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Old 10-06-2016, 12:16 PM   #21
gbwagner
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Question The "Shee" in Adirondacks and the Blackthorn?

I am developing an interest in knowing whether the Blackthorn tree or bush lives anywhere in the Adirondacks or upstate NY. Also interested in any information about the Shee, or if you will, "little folk." Any legends or pointers toward information would be appreciated.
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Old 10-06-2016, 04:29 PM   #22
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There are (at least) 4 apple trees in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. I challenge you all to find them.
Practically every old homestead in the ADK's holds an apple tree.
There are some at Burnt Shanty Clearing and Curtis Clearing in the Siamese Ponds area.
The West Canadas? I'm not sure, but old Louie may have put one in the ground.
Jim
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:33 AM   #23
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The New York Flora Atlas (http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/) is a valuable resource for learning about extant populations of various flora.

Vouchered specimens of Blackthorn are listed for Schenectady, Chemung, Richmond and Suffolk counties. Since this tree is a European native these specimens were obviously planted.
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:09 PM   #24
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I have seen one thriving Chestnut on L. George. It was many years ago but beautiful to see!
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:49 PM   #25
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Anyone wanting more information on the Chestnut restoration work should check the American Chestnut Foundation, the leaders in this effort who've been conducting an extensive back-breeding program for decades. I urge everyone to join to support them:
http://www.acf.org/
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:47 PM   #26
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While hiking in the Catskills yesterday, I came across a chestnut tree approximately 10 feet tall, at a location about 3 miles from the closest trailhead. It's the first time I've seen one in the wild in NY (I've seen quite a few in MA, though).
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Old 09-30-2021, 06:35 PM   #27
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Check out the crop on this tree:

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1Q...7y6J19M_E3iDBa
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Old 10-03-2021, 06:01 PM   #28
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While hiking in the Catskills yesterday, I came across a chestnut tree approximately 10 feet tall, at a location about 3 miles from the closest trailhead. It's the first time I've seen one in the wild in NY (I've seen quite a few in MA, though).
there are definitely a lot of them in the berkshires in MA, though of course they rarely get all that big. i know of at least 3 pockets of them on public land near me (one on the AT) as well as a chestnut preserve in a nearby town. i've been meaning to try to collect some nuts and plant them on family land.

DSettahr, do you have any thoughts on why there are more of them in MA than in NY?
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Old 10-03-2021, 06:58 PM   #29
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I have wondered the same thing myself- there are portions of MA where the forest understory is ubiquitously filled with young chestnuts, yet you rarely see even a single chestnut across much of NY. I did some quick googling and I found this map of the historic range of chestnuts prior to the blight:


As you can see, chestnuts were fairly ubiquitous to MA east of the Appalachians, but in contrast the native range in NY is much more spotty. I would surmise that this has probably played some role in why they are still easier to spot in MA today than in NY- but this isn't much more than an educated guess on my part.

My understanding also is that many of the chestnuts you see today are still benefitting from the root system of mature chestnuts that were felled decades ago by the blight. The blight cannot survive underground, and as with many other members of the Fagaceae family (including also oaks and beeches), chestnuts are prolific stump sprouters- so whenever the main stem is killed by the blight (usually happens within 5+ years of sprouting or so), the root system simply sends up new stems. So perhaps where there were more chestnuts to begin with there are more and better established root systems still thriving underground- hence more sprouts.

As a related aside, I understand that the blight's intolerance of sub-soil conditions gives any enterprising chestnut grower a simple (if labor-intensive) option for staving off the blight: Every time blight infection shows up on a chestnut tree, simply fill a plastic bag with soil and tape it over the infection.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:07 PM   #30
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I never see any Chestnuts in FLR where they were historically prevalent. I've heard there are still some saplings that pop up around old roots but become infected and die shortly thereafter. Most people probably don't know enough to do anything about it on their land, and that land is largely private.

They were prevalent here at one time, enough for people to name stuff after them. We have a "Chestnut Ridge" not to far from where I live.

I really wonder what is going on with those roots system. Some of those stumps are said to be 100 years old or so, and the root suckers are still able to come up. The energy balance doesn't make sense to me. How are those tiny saplings storing enough energy in the understory to get enough energy to keep sprouting. It could be very well that there is some mycelium network providing the energy but I've read that these have been shown to not be enough to keep a tree alive - apparently when stumps that are kept alive are direct root graft with healthy trees (this is common with beech).

There have been many programs to restore the chestnut with various interbreeding, but because there were a small amount of resistant trees, the seeds have been collected and bred with other rare resistant chestnut to make "true" American Chestnut that are resistant. I've no idea how they plan to reinstate these breeds but I think they are still studying them at this point. I wish I could recall the program, but I'm sure one could find it with some googling - I found it on some other long trip down the rabbit hole.
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:16 PM   #31
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This is even closer to pure speculation on my part: I wonder if chestnut roots are like poplar roots, in that they can spread over surprisingly wide areas and share resources- including above-ground stems. It could be case that the roots were better able to survive where the root network was initially expansive- and propped up by no shortage of young sprouts all providing oxygen, CO2, sunlight, etc.

