Perkins Cedar Grove at Morris Creek

There is a magnificent grove of Western Red Cedar trees located near the Idaho town of Elk River and about eight miles from the "Giant Cedar" that I mentioned in my last post. As the sign below explains this grove is a "'climax community" where one tree species has come to dominate a local habitat. In this case it is the Western Red Cedars that have come out as the dominant species. There are several other small tree species that peacefully coexist with the cedars though. These are the Pacific yew and the Sitka alder.
To locate this Cedar grove go to the town of Elk River and visit the Elk River Lodge where they will gladly give you a small map with instructions on how to find the Giant Cedar and the Morris Creek grove.
One of the exciting things about this particular Cedar grove is that there is no evidence of it ever having been logged. Logged Western Red Cedar stumps can last for a very long time but in this location the only stumps I found were from trees that had broken off in storms. I also found some evidence of fire but the great trees seemed to have survived just fine.
The largest trees in the grove appear to be about 8 feet across at breast height. We saw at least a dozen of these as well as many more that were 5-7 feet in diameter.

Giant Cedar near Elk River Idaho

Near the small town of Elk River, Idaho is the largest tree in North America east of the Cascade -Sierra Crest. The tree is a Western Red Cedar that is 18 feet in diameter at breast hight and 177 feet tall. The sign near the tree identifies it as the "Giant Cedar" but I have also seen it called the "King Cedar". This tree is estimated to be about 3000 years old.
Part of the reason for this trees great size is the fact that it has a small stream that literally flows right under it. The ground around the tree is rather boggy which is probably why a deck like platform has been built leading up to and around the tree. The platform is several feet off the ground. One of the interesting things about this tree is that it has wheelchair access. The trail from the parking area is paved right up to where the platform starts.
The trail that leads to the Giant Cedar takes you by a number of other very large Western Red Cedar trees that from a small grove of surviving giants. There are a good dozen trees that range in girth from 4 to 8 feet. Laying right next to the Giant Cedar is a large nurse log of a tree that must have been similar in size to the Giant. There is a small new cedar tree growing right up out of the side of the nurse log.
Looking up into the branches of th Giant Cedar is an interesting view as can be seen in the image below. There are a lot of dead branches on the tree but it is still very much alive.
The image below help to show the immense size of this tree at its base. Remember that the platform is about 2 feet off the ground.
This tree is a bit difficult to find. We were aided by the kind folks at the Elk River Lodge in Elk River who gave us a small map with instructions on how to find the tree. The distance from Elk River to the Giant Cedar is about 10-11 miles on a well kept forest service road. There is also some great camping sites along the road that takes you up to the King Cedar.

Also nearby is the Perkins Cedar Grove at Morris Creek.

Check out the BIG STUMP of another giant Cedar tree of years gone by.

Large Black Walnut near Niagara Falls

The large tree in this post is a Black Walnut near Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I was so impressed by both the size and shape of this tree that I could not resist a special blog post just to highlight its beauty.

Like many of the trees along the Canadian side of Niagara Falls this tree is large and impressive. The fact that it stands alone where its whole shape can be easily seen and that it is seen daily by many thousands of people make this tree all the more interesting. The image above is of the view looking up into the crown from the base of the tree.

I'm sure that many a weary tourist has sat in the shade of this gentle giant over the years!

The Pesky Tree of Heaven - Ailanthus altissima

Despite its "heavenly" name the Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is in my opinion the most pesky invasive tree species in the United States and Southern Europe. I have personally observed this tree species as a very prolific seeder in Spain, France, England, Canada (Toronto) and the States of Oregon and Washington. According to this website it is invasive in at least 30 of the 50 States. In this post I have tried to document in images just one instance of how this tree can spread. All the images are from the same yard in Eastern Washington. In the top image you can see the "mother" tree that is responsible for "seeding" the yard with new little Trees-of-heaven.
I did not stop to count them but there must have been at least 40 of the fast growing seedlings. In the image above you can see them growing all along the side of the house. This is a fast growing tree species that can form trunks up to three feet in diameter. Letting them grow this close to the house is NOT a good idea.
This next image shows more seedlings growing along the cyclone fence. I've seen these grow up to 2-3 feet tall in just one year! The image below shows a few more growing out by the garage unchecked. The owner of this house seems unaware that this tree species is capable of growing into dense thickets and can have an adverse affect on other plant species.
I mentioned in my last post that the Tree-of-Heaven can be confused with the Black Walnut. The leaves of both are quite similar but the flowers and fruit is easily identifiable.