Deep Woods: Hocking Hill

For this field trip we ventured deep into the Ohio Hills of Hocking, Hocking Hills. This is the unglaciated, acidic land of Ohio. For this project we were set out to find four acid-loving plants. I was only able to find three (at that, a bad picture of one), but for another class this week I visited the Wahkeena Nature Preserve which also so happens to be the unglaciated, acidic land of Ohio! I included two pictures below of a sourwood and a Vaccinium species.

Threats to Forest Health

We learned about a couple of threats to forest health including the essential extinction of American chestnut trees from the chestnut blight and the butternut tree canker. American chestnut trees have been affected by a disease called chestnut blight since the early 20th century. It was first discovered in 1904, thought to have been brought over from Asia. It’s a fungal disease that has virtually wiped out all mature American chestnuts in the U.S. The fungus enters wounds, grows in and under the bark, and eventually kills the cambium all the way around the twig, branch, or trunk. Scientists are trying to create a new species of chestnut that can survive to maturity by combining American chestnut with other species of chestnut. Butternut tree cankers are also caused by a fungus. It’s origins are unknown, but it is also thought to have been introduced from another country. The fungus creates a wound, or canker, that appears as patched of black blemishes. The fungus was first discovered in 1967 but not described until 1979. No control for the fungal disease exists and butternut trees are not resistant to it. In Canada, protecting butternut trees has been a part of the Species at Risk Act since 2005.

Two Flower Grasses

I was set out to find two flowering grasses during our field trip. Below are the two I found!