Environmental Sciences Department
Old Growth Eastern Hemlock
The ancient grove of Hemlocks grows approximately one quarter mile southwest of the main Morrisville State College campus on a south facing slope and numbers about thirty five trees larger than 24 inches in diameter.
There are also many other somewhat smaller individuals in the stand.
The largest tree in diameter at breast height (a standard height used by foresters of 4.5 feet above the ground on the high side of the tree) is 44 inches. The tallest cohort is 131 feet high. While impressive and substantial neither dimension is particularly large for Eastern Hemlock.
Snags in various stages of decay are very crucial to the ecosystem
The Hemlocks are growing in association with Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), White Ash (Fraxinus americana), Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) and Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Coarse woody debris from fallen giants and standing dead snags make important wildlife habitat.
These are magnificent conifers, stretching over a 100 feet straight up with large clear boles and huge limbs extending far from the main trunk. A 27-inch in diameter tree that was carefully aged was found to be 329 years old. Some of the larger specimens could easily be over 400years old.
Students in Professor Jim Cronn's Forest Ecology class have numbered, measured, evaluated and recorded each specimen into a database. The students are then able to track the status of each tree in order to determine such things as health, growth rate and wildlife associations.