Big Trees

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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All,

I took yesterday off from work and spent the day with Manumuskin and Bobpbx exploring the Great Swamp in the southern end of our state.

We met along a quiet county road where at 9AM the rush hour never occurred.


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Checked out the wildflowers.

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Then into the swamp where Bob is at home.


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Mistletoe


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Manumuskin's dog can smell turtles and would dig them out from under the leaves.


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Then to the big gum trees.

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Nice view

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More big trees

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Then he hit the wall and needed a nap. That's what happens when you get old :)


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This is dwarf ginseng.


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Orchids!

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The large trees in that area are known about and various individuals go there to see them. However, those woods are quite extensive and there always is a chance a new one can be found. And while cutting cross county in a swamp, Manumuskin noticed a large tree in the distance. Upon arrive we found no evidence that anyone had been there to visit it and we had to cut away the briers to get to it. This is now officially called the Manumuskin Tree, named for it's founder.


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I left my house a little after 7AM and arrived home at 6:45 last night. It was a long exhausting but interesting day. Thank you Al for asking Bob and I along.

Guy
 

manumuskin

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Nice to have someone to run around with.I"m usually out there just me and Manumuttkin.Her new hobby of turtle digging is quite amusing.My foot is back to pre trip pain levels now.Going to see about braces and maybe some Neproxin to take away inflammation.I hate working all week and then not being able to even take a hike on my day off.This has been going on since october.
Next winter I"m going to ransack that whole area of swamp for more big ones.one day this week I"m going to measure the big tuliptrees we didn't get to.I know the one is bigger then any of the gums.
 
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Spung-Man

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Did you notice that the mistletoe seemed to be on female trees?

According to Engle et al. (1921: 41), around Millville,

"Occasionally the swamp areas are full of small islands. This is particularly true of Bear Swamp between Cedarville and Dividing Creek. These islands are 2 to 3 feet above the general surface and consist of Portsmouth sand and sandy loam, Elkton loam (in Bear Swamp), and Norfolk sandy loam, poorly drained phase. The soil in Bear Swamp is not very wet except in rainy seasons, and the growth is largely beech. Of lesser importance are Carolina red maple, sweet gum, sour gum, white cedar, and holly."​

Engle, C.C., Lee, L.L., and Miller, H.A., 1921: Soil Survey of the Millville Area, New Jersey. Geologic Series Bulletin 22, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC. 46 pp.

S-M
 

manumuskin

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The first pic is at my old swimmin hole with Manumutt the Turtle Demon and the second pic is a grinning Manumuskin suffering from Big Tree Dementia. Both Pics taken by Bob
 

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manumuskin

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Spung Man. I personally do not know how to tell a male Black Gum from a female.Each tree does have a small island around it approximately two to three feet above water level.I assumed the tree built these islands up themselves from accumulated debris from the tree itself.The claim your paste makes about white cedar is a bit off.There is only one area in the whole swamp i know of that has white cedar trees in it ,perhaps two dozen trees of average size over an area about two acres large otherwise cedar are absent.The Holly islands though are quite impressive and the trees quite large for holly.Also some record Magnolia in there.tress up to about a foot in diameter which is quite large for magnolia this far north.Most of the swamp i would say would be a little to low to sleep on and stay dry but definitely not waterlogged.then other parts are very wet though generally not above knee high boots except in very small areas.Some really big beech on the higher islands and ridges as well as some right big pine too.
 
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bobpbx

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Mark, that is interesting, because to the right of Al in the water photo is a pine barren outlier. We saw these huge trees all day and virtually no pine barren plants, and then bam!, we walk out to a small peninsula containing all the typical pine barren plants; cranberry, xyris, pine, leather leaf, etc, etc. It was surreal. I told Al I had a feeling that in mining, they destroyed a huge pine barren system except for this one vestigial spot.
 

Spung-Man

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Mark, that is interesting, because to the right of Al in the water photo is a pine barren outlier. We saw these huge trees all day and virtually no pine barren plants, and then bam!, we walk out to a small peninsula containing all the typical pine barren plants

As said earlier, the small rises are probably sandy dune or protodune remnants that veneer heavier soil. Flat sandy areas are often associated with "coversands" (broad sheets of windblown sand). Sand blew in from outside Bear Swamp when cold winds howled during the ice age.

