybe I can help. ENTS is definitely expanding its role in advisory capacities.
As to the next bit of news, I visited Ice Glen yesterday and remeasured the great Ice Glen Pine, the champion tall hemlock, the champion tall shagbark hickory, the champion tall white ash, and another very large white ash. None of these trees showed any gain in growth. The Ice Glen Pine is 155.0 feet. However, Will climbed the tree several years ago and tape-dropped it to 155.5 feet. My Dec-9-2208 measurement probably represents instrument error on my part. I don't think the tree lost any crown. Its girth is 13.05 feet. The champion ash is has gone through the following set of measurements: (140.0, 9.7, 2004) to (139.2, 10.0, 2008). The tall hemlocks stat sequence is: (138.4, 10.2, 2006) to (138.4, 10.3, 2008). The big white ash has gone from (138.4, 11.2, 2004) to (137.3, 11.4, 2008). Ice Glen's RHI now stands at 128.2 feet. I suspect that on balance most of the other height champion trees have grown a little. I expect the RHI to be around 128.4 when all is said and done.
On a final note, my computer is slowly dying, so I'll be making a new purchase. I'm torn between MAC and PC. I'm leaning on converting to the MAC. Gary Beluzo and other academic friends swear by the MAC.

== 4 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 9:45 am
From: Andrew Joslin
Rocky hilltops in eastern Mass. often have small gnarled Pitch Pine
growing. Whether they are exceptionally old or are dwarf varieties is
another question. Clearly the exposed locations keep them in a
bonsai-like state. Another species that commonly grows in this
"dwarfed" state on exposed hilltops is Chestnut Oak. I think
fire is a factor in keeping these oaks in a shrub form.
Andrew Joslin
Jamaica Plain, MA

== 5 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 11:19 am
From: "Edward Frank"
Yes, Oaks are a common association with Pitch Pines in these types of environments (according to the literature - haven't really examined any myself). The associating described on Mt Everett is Pitch Pine and Bear Oak with some red oaks becoming established.   Chestnut oak is often found in drier ridgetops and would be a natural association. Bill Martin (EKU) described a Pitch Pine Chestnut Oak association with an understory of laurel in the Cumberland Plateau of KY and TN. So it would think also be an association in these extreme environments.
Tom Diggens at Youngstown State has mentioned dwarf chestnut oaks along the dry upper rim of Zoar Valley in New York. One question is whether or not these trees through the years have become dwarfed genetically or whether it is just a response to the growing conditions. Some people have suggested there is a genetic shift for some of the populations. Samples of seed of the pines or acorns could be collected and grown in a more hospitable environment to see how they grew. If these turned out to be stunted when growing somewhere else that would indicate a genetic distinct population. If they grew large, that would not be definitive. In cultivated varieties of dwarfed species, environmental conditions can trigger the species to revert back to their normal habit instead of maintaining their dwarf status. So if they grew big the result would not be conclusive as these dwarfing genes may be able to be turned on or off.
If you visit any of these sites, please try to do a good site description of the species present their abundance and character, some photos. The RI will not be that important as they are stunted, but a size range would be useful. The report on Mt Everett is a good read prior to visiting these types of sites. There is some age data presented in these documents. A dead trunk could be sliced and the rings counted. Coring small trunks in high stress situations may have the potential to be harmful.
In November 2004  I tried to get a discussion going regarding how to do a low tech study of these types of dwarf forests. I did not receive many responses.
Ed Frank

== 8 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 7:58 pm
From: doug bidlack
while at Rutgers my wife was told that there are some pitch pines in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey that are genetically dwarfed. I guess seedlings grown under good conditions will still be significantly smaller than other pitch pines. I wonder if someone else can confirm this.
I was also wondering about what plant you were referring to when you mentioned the dwarf chestnut oaks in New York? Did you mean a dwarf form of the chestnut oak, Quercus montana (previously Q. prinus) or dwarf chinkapin oak, Quercus prinoides, which is often called dwarf chestnut oak?
In the pine barrens of southeastern MA, dwarf chinkapin oak can be fairly common within the pitch pine forests, but still not near as common as bear oak.

== 9 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 8:00 pm
From: Carolyn Summers

 Actually, itıs the Shawangunks, just a little to the south of the Catskills.
A friend of mine owns about a hundred acres of dwarf pitch pine barrens. Old
growth in the Catskills is mostly spruce, I think. Here is a photo of one of
her trees that I particularly like. Reminds one of a Japanese garden.
Carolyn Summers

== 10 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 8:05 pm
From: "Edward Frank"
Tom Diggins mentioned Chestnut Oak at the edge of Zoar Valley that was dwarfed. I have not seen it myself. I believe it referred to Quercus montana but I am not 100% sure.

== 11 of 11 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 8:07 pm
From: "Edward Frank"
Re: [ENTS] Re: Mountain Top Dwarf Pitch Pine

Beautiful looking tree. Do you give more of a description of the site? If not that is fine.

== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 8:14 pm
From: "Edward Frank"
For the sake of discussion I think there should be a distinction made between trees that are "stunted" by environmental conditions from those that have become genetically adapted to the condition being "dwarf" specimens. That being said, until a population is tested in some way that is definitive you can't really tell which option is the one being exhibited, and in general usage the terms are typically used interchangeably.

== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 10:17 pm
How many generations would it take for environmental conditions to permit genetic adaptation to the site?


== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 10 2008 10:27 pm
From: "Edward Frank"
There would be no set time. It would be dependant on the size of the population, the degree of isolation of the trees by position or environmental condition, the genetic variability of the population. The harshness of the factor filtering the genetics of the population would be a factor. The nature of the adaptation. I am sure there are other factors so a simple answer isn't possible. it might take just a few generations, or perhaps a thousand years.

TOPIC: Mountain Top Dwarf Pitch Pine
== 3 of 5 ==
Date: Thurs, Dec 11 2008 3:00 pm
From: Marcboston

Has anyone collected seeds or taken a cutting to graft and put them in
a trial garden? I am a big fan of dwarf and unusual conifers and I am
not alone. In fact, the "Conifer Society" is filled with conifer nuts
always searching for something new. There alot of possibilities
here. If the dwarf pitch pine are truly "dwarfs", a named cultivar could
be developed!
Perhaps a nursery like the New England Wildflower Society could put
them into production and the proceeds go to perserving their
Members of the Conifer Society would love a guided tour of
the Dwarf Pitch Pines on Mt Everett. I know they have had outing in
the Rockies.
- Marc

== 4 of 5 ==
Date: Thurs, Dec 11 2008 6:49 pm
From: Randy Brown
Here's a picture I took of some dwarves on slopes/cliffs at the edge
of Zoar valley in 2007:
Context picture:

== 5 of 5 ==
Date: Thurs, Dec 11 2008 8:25 pm
From: Carolyn Summers
Could they be dwarf chinkapin oaks ­ Q. prinoides?
Carolyn Summers
63 Ferndale Drive
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

TOPIC: Mountain Top Dwarf Pitch Pine
== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 13 2008 5:40 pm
From: Carolyn Summers
My friendıs property (the tree picture) borders Minnewaska State Park, in
the heart of the Shawangunks. If you google either of those names, you will
find lots of info about this amazing place less than 2 hours from NYC. Very
interesting geology, endangered plants and rattlesnakes, etc. She has large
areas of ³pavement barrens² - expanses of almost flat or sloping rock ledges
with very little vegetation; exceptions being dwarfed trees like the pitch
pine in the photo. Hiking her place can be quite a slippery experience.
Carolyn Summers