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Changing plant zones?

Posted by maifleur 5b-6 MO (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 7, 07 at 14:28

A question for those who have maintained a woodland for longer than 10 years or maybe less. Have you noticed a change in the type of seedlings that are coming up? A aquadics buddy of my husband asked about seedlings that would not have grown in this area several years ago and why the current trees and understory seem not to be sending out as many seedlings as before. We have a nice woods across from our house where the oak trees have been effected by the higher winds (60-90 mph) that we seem to be receiving with the summer rains. Where the taller oaks have been blown down a more praire type environment seems to be establishing rather that tree seedlings coming up to fill in the areas. As you see new growth this year would you notice if it is similar to what you have or is different. If different how so?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Changing plant zones?

maifleur, Have 30 acres of hardwoods next to Ozark National Forest here in northern AR. Have lost a lot of oaks both red and white to drought and heat,one huge cherry,have 2 more doing good,have missed quite a few juneberries too also some dogwoods. Do have same seedlings coming up
Have'nt noticed any new species except what i've planted including plants. But i'll sure keep my eyes open.

Have noticed some birds including hummers coming back earlier and leaving later.

RE: Changing plant zones?

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 9, 07 at 12:01

Elms fill the woods in Western Iowa. Then they die and then they repeat the cycle. Elms do this in undisturbed forest and also in pasture. They just have too many advantages over other species in our climate.

RE: Changing plant zones?

There are lots of reasons why the seedlings in a wood or in a clearing might not be the same species as the older trees. One reason is natural succession from one set of species to another. Around here it is common to find woods of oak and hickory with understory that is largely hemlock in shady valleys. This is simply because Hemlock seedlings survive better in the shade than do oak seedlings, so the woods will naturally turn from oak to hemlock over time. Another reason that plant communities change is because of animals. Many oak woods here have nothing but red maple and black cherry seedlings because deer have eaten all the seedlings of other tree species. In other areas there are almost no there seedlings at all, presumably because those areas have even more deer.

Climate change may be happening, but I think it would be hard to prove it based on observing the local woods. There are too many other factors that affect plant distribution besides climate.

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