Pine Barrens flora does not grow well on swamp bottom, with soil rich in silt and clay. Pine Barrens flora is remarkably well adapted to eolian sands. Pine, leatherleaf, and cranberry might mark the presence of loose sandy ground that was brought in by wind.

S-M
 

johnnyb

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Feb 22, 2013
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What an interesting trip and report!
Did you guys have a copy with you of the state "Champion" trees from DEP? <http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/forest/community/bigtree_registry.html>?
That lists Sweet Gum/Liquidambar styraciflua on Ft Dix Road north of Pemberton with 18'11" circumference 4 1/2 feet up from ground level - 108' feet tall. It's a big, straggly monster which we check on every time we go by......

Ro & I have been to Shenk's Ferry in Lancaster Co. on the Susquehanna twice recently - many acres of wooded gorge covered with great variety of spring wildflowers, including rarities like green violet, wild ginger. Threatened with destruction by gas pipeline (sound familiar?). Ya gotta see it before it disappears..... Greatest such spot in the east north of Great Smokies......
 

manumuskin

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Spung these islands around the base of the trees are very small like maybe 12 ft in diameter small and maybe two feet high and the trees are always in the middle of the island.I did not dog into the leaf litter to see if there was above water level sand but my impression was they were piles of organic litter accumulated around the trunk.I may be wrong and I always have a trowel with me.Next time I visit a tree I"ll dig down and see if there is a mound of sand or if it is all organic.The patch of cedar I spoke of would be in your oval and at the extreme western edge of it.The snad hole where Bobs Pine Barren habitat exists has been there since at least 31 as far back as the aerials go.I thought most of those plants needed acidic water,not sure if most sand washes have acidic water or not.This one has been around long enough it may have become acidic from rain and accumulated leaf litter.Makes you wonder how many big trees these sand holes took out when they were dug.
 

manumuskin

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Thanks Johnny B for the big tree site.None of the black Gum in the swamp are state records since everyone we found was between 11 and 12 ft circumference.I dount the tulip poplar is either.it is bigger then the gum but I doubt it's 18 ft.I"m going to measure it sometime this week.Now the Big Cedar on Muskee may just top 9 ft.I"m going to have to measure that as well because it looked about as big as the Gum.
 

manumuskin

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Some pics took of some Black Gum found in the Bear swamp yesterday and a couple of a big tuliptree found last winter in the other half of the swamp.
 

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johnnyb

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WOW!!! Al. did you measure their circumference 4 1/2 feet above ground level? That's a major way the state record trees are listed.
Those babies gotta be pushing whatever is on the list.
Wish I was able to get down in there but not likely any more.....
Many thanks for posting.
 

manumuskin

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WOW!!! Al. did you measure their circumference 4 1/2 feet above ground level? That's a major way the state record trees are listed.
Those babies gotta be pushing whatever is on the list.
Wish I was able to get down in there but not likely any more.....
Many thanks for posting.
I measured them at chest height Johnny.I"m 5 10 so I"d say my chest is about 4ft 6 or thereabouts.The 12 4.5 incher could have been bigger>Their was a big knot on it at breast height that probably would have added a foot to it but I went over top of it because i thought adding the knot would be cheating.
 

manumuskin

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Very impressive trees! Bear Swamp is divided into two sides...which side were you on?
Yes>Bear Swamp used to be all on swamp many years ago before Whiteheads sand plant cut in two.There is now a Bear swamp west near Newport which is where I was when i found the black gums and bear east is over near Dividing Creek which is where the big tulip poplars are..If you look at the topo http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.292969882895555&lng=-75.14252442520143&z=15&type=topo&gpx= this is showing Bear West now heres the sand plant http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.295211721393486&lng=-75.11572379272462&z=15&type=topo&gpx= and here is Bear East http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.29321897960659&lng=-75.08276480834962&z=15&type=topo&gpx= It all used to be one swamp.Much of what is shown as high ground or flat green actually is swamp.there are very few areas where you could actually lay down without getting wet though much of the area has no standing water but some of it has water above the knees. Makes you wonder how much old growth was plowed under in the creation of the sand plant???
 
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