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Old 07-21-2014, 07:48 PM   #11
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As many of you know, I hope to do some kind of "habitat restoration" on our two acre plot. Over the past few years, I've come to the conclusion that I don't think "a native plant garden" is really what I'm trying to do...although "landscaping with natives" fits a little closer, after years of analyzing what it is I'm really trying to do, I think my plans fit more closely to more of a restoration. With that in mind, while I plan for a beautiful landscape, I'm trying to figure out what plants would natural grow together. Yes, I could just plant what looks good or haphazardly combine a variety of native plants, but I want my landscape to at least mimic naturally occurring plant communities.

I've tried various searches ("naturally occurring with"..."vegetative associations"..."native plant communities"..."companion plants") with little success--until today. Today, while trying to figure out how nine bark (Physocarpus opulifolius) could fit in to the landscape I'm planning for the front of our house, finally I came up with the right combination of words in one of my searches and I came across this website:

http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx

http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Uplands.aspx

http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/fikebook/17chapter6.pdf

I'm only beginning to explore it, but I think I'm on the right track. I'd like to find more sites like this which discuss which native species naturally grow together and in turn create natural habitats.

Hopefully others will benefit from this site...and will add others that they find as well.
I really like that "dry oak, mixed hardwood forest," I've been rereading Tallamy, and he says at one point that if he had a choice again to plant an exposed area with trees that he would primarily choose White Oaks, Hickories, and Beech and plant them in a thick cluster with understory plants like the ones described in the "Dry Oak..." description.

I find that I share his second guessing of his choices. WHat a wildlife reserve that would be!!
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:22 PM   #12
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I really like that "dry oak, mixed hardwood forest," I've been rereading Tallamy, and he says at one point that if he had a choice again to plant an exposed area with trees that he would primarily choose White Oaks, Hickories, and Beech and plant them in a thick cluster with understory plants like the ones described in the "Dry Oak..." description.

I find that I share his second guessing of his choices. WHat a wildlife reserve that would be!!
What do you have now, jack, that you are second guessing?
I have found that I am partial to the beech, maple, magnolia, & white oak hardwood coves we have around here. I've got 3 bigleaf magnolia seedlings that I grew from seed this year. I love their leaves and the rich understory I always find beneath them.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:13 AM   #13
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What do you have now, jack, that you are second guessing?
I have found that I am partial to the beech, maple, magnolia, & white oak hardwood coves we have around here. I've got 3 bigleaf magnolia seedlings that I grew from seed this year. I love their leaves and the rich understory I always find beneath them.

Before I knew any better, I planted some hybrid willows and populars to quickly screen my property from a partying, raucous neighbor. Now, as they are on the border and over 50 or more feet tall, I'm stuck with them. Just another one of those things I lament doing in my life. In other places in my yard, wherever I have made an error like that, I have girdled the trees and watched them become snags and then come tumbling down, sections at a time. Because of the location of those willows and poplars, however, I don't dare girdle them.

I have planted many oaks by this date, and about four or five of them are producing mast. I have a six foot tall beech, but I have never had the opportunity to plant a hickory. Perhaps this fall would be a good time to research locating one and adding it to the budding forest???
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Old 07-22-2014, 01:44 PM   #14
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dapjwy, I have a local company that provides seed and plants for restoration. This is the suggested "Showy Wildflower Mix". A lot of these plants are pretty common plants, which will create the enviroment for more rare plants to enter the communities. Some species need more mature environments to exist, and have done this for a thousands of years since glacial formations. Some of these species might not work, but I am pretty sure a lot of them are native to your area as well.



Warm Season Grasses Mix, cheaper mix with just grasses. Could be spread thinly over some areas to get some warm season grasses in the mix.
Many, many thanks, rockerBOO!

Great suggestions. After a quick scan of the list, I realize I already have many of these...and most of the others were already in the back of my mind, however, a few (mostly grasses) are new to me. I'll do more research on this, but you are giving me a great starting point.

Thanks, also, to Ellen for telling me that there was a post specifically posted for me. I've been busy for a while, but after this past week, I'm hoping things will get back to normal.

Anyway, I know of one seed company that I've been looking into...some of their seed seems to have originated in PA...they label where others originated, however, if was told that that info is not always accurate. In addition to that company, I know of another that carries local genotype...at least in plugs, if not in seed.

My plan, so far, is to collect seed of those i already have, volunteers, purchased plants, and some from roadsides or friends' properties. I will definitely end up purchasing seed as well. Just today, I was walking the paths and noticing Oxalis stricta (Yellow Wood Sorrel)--actually, I think it is the Eurasian species....but I do have some of the native...anyway, I was planning in my head to add Oxalis stricta seed to whatever seed is I come up with. My goal is to add some native annuals to make sure that I get plenty of coverage to cut down on weed seeds, but I also want to have something blooming the first year. Originally, I was just thinking of daisy fleabane (Erigeron spp.)...but I'm hoping for more suggestions of annuals to add to my mix.

I agree about creating a natural succession (up to a point) for the meadow...as the meadow matures, I'm hoping that the area becomes good habitat for those more "conservative" species. Thanks for pointing that out to me, as it was not i the forefront of my mind.

I was thinking along those lines for the woodland...and I do want various areas of the properties to be mature--not only the woodland, but I plan for a bald...and I imagine stretches of lowbush blueberry and other communities. At the same time, I will want to keep some areas in early, mid-, and late- succession. I'd miss those early pioneer species if every spot on the property was so mature as to no longer be habitable to the pioneer species.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:00 PM   #15
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I really like that "dry oak, mixed hardwood forest," I've been rereading Tallamy, and he says at one point that if he had a choice again to plant an exposed area with trees that he would primarily choose White Oaks, Hickories, and Beech and plant them in a thick cluster with understory plants like the ones described in the "Dry Oak..." description.

