Potential Pre-Colonial Tree Relicts

Measuring potential champion black oak after some banter about where the tape should go 

We learned about Matthew “Twig” Largess and Nathan Cornell in the Warwick Beacon where they were featured as seekers of old-growth forests. The woodland at Salter Grove is relatively young, but there are some unexpectedly large trees in the park so we invited this arboreal dynamic duo to assess them on Saturday, March 27.

They were joined by FoSG coordinator Peter Becker and nature trail volunteers, Carolyn Hardie, Nick Pasterino, Billy McGovern, Nancy Sumrall, and Marina Wong. Twig and Nathan examined and measure the suspected old-growth trees and provided a great deal of information in two short hours. 

We may have a champion black oak north of the parking lot. Our visitors were quite impressed by the very large black gums surrounded by numerous smaller individuals along the pond trail. 

Marveling at a large black gum 

We can now add a new tree species to the park because what was thought to be red maple along the marsh may actually be sycamore maples! Salter Grove apparently also has two impressively large common hackberry trees between the parking lot and the playground. The green ash in the swale north of the parking lot was also thought to be exceptional, as is the tuliptree that stands above all surrounding trees north of the playground.

Twig regaled us with his current investigations of other old trees, all in unexpectedly urban locations. Most amazing of all was watching him rub poison ivy all over himself. He is one of the Fifteen Percenters, people who do not react to urushiol, the substance in poison ivy that causes uncomfortable skin rashes lasting for weeks. We need him to come back to help manage poison ivy!

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