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Old 11-09-2021, 10:17 AM   #1
montcalm
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Hickory in the park

Here we go again...

Do any exist in the north country?

Maps for common species in the rest of NY show them absent in Tug Hill and Adirondack regions.

Closely associated with Oaks (and the defunct American Chestnut) in growing habitat, this seems to be a thing. I'd assume they can hang in lower elevations, drier climate of the southwestern regions?

I've never once noticed one, but haven't done much looking.

In western FLR, from what I've seen not much or any mast from the Oaks this year, but the Hickory are producing some, if not abundant in some cases. I'd assume Hickory mast to be pretty important when the Oaks fail.

Having really taken notice of them this year, they have some of the best fall color really. Almost as good as maples.

Last edited by montcalm; 11-09-2021 at 10:42 AM..
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Old 11-09-2021, 10:44 AM   #2
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I'm sure there's a few out there in the ADKs somewhere, but hickories are even less tolerant of northern/higher elevation growing conditions than even red oaks. If there's any in the Adirondack Park proper, I'd expect they are probably in the vicinity of Lake Champlain, where the elevations are lower and the climate is drier.
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Old 11-09-2021, 10:48 AM   #3
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Off the cuff, just wondering if they are/were prevalent at or around the ski center that bears the name.

Also Oak mountain in Speculator. Native range maps of red oak even show some spotty presence in that region.
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Old 11-09-2021, 10:58 AM   #4
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Oaks are fairly prevalent in some parts of the ADKs- particularly the eastern stretches along Lake Champlain. Same as with my suppositions regarding hickories and why I'd look for them there, I would also surmise that the oaks exist in this region as a result of both lower elevations and drier conditions. The eastern ADKs exist in a bit of a rain shadow generated by the higher mountains of the central ADKs, and accordingly get less precipitation.

I know that while red oak is not ubiquitous to the entire Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, it nevertheless is fairly common in the hardwood stands in that area. As you will recall, you and I had a fight about this very subject a few years ago.

As I recall, you see some amount of red oak along the lower stretches of the eastern flanks of Whiteface Mountain (in the Marble Mountain vicinity).
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Old 11-09-2021, 11:21 AM   #5
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Oh I recall

It wasn't so much an argument on my part as lack of knowledge. I've still yet to visit anything east of the Hudson in anything but stick seasons. I'm much more aware of forest types even without flower and leaves now but even so it's not always easy. And acorns can be spotty as an indicator.

I've heard the same thing from skiers at WF regarding oaks. I'd assume these crept up the eastern valleys with the Blue Jays and fire in years past.

Red oaks seem quite hardy. I'm not sure why they haven't colonized more.

I've been working on my understanding for some time, but it really is the lack of Oak and Hickory, and more prevalence of Beech and Yellow Birch that for me, distinguishes the western ADK hardwood forest from the FLR.
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Old 11-09-2021, 01:01 PM   #6
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Last year, I spent a couple of days camped on Valcour Island, during which I pretty fully explored most of the island. It doesn't get much lower in elevation in the Adirondack Park than Valcour Island. I figured that I might be able to spot a few hickories in my photos... and I think I found one. It's far from definite but I think the tree with the yellow trail marker shown in this photo is a hickory. The bark pattern is right for maybe a bitternut hickory, and if you zoom in on the leaves it appears to have the compound leaf structure of a hickory.

Not 100% definite... the original, larger resolution photo would maybe give a better look at the leaves, but it is on a hard drive somewhere and I can't dig it up right at the moment. But I feel pretty comfortable saying that there's at least 1 hickory tree inside the Adirondack Park.
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Old 11-09-2021, 01:15 PM   #7
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It looks right to me. I can see one set of leaflets that have at least 5 and pinnately compound.

The tree to the left of the fire pit looks like a swamp white oak as well.

According to the maps, those are both right at the edge of their range.
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Old 11-09-2021, 04:58 PM   #8
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i believe i have seen a hickory in speculator too but i have no evidence to confirm that. i live on a property named for the tree (with many on the land, naturally) and so i have started to take note when i see them elsewhere.
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Old 11-09-2021, 05:12 PM   #9
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Just north of the Blue Line in the Lake George Wild Forest.

5c Hickory.jpg
5e Black Mt.jpg
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Old 11-09-2021, 07:36 PM   #10
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We're up to 3! Although I can't quite see the leaves on TM's, the shape looks right.

They're there all within the areas I would expect. I'm sure humans have dispersed to other odd locations if they're able to survive. Seems like a good tree to put on a homestead (maybe not bitternut or pignut).

Last edited by montcalm; 11-10-2021 at 09:18 AM..
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Old 11-10-2021, 08:13 AM   #11
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I am heading into the park this weekend mehopes and now will keep an eye out for Hickory.
Down here south of the blue line there has been a bumper crop of Hickory nuts.
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Old 11-10-2021, 09:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
Off the cuff, just wondering if they are/were prevalent at or around the ski center that bears the name.

