Earth Partnership for Schools


WOODLAND PLANT COMMUNITY - NORTHERN DRY MESIC FOREST

 

Topography: Dry-mesic forests often grow on flat uplands, dry slopes, on ridges, and in ravines; or may grow along lake edges and streams.

Microclimate: Generally northern dry-mesic forests grow on south and southwest slope aspects. Direct sun exposure increases evaporation and temperature near the ground.

Composition: Species listed below are most likely found in the community.

Dominant Trees: White pine, red maple, red oak.

Common Trees: White birch, sugar maple, and hemlock.

Typical Shrubs: Alternate-leaved dogwood, beaked hazelnut, dwarf bush honeysuckle, blackberries, raspberries, maple-leaf viburnum, and lowbush blueberry.

Prevalent Groundlayer: Canada mayflower, wild sarsaparilla, largeleaf aster, bracken fern and starflower. Nearly an equal number of groundlayer species will bloom in spring and summer. A few bloom in the fall, such as largeleaf aster and rattlesnake root.

Structure: There is a wide variation in the structure of northern dry-mesic forests. Stands may consist of pure pine stands of single species, mixtures of pines, or mixed forests with oaks, maples, and aspen. Mature white pines will form a super canopy towering over the main canopy of smaller trees.

Stability: Fairly stable. Succeeded by Northern Mesic Forest.

Soil: Coarse to fine loams, sandy loam. Well-drained soil.

Major Soil Series: Cloquet, Omega, Hixton, Gale, and Shawano.

 

Summary of Soil Analysis:

W.R.C.

127%

p H

5.2

Ca

1985 p.p.m.

K

77 p.p.m.

P

? p.p.m.

NH4

? p.p.m.

Typical Number of Species: Trees 31, Shrubs 52, Herbs 200, Total 283
Species Density: 47
Guild SE ES LS SV WA WG DI MY EV
Average Proportion 0% 44% 16% 22% 0% 0% 0% 1% 17%

Guild Key: SE = Spring Ephemeral; ES = Early Summer; LS = Late Summer; SV = Shrub/Vine; WA = Winter Annual; WG = Wintergreen; DI = Dimorphic;
MY = Mycotrophic; EV = Evergreen

Typical Examples: Northern Highland State Forest, Council Grounds S.A., and Potawatomi State Park.
Geographical Distribution: N. Minnesota to New England and Pennsylvania.