Poison Springs SF Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Forest Preserve, AR

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Jess Riddle
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Poison Springs SF Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Forest Preserve, AR

Post by Jess Riddle » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:08 pm

Nts,

If you plan of spending much time in the woods of southern Arkansas during winter, muck boots are a good investment. A week after a heavy rain, scattered puddles still sit of the surface of the level, clay-rich soils. Another option for dry feet would be to stick to a band of sandier soils stretching from near Texarkana to south-central Arkansas. That region supports species common to the sand hills of the Atlantic Coastal Plain like bluejack oak, which are otherwise absent in Arkansas.
Bluejack oak range (Little 1971)
Bluejack oak range (Little 1971)
BlueOakRange.JPG (28.97 KiB) Viewed 1766 times
The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission has established two preserves to protect the unique conditions of the sand hills region. Unfortunately, they currently protect the underlying physical conditions much more than the associated plant communities. Pine plantations cover most of the preserves at the moment, but young sand post oaks and Arkansas oaks around the edges of the plantations hint at the communities the sites could support. The commission has also recently begun restoration of cut almost all of a sand post oak woodland by cutting almost all the loblolly pines and eastern red cedars that have grown up in the wake of fire suppression. One tract still contains mature oak-pine forest with loblolly pine to at least 126.4’ tall and post oaks to around 100’.
Sand post oak woodland following restoration thinning.  The area is generally more sloped than it appears in this picture, but the image gives a good impression of the structure of the community
Sand post oak woodland following restoration thinning. The area is generally more sloped than it appears in this picture, but the image gives a good impression of the structure of the community
Arkansas oak drew me to the area. Arkansas oak (Quercus arkansana) is one of the rarest oaks in the eastern United States. Natureserve indicates there are fewer than 100 populations of the species, and the oak reaches its greatest abundance in southwestern Arkansas and the Florida panhandle. The trees with their small leaves that splay out at the tips and relatively smooth, slightly streaked bark probably resemble water oak more than any other species, but the leaves recall blackjack oak too. In form, Arkansas oak also resembles water oak, but water oak is a much larger species.
Arkansas oak range (Little 1971)
Arkansas oak range (Little 1971)
ArkansasOakRange.JPG (24.61 KiB) Viewed 1766 times
Arkansas oak leaves
Arkansas oak leaves
Arkansas oak bark
Arkansas oak bark
I spent most of my time on the recently restored slope. Sand post oak dominated one part of the south facing slope along with sparkleberry and scattered gum bumelia, fringe tree, Carolina buckthorn, and along the lower part of the slope Arkansas oak. This community transitioned on one side into a loblolly pine woodland that still had significant sand post oak and Arkansas oak and on the other sides into closed canopy forests. Most interesting of those forests is the slightly swampy stream bottom at the base of the slope dominated by sweetgum, red maple and sweetbay magnolia, an uncommon species in Arkansas.
PoisonSpringsMeasurements.JPG
PoisonSpringsMeasurements.JPG (28.52 KiB) Viewed 1766 times
1’8” cbh x 33.2’ tall alleghany chinkapin
1’8” cbh x 33.2’ tall alleghany chinkapin

2’3” cbh x 52.7’ tall (left) and 2’5” x 51.0’ Arkansas oaks
2’3” cbh x 52.7’ tall (left) and 2’5” x 51.0’ Arkansas oaks
2’1” cbh x 43.7’ tall bluejack oak
2’1” cbh x 43.7’ tall bluejack oak
Jess

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Poison Springs SF Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Forest Preserve

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:14 am

Hi Jess- Very interesting posting. I have not ever seen the Arkansas Oak but I read about them. I know I have seen Bluejack around my region. The leaves look similar to Water Oak so most don't realize it is a different tree, although it is much smaller. Can you post a photo of the leaves of a Bluejack? Did you have any leaf shots of the Bluejack? Thanks Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Poison Springs SF Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Forest Preserve

Post by dbhguru » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:24 am

Jess,

I greatly enjoyed your post. I tend to forget how many species of oaks there are. Do yo know how may oak species grow in Arkansas?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Poison Springs SF Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Forest Preserve

Post by Jess Riddle » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:25 pm

Bob,

Glad you enjoyed the post. The International Oak Society on their website lists 27 species of oak as native to Arkansas. I've been to at least three sites in Arkansas that have 10 or more oak species.

Larry,

Here are the few other pictures I have of bluejack oak. You'll have to Google for better pictures. Note that the leaves are widest near the middle, not towards the end like water oak is. They really look more like fat willow oak leaves or like live oak. The leaves are hairy underneath, unlike willow oak and water oak, and have a bristle tip on the end, unlike live oak. You can spot them from a distance because the whole tree has a blue-gray color. They typically grow with longleaf pine, sand post oak, and/or turkey oak.

Jess
Bluejack oak bark, Poison Springs State Forest Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Preserve, AR
Bluejack oak bark, Poison Springs State Forest Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Preserve, AR
Bluejack oak leaves, Sandhills Game Land, NC
Bluejack oak leaves, Sandhills Game Land, NC
Bluejack oak bark, Sandhills Game Land, NC
Bluejack oak bark, Sandhills Game Land, NC

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Poison Springs SF Sand Barren & Oak-Pine Forest Preserve

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:15 am

Hi Jess- Thanks way cool images of the Bluejack. Larry

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