Cucumber Tree Ages   Edward Frank
  Nov 13, 2005 19:54 PST 

What is the oldest Cucumber tree that anyone has cored or dated?

Re: Cucumber Tree   John A. Keslick, Jr.
  Nov 14, 2005 03:37 PST 
I counted the increments that I could see of the CUCUMBER which fell in Cook State Park Forest and it was 300 or over. Some increments were hard to see at the time. It, in its life time, had a steady supply of natural mulch. Leaves, twigs, trunks etc. Plus much more such as insects decomposing, scat and much more. That is an example as to what I want to bring to urban trees such as composted wood chips and leaves. That's why I believe in bringing more eco-art nurse logs into the urban trees.


John A. Keslick, Jr.
Re: Cucumbertree & Kentucky old-growth
  Nov 14, 2005 04:53 PST 

Dear Ed et al.,

The oldest cucumbertree to date that I am familiar with is one I cored in
central Virginia. Myvonwynn Hopton and I dated it to 348 years. This was cored
back in 2003. So, it will be 350 years old today if it is still alive. I
haven't been back to see it since 2003.

Dave Orwig, Tony D'Amato and I have a paper in review on the new maximum ages
of four species. Specifically, this paper is about the new maximum ages of
less-well studies species [dendrochronologically speaking] such as red maple,
cucumbertree, shagbark hickory and sweet [black] birch. These new max ages were
in a small, initial sampling of each species. We compare these new maximum ages
to those reported in the literature. Compared to the silvics manual of
North America, two of these species are 100 to nearly 200 yrs older than the
commonly-expected maximum age. Dave [forever master of
the literature] has dug up a couple old papers that have max ages closer to
what we've found. The age of 348 yrs for cucumbertree, however, is still nearly
50 yrs
older than the maximum known age in the literature. This all shows how much we
have to learn about life history traits of many [most?] trees species in the
eastern US.

Speaking of how much we have to learn: there is some initial momentum in the
formation of the Kentucky Old-Growth Forest Society. I presented a paper to the
Kentucky Academy of Sciences last Friday proposing such a group. And,
Mary Bird Davis contacted me out of the blue on Saturday. She is updating her
and expanding it to include old, somewhat 'damaged' forests:

Mary and her husband now live in Lexington, about 20 miles from where I now
live. I am now a professor at Eastern Kentucky University. I've had discussions
with members of the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, Kentucky State Nature
Preserves Commission and the Kentucky Native Plant Society about the formation
of an old-growth society modeled after work in the northeast; Bob's work and
the short-lived NY old growth society, primarily. The responses have been very
positive. We plan on having an initial meeting of interested parties this
winter and then a larger meeting associated with a fieldtrip and some lectures
sometime in the spring.

If anyone is interested in participating, please contact me. I'll keep ENTS
updated as we move forward. My new email is ---. I
have to change my ENTS subscription over soon...

The idea for this group sprung from a hike at Blanton Forest last month. For
living near SE KY and havae not been to Blanton, plan on making a trip. I agree
with Miles, it is a very impressive preserve, geologically and ecologically:

Hope this helps,
Re: Cucumbertree & Kentucky old-growth   Lee Frelich
  Nov 15, 2005 18:54 PST 

Congratulations on your new job at EKU!

We have a 100 year old cucumber tree in Minneapolis that survived a direct
hit by an F2 tornado in 1982. It never did recover to its pre-tornado
height, so its a funny looking tree. Its probably the oldest cucumbertree
this far north.

Incidentally, welcome to the derecho triangle. The Weather Channel just
showed a derecho moving through Kentucky this evening, which is on the
south side of the same storm that is producing the first snow in
Minneapolis and the first ground blizzard in western MN, and that promises
to produce the first 2-foot snowfall in the Porcupine Mountains and 25 foot
waves on the great lakes tomorrow.