I find that I share his second guessing of his choices. WHat a wildlife reserve that would be!!
Hey, jack! Hello, it's been a while.

Yes, that does sound beautiful. I'm going to have to reread it, but I'm sure I like that community and wish we had more than two acres to create various habitats.

My theory over the years is that many people plant trees, and the natural succession of most areas around here would become woodland...but how many people plant the meadow plants...those early succession (and later, more conservative plants) habitats are becoming more and more rare. There are species that depend on these habitats as well. Two acres is very small in the grand scheme of things, and my dividing it up into pocket woodland, pocket meadow, tiny bald/rocky outcrop, and pond-stream-wetland makes each habitat that much smaller, but I like all of these habitats and want a sample of each...I'm hoping the fact that at least half of the property will be native grasses and meadow wildflowers, I'm actually creating desperately needed areas for butterflies, pollinators, and meadow birds.

With the degraded areas invaded by invasive plants, the natural succession is hampered to say the least. I'm hoping to create a lot of edge habitat and support the greatest variety of species...and enjoy the beauty of each habitat in the process.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:13 PM   #16
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Before I knew any better, I planted some hybrid willows and populars to quickly screen my property from a partying, raucous neighbor. Now, as they are on the border and over 50 or more feet tall, I'm stuck with them. Just another one of those things I lament doing in my life. In other places in my yard, wherever I have made an error like that, I have girdled the trees and watched them become snags and then come tumbling down, sections at a time. Because of the location of those willows and poplars, however, I don't dare girdle them.

I have planted many oaks by this date, and about four or five of them are producing mast. I have a six foot tall beech, but I have never had the opportunity to plant a hickory. Perhaps this fall would be a good time to research locating one and adding it to the budding forest???
At least you got some good snags out of some of them. Glad that you now have some oaks and a beech (about five feet taller than mine...and six feet taller than the two-leafed volunteer seedling I just found is year). Good luck with the hickories.

We have several pignut hickories--assuming I correctly identified them. I'm really partial to shagbark hickory. We have several volunteers coming up (a few years old)...unfortunately, they are only a few feet (if that) from the house and the outbuilding. I've tried transplanting a couple, but was not able to get enough of the tap root. This spring, however, I think I did successfully transplant one into the woodland. I got a lot more root, trimmed back the new growth and left only a few leaves; we've had a lot of rain, and it still looks good.

There is another shagbark hickory coming up through a dogwood in the landscaping (the mature, pink dogwood planted by a previous owner). It is probably ten feet or so from the house, so once mature, I fear it would be a danger to the house. I'm considering leaving it there, but it fear it would be a mistake.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:18 PM   #17
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At least you got some good snags out of some of them. Glad that you now have some oaks and a beech (about five feet taller than mine...and six feet taller than the two-leafed volunteer seedling I just found is year). Good luck with the hickories.

We have several pignut hickories--assuming I correctly identified them. I'm really partial to shagbark hickory. We have several volunteers coming up (a few years old)...unfortunately, they are only a few feet (if that) from the house and the outbuilding. I've tried transplanting a couple, but was not able to get enough of the tap root. This spring, however, I think I did successfully transplant one into the woodland. I got a lot more root, trimmed back the new growth and left only a few leaves; we've had a lot of rain, and it still looks good.

There is another shagbark hickory coming up through a dogwood in the landscaping (the mature, pink dogwood planted by a previous owner). It is probably ten feet or so from the house, so once mature, I fear it would be a danger to the house. I'm considering leaving it there, but it fear it would be a mistake.
It sounds like you have a neighborhood with some mature forest trees, something I lack. The fact that volunteer hickories and beeches are coming up sounds like they want to be growing there. I needed to get my seedlings in a woods further north in NH. I know this is not kosher to you, but they appear to be enjoying my property and are doing well.

Any interesting run-ins with wildlife? My yard has been quiet, except that I now get turkeys, a species that had not been seen in my yard for twenty years. I know it's the producing oaks that brought them as a gift!!!!
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:48 PM   #18
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It sounds like you have a neighborhood with some mature forest trees, something I lack. The fact that volunteer hickories and beeches are coming up sounds like they want to be growing there. I needed to get my seedlings in a woods further north in NH. I know this is not kosher to you, but they appear to be enjoying my property and are doing well.
We are surrounded by farmland and woodland. I'm happy that I do get seedling trees. Especially after hearing about your situation.

By the way, as much as I want to keep things local, I understand it is not always easy or even possible...especially if someone wants to put in trees and shrubs larger than a few years old.

Also, I just got two hackberry trees and some sassafras from Ellen--a bit farther away than I'd like, but I'm very grateful. Thanks again, Ellen.

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Any interesting run-ins with wildlife? My yard has been quiet, except that I now get turkeys, a species that had not been seen in my yard for twenty years. I know it's the producing oaks that brought them as a gift!!!!
Wildlife encounters? You've heard about the bear last year, right?

This year, a fawn came up right behind me while my back was turned; I was hunched down planting things by the deck. It huffed or something. Somehow I sensed something was behind me. I turned around and gasped, startling it. It darted several feet away, but stopped as I made some soothing noises. I was able to get a few somewhat blurry photos.

Congrats on the turkeys. I'd love to have some here...aside from the one I startled a few years ago, I've not seen any here.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:13 AM   #19
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It sounds like you are in a rural area dap with woods and farmland. Sounds nice.
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:49 PM   #20
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It sounds like you are in a rural area dap with woods and farmland. Sounds nice.
Yes, I am. ...Fairly rural, but not deep country.

I always said that I was a country boy. I grew up in the suburbs...but I love the openness and privacy.
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