Also Oak mountain in Speculator. Native range maps of red oak even show some spotty presence in that region.
There are certainly oaks at Oak Mt. A couple prominent ones on the summit area by the old patrol shack. I hike it regularly in the summer.
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Old 11-10-2021, 12:05 PM   #13
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Can't say for sure about hickory in the Adirondacks. I never noticed it, but never really looked for hickory either. Probably too busy looking at big white pines, spruce and fir swamps, and stands of paper birch maybe.
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Old 11-10-2021, 01:41 PM   #14
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There are certainly oaks at Oak Mt. A couple prominent ones on the summit area by the old patrol shack. I hike it regularly in the summer.
Thanks for the info - never been up there myself.

Do you know any history? I tend to wonder if these pockets were planted by humans.

In this part of the world, I think the most planted tree in the Victorian era was Red Oak. The city of Rochester is littered with monsters that I'd estimate are 120 to 170 years old.

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Can't say for sure about hickory in the Adirondacks. I never noticed it, but never really looked for hickory either. Probably too busy looking at big white pines, spruce and fir swamps, and stands of paper birch maybe.
Not sure if you're picking on me, but historically this has always been my crutch. Not that we don't have big white pines in the rest of the state, but the latter two are exceedingly rare or absent.

I think I tend to notice the difference in the underrated but overly abundant red maples. In spring and fall they are certainly the stars of the show.

Speaking of white pines, I know of a section of chestnut oak forest on some steep slopes in the Bristol hills that have a section of white pines as majestic as any in the Adirondacks. They sit on a little shelf on the west side of a steep ridge. I assume a storm long ago decimated the oak forest there and let them break through. Probably too much work to drag them out when those areas were logged.

Last edited by montcalm; 11-10-2021 at 02:08 PM..
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Old 11-10-2021, 01:50 PM   #15
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You find random pockets of trees in the weirdest places. As you gain more and more skill in tree ID, you'll start to notice more and more outliers all over.

There is a single, solitary jack pine growing in the marshes of Flowed Lands. I've often wondered just how it came to be growing there, ever since I first discovered it. In terms of climate, it's not necessarily a huge outlier... but in terms of soils, it's noticeably unusual. Jack pines usually prefer to grow in dry, well-drained areas... not so much the peaty muck of a bog.
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Old 11-10-2021, 01:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by geogymn View Post
I am heading into the park this weekend mehopes and now will keep an eye out for Hickory.
Down here south of the blue line there has been a bumper crop of Hickory nuts.
Enjoy. Might be hard to find the nuts if there's snow down. Should be soon...

I don't think we're at a bumper crop from what I can see, but there's certainly nuts down and not a single acorn to be found. The oaks are stingy this year.

The Victorian European Beech in town have had a huge mast this year. Not enough American Beech around these parts to say what they're doing.
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Old 11-10-2021, 02:35 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
You find random pockets of trees in the weirdest places. As you gain more and more skill in tree ID, you'll start to notice more and more outliers all over.

There is a single, solitary jack pine growing in the marshes of Flowed Lands. I've often wondered just how it came to be growing there, ever since I first discovered it. In terms of climate, it's not necessarily a huge outlier... but in terms of soils, it's noticeably unusual. Jack pines usually prefer to grow in dry, well-drained areas... not so much the peaty muck of a bog.
What I notice is there's A LOT of variation in trees, even within species. They'll grow wherever they can, even if not well.

Most of what I see regularly is post-ag or heavily human influenced. The Adirondacks seem much less this way, but it's not really the case. There's just much less post-ag and landscape plants.

I remember seeing some arborvitae on an island on Saranac Lake and thinking this must be human influence. I'm so used to seeing them as a landscape plant I never even considered that they were a native. In the wild the deer love them so they don't often live or if they do, have no lower branches. These were very full and bushy - of course there were likely no deer on the island. They could be from a landscaping as well, but the more I know, the more the possibilities come together.
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Old 11-10-2021, 05:25 PM   #18
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No montcalm, not picking on you...I just really like seeing those giant white pines. And I can't argue about the red maples, especially in the fall or spring. People often overlook all the spring tree colors, but some woods are more brilliant in May than they are during October
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Old 11-10-2021, 07:26 PM   #19
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Ha - OK. I didn't know if you were remembering how I said when I was younger I never paid much attention to hardwoods other than paper birch, which I was always impressed with when I went to north or eastern ADKs (even in stick season!).

I don't know if there's a place I prefer to sleep more than in stand of mature white pines. The soft cover of golden needles on the ground and narcotic smell makes me feel very peaceful.
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Old 11-11-2021, 05:37 PM   #20
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Exactly. It's aromatherapy at its finest
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