Met up with Stroupy in his home town and he took us to his hunting area. Weiser State Forest, Schuykill County.
On the walk up, we did notice a good bit of browsing on various plants. In light of NO acorn crop, that is to be expected.
Here is a stump along the log road. The sprouts, browsed off and the stump is now dead.
He took us to a clearcut that had been fenced right after timbering. Stroup wondered why so many of the branches of the trees in the cut were dead and breaking off. Turned out it was mostly birch and just natural they were self pruning due to a lack of sunlight.
Along the way, we found this tree:
And this was at the top of the tree:
American Chestnut and we brought a burr back that had 3 seeds in it.
Along the way, we pointed somethings out to Stroupy, stump sprouts, various species of trees. The first part of the cut we walked into seemed like regen was pretty lousy, once we got deeper in, we began to find more and more oak regen, both stump sprouts and larger seedlings. All of them competing with the surrounding birch for sunlight.
On the way out, he said that the growth outside wasn't all that different than inside. However, when we looked at what was growing and how it was growing, we found something different.
This oak was outside the fence. I'd guess 3 feet tall maybe?
This oak, the tree with the brown leaves, was inside the fence. As you can see, tall, straight.
I think, for me, that brought home how deer, even a few, can impact tree growth. Oaks aren't supposed to be 3 foot shrubs, they should be tall and straight.
So, while I still have questions about his area, I can see that deer still impacted it.
The question is, how severe is the impact today?
BTW, I saw a very good number of buck rubs, and if he ain't careful, he might have some competition up on that ridge. LOL
Bryan, many thanks for showing us around and allowing us to learn from YOU. Well worth the 4 hours we spent with you. Hope to get back in the spring to prune that one oak. LOL