Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US

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Lucas
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by Lucas » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:36 am

Good to know.

A friend sent me mixed seed from MA that may have included both. I see some now 3 year olds I planted outgrowing the native reds here and wondered if they were blacks. If some are blacks I worry a little that they may spread too much later not that I will be alive to see it.
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RayA
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by RayA » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:38 am

The red oak group of species also hybridizes readily, making absolute identification of species a confusing and frustrating endeavor.

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JHarkness
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by JHarkness » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:11 am

Lucas, that sounds like the black oaks here, they easily outcompete (and displace) the native red and chestnut oaks. I've also seen them outcompete and suppress sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, basswood, beech and hemlock and have seen them completely kill off white pines. There used to be no black oaks here, but one was planted here around 150 years ago, I now have close to a thousand of them on my property alone, they're all over in the area around my property now too, it doesn't help that my neighbor's adore them and keep planting more...

Ray, I have a number of hybrids here, in this area the hybrids seem to have typical black oak bark, but very red oak-like leaves. I'd be happy to post some photos of them at some point if anyone is interested, they're surprisingly nice trees.
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Rand
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by Rand » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:48 am

JHarkness wrote:Lucas, that sounds like the black oaks here, they easily outcompete (and displace) the native red and chestnut oaks. I've also seen them outcompete and suppress sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, basswood, beech and hemlock and have seen them completely kill off white pines. There used to be no black oaks here, but one was planted here around 150 years ago, I now have close to a thousand of them on my property alone, they're all over in the area around my property now too,
That's interesting. I see black oak in Ohio growing amongst these species and its just another one of the gang-and not a particularly common one at that. I wonder what limiting factor they are escaping in your area?

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:54 pm

That sounds like a truly bizarre situation, Josh. Then again, the science across many studies is showing that many plant species when introduced to ecologies that they are "foreign" to become much more aggressive in terms of growth rates, networking with soil fungi, allelopathic chemicals, etc. As the population spreads, the plants in the original center where they are now established chill out a bit and become less aggressive, while those at the leading edge of expansion maintain these modified growth responses. Perhaps that's what's occurring here?

Where they're native and established further south in the NYC area they're common but not aggressive in early stages of forest succession and in ecologies that maintain a degree of openness in the canopy (pine barrens, dry slopes, fire-prone environments, and edges), but fade out of later succession and mature forests as the canopy deepens and fills in. Associates in the same "cohort" of sorts including sassafras, black tupelo, scarlet oak, black birch.

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JHarkness
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by JHarkness » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:02 pm

Agreed, I've observed the same thing with tree-of-heaven on my road, the ones that showed up on my property were incredibly aggressive, but their parent tree a mile west of here has achieved an impressive size and has slowed down it's growth, there are hardly any saplings near it, except for a couple root suckers at it's base and one sapling on the edge of a highly disturbed site. I would imagine the tree is 50-65 years old and there are fewer than a dozen seedlings, saplings or young mature trees within several miles of it. Another example would be my black locusts, while they're incredibly invasive on a nearby farm, I had never seen them produce a root sucker or even produce seeds on my property until recently.

Back to the black oak, I've overserved them in southwestern Connecticut and southern New York (up to about central Putnam) growing as a forest tree, albeit an early successional one, but they drop off the map north of there, similar to the tulips, they do however make their way quite away farther north along the Hudson River, but not at higher elevations east or west of there. The only ones I have seen away from low lying, warm areas grow in dry, rocky sites, often with black birch and white and red pine, they often aren't very nice trees in sites like these around here. There isn't any habitat like that in my town, so there are no wild black oaks, except for those that escaped from my property. They're very nice trees once they've matured and become a part of a forest, but when young they tend to dominate a site (similar to red maple in a recently logged forest). I measured the growth of a young adult one once and found that it grew 2.5' in one growing season, the mature trees grow a matter of inches per year, however.
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Lucas
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by Lucas » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:29 am

JHarkness wrote:Lucas, that sounds like the black oaks here,
Josh your prior comments are what tipped me off to this scenario. I had not heard of it before. Erik's comments on new colonizers is also a new one. It is fascinating that seeds would behave this way.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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DougBidlack
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by DougBidlack » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:33 am

Josh,

I have to wonder about your identifications as well as some of your observations. I don't see how black oak could ever out-compete beech, sugar maple or hemlock when soil and precipitation are adequate. Those three species are the super competitors of the northeastern quadrant of the US and black oaks don't stand a chance against either of them. Only under adverse site conditions and/or frequent disturbance can black oak have any chance over the long haul.

Erik's comments about oak ID are spot on. I try not to rely only on leaf shapes or bark. Acorns and winter buds are much better for oak ID if they are available or if you can see them.

I'm also skeptical of black oaks outgrowing northern red oaks. I'm currently growing about 150 oaks from seed and I measure them every year. Northern red oak is consistently the fastest growing of the red oaks that are native to most of the northeast. Only Shumard oaks and cherrybark oaks can grow as fast or faster than northern reds (probably also southern reds but I only have one in a poor site). Black oaks grow about as fast or a little faster than scarlet and Hill's oaks while young. Black oaks can certainly outgrow northern reds on soils that are drier, thinner etc. but I very much had the impression that your property was a high quality site so I'm quite confused about how black oaks can be taking over. Are they taking over in completely open and/or disturbed sites?

Doug

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JHarkness
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by JHarkness » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:33 am

Doug,

I'm positive that they are black oaks, though they may also be hybrids with another species of red oak, who knows where the original seed source came from, I've identified them by buds and acorns before, and the DEC had identified them as black oak one time they were here, they're classic black oak, other than their behavior. The black oaks on my property are non-native, they've all been introduced by humans to this site, they grow very differently compared to the native black oaks in the area, the native ones typically occupying poor soils and being quite small, I only ever really see large ones south of here and in warm, low-lying areas that don't get much rain. The majority of them grow in recently disturbed sites, most are in a pasture that became reforested about forty years ago so yes, they do compete better on disturbed sites, but a small handful have managed to show up in mature second growth areas, and one even managed to sprout after an old growth hemlock came down in a lightly cut woodlot, that specific oak had grown very tall, very quickly without putting on much girth, it has suffered many broken branches as result of it's fast growth. I suspect they simply behave this way here because they aren't native to this site, and so they're more aggressive than their native cousins would be, it could also be that most of them are indeed young trees, they seem to grow very fast here when young then quickly top off forming a bit of a "super canopy" above the other hardwoods until they eventually catch up and ultimately shade the black oaks out. I'd be happy to post some photos of white pines that were killed by black oaks growing over them if you are interested, I've lost four white pines to them and I just rescued another that had just been grown over by an oak. All in all, the black oaks are not much concern, they're slowly dying out and being replaced by shade tolerant trees, however, they do seem to have made an impact on paper birch as I've noted a major decline in them in areas with a lot of black oak compared to areas without.

Joshua
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Lucas
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Re: Tree Identification in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern

Post by Lucas » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:23 pm

DougBidlack wrote: I'm currently growing about 150 oaks from seed and I measure them every year. Northern red oak is consistently the fastest growing of the red oaks that are native to most of the northeast. Only Shumard oaks and cherrybark oaks can grow as fast or faster than northern reds (probably also southern reds but I only have one in a poor site). Black oaks grow about as fast or a little faster than scarlet and Hill's oaks while young. Black oaks can certainly outgrow northern reds on soils that are drier, thinner etc.
Where do you have your oaks? MI?

How many species?

How does Q michauxii do if you have it?
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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