‘Her­itage trees’

The Glengarry News - - Classified­s - News

BY TARA MACDON­ALD

Staff The Sir John John­son Manor House is cel­e­brat­ing the des­ig­na­tion of two trees – a Burr Oak and a Black Wal­nut tree - as “Her­itage trees” by On­tario Forests’ Her­itage Tree Pro­gram.

In 2016, the Manor House com­mit­tee de­cided to have the trees dated af­ter board mem­ber Mac Ed­wards who asked co-mem­ber Gre­gory Gooch about the age of the trees.

Mr. Gooch met Raisin Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity Forestry Spe­cial­ist Nor­mand Génier who “de­cided to es­ti­mate the age of both trees us­ing a for­mula de­vel­oped and used by the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety of Ar­bori­cul­ture as op­posed to tak­ing core sam­ples.” While tak­ing core sam­ples or count­ing rings from a fallen tree are the most ac­cu­rate way to eval­u­ate a trees age, it’s of­ten avoided for more ma­ture trees which fre­quently suf­fer from rot in the cen­tre which can cause the in­cre­ment borer to get stuck. The In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety of Ar­bori­cul­ture for­mula looks at di­am­e­ter, av­er­age growth fac­tors, site con­di­tions, re­cent growth rate as well as anec­do­tal in­for­ma­tion.

The burr oak – es­ti­mated to be al­most 270 years old – is lo­cated along­side the main en­trance of the Manor House. Stand­ing roughly 90 feet tall with a trunk 13 feet 11 inches in cir­cum­fer­ence, the tree has ex­cep­tional 75 to 80 foot canopy. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Génier, while oak trees are com­mon in this area, this par­tic­u­lar oak is more than 50 years older than most and slightly larger than av­er­age. “Through­out all the years work­ing in Stor­mont, Dun­das and Glen­garry, I’ve come across a lot of sig­nif­i­cant trees but I’ve never seen such a large burr oak in all my years,” said the forester.

While also a na­tive species, the black wal­nut is not com­mon to Glen­garry be­ing at the north­ern edge of wal­nut habi­tat in North Amer­ica. The wal­nut tree is lo­cated far end of the prop­erty along the back tree line. It stands ap­prox­i­mately 95 feet tall. Its sturdy trunk has a cir­cum­fer­ence of 13 feet 4 inches in cir­cum­fer­ence which sup­ports a 95 to 100 foot canopy. At least 50 years older than other black wal­nut trees in the area, Mr. Génier was im­pressed at the good con­di­tion of the tree.

While trees of this age of­ten suf­fer from in­ter­nal rot and other is­sues, both trees ap­peared to be in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. “The health of the trees are amaz­ing,” said Mr. Génier. “Many start to rot in the cen­tre and de­cline af­ter 100 years or so but these have very lit­tle de­cay.”

With more than a decade of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing as a Forestry Spe­cial­ist, Mr. Génier has re­cently ex­panded his com­pany Den­drotek Forestry Con­sul­tants which pro­vides sound forestry ad­vice and ser­vices in the East­ern On­tario area such as site as­sess­ments and tree iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, tree prun­ing and re­moval, tree plan­ta­tion man­age­ment, land stew­ard­ship plan­ning as well as Her­itage Tree Eval­u­a­tion along with forestry train­ing and wildlife sur­veys.

“I think it’s as im­por­tant to rec­og­nize these her­itage trees just as much as the old build­ings,” said Mr. Gooch who went on to say that the de­ci­sion to ap­ply for her­itage sta­tus was the forester’s idea. “We seem to be ea­ger to pro­tect build­ings,” Mr. Génier agreed, “but we don’t al­ways think about the trees.”

“When I come across trees like this I of­ten touch them and think, if a tree could talk what would it say?” Mr. Génier said. “It would have seen the whole trans­for­ma­tion of the area,” he ex­plained. “The trans­for­ma­tion from ma­ture pine forests that cov­ered most of the area, the es­tab­lish­ment of a saw mill, the de­vel­op­ment of agri­cul­ture and open fields to the con­struc­tion of ham­lets and vil­lages such as Wil­liamstown.”

The Her­itage Tree Pro­gram col­lects and tells the sto­ries of On­tario’s unique trees. Launched in 2009, in part­ner­ship with the On­tario Urban For­est Coun­cil, the pro­gram brings aware­ness to the so­cial, cul­tural, his­tor­i­cal and eco­log­i­cal value of trees.

Com­mem­o­ra­tive plaques are ex­pected in time for the Manor House’s Sum­mer So­cial to­day (July 17) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The event will in­clude a talk by Mr. Gooch, and per­for­mances by mu­si­cians and dancers, a book sale, and raf­fle bas­kets to be won. Re­fresh­ments will be avail­able, in­clud­ing a BBQ, pies, and ice cream.

TARA MACDON­ALD PHOTO

VIN­TAGE TREE: Greg Gooch and Nor­mand Génier stand in front of a tree be­lieved to be 270 years old.

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