Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

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Matt Markworth
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Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Matt Markworth » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:45 pm

All,

I've been cleaning up a fence line recently that was overtaken by white mulberry, callery pear, honeysuckle, and green ash. Other species I've noticed in disturbed areas in this region include hackberry, honeylocust, black locust, eastern red cedar, tree-of-heaven and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.

I'm curious to find out which tree species you've noticed playing a similar role in your region.

To narrow the scope of this, I'm more interested in human disturbances (fence lines in developed areas, urban/suburban areas, recovering farm fields, roadsides) as opposed to the typical pioneer species in certain forest types.

Matt

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Rand
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Rand » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:28 am

The most common ones in NW Ohio are probably elms, green ash, black cherry, hackberry and white mulberry. All wind or bird dispersed so no particular surprise. Older fencerows will often have black walnut or swamp white oak show up if there is a seed source nearby. Cottonwoods are really common in drainage ditches. If the ditch starts in an upland woody site, honeylocust seedpods will often float downstream, colonizing as they go (until they get sprayed). Growing up, I saw a lot of fencerows full of elms, where DED marched from one end to the other, killing all the elms as it went.

Don't see too many red cedars in NW ohio. One interesting observation, if you drive I-75 from say Findlay to Toledo, you'll see a steady increase in the number of red cedars growing on the overpass embankments the further north you go. Around columbus I see a lot more red cedar, as well as callery pear invading from the suburbs.

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Matt Markworth » Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:41 pm

Rand,

Ditto on the black walnut down here.

Silver maple can be very aggressive in neighborhoods, and northern catalpa has no problem spreading either. The hodgepodge of all these species is probably what a lot people experience as "woods."

Matt

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Rand
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Rand » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:19 pm

I had a small patch of open field next to a woodlot that I planted trees in 20 years ago. It went for years and years with no silver maple growing even though there are mature trees. After the wet summer o 2012 they suddenly appeared (along with a lot of elms). I have a feeling all the goldenrod presents a more formidable barrier to survival during the dry month of August the I supposed.

Catalpa is interesting. You see a fair number in densely planted rows in old wind breaks, but they don't seem to spread very aggressively.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:55 am

We occasionally have Ailanthus (tree-of-heaven) pop up...just kidding, it's a weed that pops up virtually anywhere there is a disturbance. Princess tree is very common and silk tree (mimosa) is also rather common. Sycamore can grow with very little water despite it being a water loving species. They can pop up in disturbed areas. Tulip and black locust pop up just about anywhere.

I noticed this hillside last night that is covered in Ailanthus...likely 100+.
Tree-of-Heaven land cover
Tree-of-Heaven land cover

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Rand
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Rand » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:36 pm

I wa clearing competing trees away from some chestnut sprout two years ago and walked off just a single ailanthus ~ 3 dbh. I went back last week and found nearly a dozen new stems sprouting up from the thing's root system and thought, 'Oh, so that is why they are invasive' <whack-whack-whack>.

Now all I have to do is cut it back every year for three years to kill the dang thing.

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Matt Markworth » Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:12 pm

Brian,

Cool, thanks for the perspective! The range maps don't always tell the whole story. I'm a little jealous that tuliptree can pop up down there so easily. Up here, they're mostly in scattered established forests or planted specimens.

Wow, what a dreadful land cover. I haven't seen tree-of-heaven that dense up here. It seems to be a little more scattered out and intermingled with other species. There is a nearby place that I call the Callery Pear Forest that is very dense.

Sycamore has a similar habit up here and I'm surprised how well it can establish itself in dry areas - albeit with a straggly appearance.

I haven't noticed mimosa and princess tree naturalizing up here; they must do a lot better in the southern zones. Mimosa is attractive when I see it parks, but I bet I'd have a different opinion if I was in an area where it was invasive.

Matt

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ElijahW
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by ElijahW » Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:46 pm

Matt,

Having seen many roadside landscapes the last few years, all over the country, this topic is near and dear to my heart; in fact, I keep a sort of mental catalogue of roadside and fenceline species everywhere I travel and compare them. In general, in the east, the further south you go, the more silk tree, redbud, and perhaps tuliptree you'll see. In eastern Virginia and the carolinas, I've seen southern red cedar, sweetgum, and sometimes holly. In Louisiana, I've seen lots of water oak. Where I was this morning in Connecticut, I saw a lot of red maple.

Around central NY, sometimes you'll get a southern feel with red maple, black gum, and perhaps sassafras, but you're more likely to encounter some combination of European buckthorn, box elder, and some kind of invasive "scrub" Apple or cherry. Common fenceline trees are bitternut hickory, sugar maple, black locust, black cherry, and basswood. If the area is wet enough, you'll almost always encounter cottonwood.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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Lucas
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Lucas » Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:31 am

We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Pioneer Species in Developed, Disturbed Areas

Post by Matt Markworth » Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:20 am

Elijah,

Very cool. I hadn't considered some of those species in the context of moving into disturbed areas. Especially cool to see quite of few native species among the ones you mentioned. It's great when the native species show they can be just as vigorous and persistent as the invasive ones.

Lucas,

Thanks, I'll read more into those links. Looks interesting.

Matt

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