Perhaps in NY the chestnuts existing prior to the blight were too far scattered apart and without established, expansive root networks and were therefore more susceptible to succumbing entirely to the blight.
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:20 PM   #32
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This is even closer to pure speculation on my part: I wonder if chestnut roots are like poplar roots, in that they can spread over surprisingly wide areas and share resources- including above-ground stems. It could be case that the roots were better able to survive where the root network was initially expansive- and propped up by no shortage of young sprouts all providing oxygen, CO2, sunlight, etc.

Perhaps in NY the chestnuts existing prior to the blight were too far scattered apart and without established, expansive root networks and were therefore more susceptible to succumbing entirely to the blight.
Very likely the case and what I had wondered...

But to understand we'd probably have to look at those southern forests and how the root sprouts have persisted. All those Appalachian forests that are classified as Oak-Hickory were once Chestnut-Oak-Hickory. I really know very little about what has persisted there in terms of root suckers.
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Old 10-03-2021, 11:54 PM   #33
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thanks for the info guys, it is interesting stuff. my quick hypothesis about the MA/NY difference was the timing and methods of logging and land clearing and how land was allowed to recover and change before the arrival of the blight. i have the perception (i could be off base) of big chunks of MA being cleared for farming, whereas NY seemed to be more purposefully logged.

or perhaps NY simply salvaged more of the chestnut wood and MA let more die standing and then resprout?

the idea of the old prevalence leaving some strong roots behind makes some sense, though i haven't seen the ubiquitous understory you have yet.

as it happens, i live in (and the chestnuts i have seen are in) the 'white' part of western MA on that map, outside of their purported range. i wonder if that means the map is just a little inaccurate or if the stands i know of were planted.

i know of some CCC tree planting efforts in the area, but the timing there doesn't work. in fact, there are 2 lean-to shelters nearby (still standing and open for business) that were built by the CCC with fallen chestnut wood.
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:11 AM   #34
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American Chestnuts tend to get infected when the bark gets rougher & ridgier, as they mature. So the sprouts can get to be small trees before the blight kills them. That seems to be enough to keep the root system going. I'm often sad seeing these "saplings", knowing they sprout over & over, only to be infected after a few years. There are lots of them in the woods of the CT River valley in MA, esp. on higher ground.
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Old 10-04-2021, 07:39 AM   #35
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Perhaps I'm underestimating how much energy those sucker can contribute. I haven't actually done the math, it just seemed off.

But, I need to think a chestnut seed can provide that same amount of energy to start a tree, so perhaps it can easily contribute and store that amount back at the root system. Also, 100 years or whatever it is may be a relatively short time for how long that system can persist.

We know from basic ecology that energy efficiency wins in nature. I can't imagine it is as efficient as mature trees with a full crown (otherwise why would trees mature to full crowns?). I know with maples you can dense thickets where mature trees have pioneered former pasture, but they won't all make it to maturity. You'll eventually end up with a normal stand of maples over a long period of time. Beech apparently does the same in healthy forests and will limit its density naturally.

Last edited by montcalm; 10-04-2021 at 09:11 AM..
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:18 AM   #36
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as it happens, i live in (and the chestnuts i have seen are in) the 'white' part of western MA on that map, outside of their purported range. i wonder if that means the map is just a little inaccurate or if the stands i know of were planted.
These maps are not always the greatest. There are definitely still small pockets of trees that don't even show up as a blip on that map.

If you can estimate the age of the trees, that will probably tell you something... they may have been planted after the blight... or perhaps an isolated population that escaped?
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:02 AM   #37
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The plethora of mast shown in the pic is jaw dropping. I can't imagine the amount of wildlife a forest of these trees could support.
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:24 AM   #38
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I am always looking for chestnuts. Most of the ones that I've found are small sprouts from previously infected trees. But they are quite common in many parts of NYS...some in and out of the shaded area on the above map

I found a fairly large American chestnut and measured the height and dbh. Not quite 60' and just under 15". I reported it to the American Chestnut Foundation and they had me contact SUNY ESF. Two field biologists came out and verified that it was indeed an AC and confirmed the measurements. I know of other AC within a mile or so of that tree, but those were sprouts from trees infected with blight

I found another large tree that was abut 65' tall wit a dbh of roughly 18". Again, other AC were in the general area, but they were also sprouts from infected trees. That tree was verified by a forester that volunteered with ACF

Neither of those trees were off the beaten path. I don't know if they are isolated enough from other AC or just have a natural resistance to the blight. The first one I described still looks great. I haven't seen the other in awhile
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:57 AM   #39
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Are these "resistant" trees bearing nuts?

I'd assume they aren't being pollinated, but perhaps in some areas where there are multiples, they are.

If you find some mast, I'd collect it and plant it, it's probably resistant.


I also wonder if those of you that know of a couple mature trees might play matchmaker and transport some pollen, and then hopefully collect some chestnuts to plant...
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:32 PM   #40
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The first one that I described does have fruit, but within the burs, the nuts are very small, withered, and probably not viable. However, the folks at ACF/ESF were excited because it is easily accessible and could be pollinated. The last I knew, they were working on a plan with the landowner
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