Earth Partnership for Schools


WOODLAND PLANT COMMUNITY - SOUTHERN DRY FOREST

 

Topography: Southern dry oak forests often grow on uplands, rocky hillsides, hilltops and ridges, thin soils over rock outcrop, and south and west slope aspects.

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

Dominant Trees: White oak, red oak, and black oak. Oaks are overwhelmingly dominant in dry forests.

Common Trees: Black cherry, bur oak, chinquapin oak, and trembling aspen.

Typical Shrubs: Gray dogwood, hazelnut. These shrubs are widespread.

Prevalent Groundlayer: Spring blooming plants are: wild geranium, false Solomon's seal, wild strawberry, bellwort, and mayflower. Summer blooming plants include hog peanut, enchanter's nightshade, wild spikenard, tick-trefoil, lopseed, and bottlebrush grass. Fall blooming plants are heart-leaved aster and woodland sunflower.

Structure: The forest is of moderate shade and hence has a well-developed shrub layer. The shrubs include brambles and gooseberries that sometimes form an impenetrable and often prickly lower layer, especially in grazed woodlands. The shrubs are so dense that travel is sometimes difficult through the woods. The exception is an oak woods frequented by regular fires. A fire maintained oak woods is open and park-like. In either case, the groundlayer consists of many species with sticktights, such as tick-trefoil. Once-plentiful herds of bison and elk dispersed these seeds in Wisconsin. A typical forest may contain 123 trees per acre, have an 83% canopy cover which allows sufficient light for reproduction of the dominant trees. Oaks require moderate light intensities to reproduce in a forest.

Soil: Coarse to fine, sandy loams. Well to excessive drainage.

Major Soil Series: Fox, Rodman, Wyocena, Coloma, Hixton, Sogn.

 

Summary of Soil Analysis:

W.R.C.

73%

p H

6.2

Ca

2210 p.p.m.

K

84 p.p.m.

P

25 p.p.m.

NH4

12 p.p.m.

Stability: Unstable in absence of fire and extreme topography. Succeeded by more mesic types if a mesic seed source is nearby.
Typical Number of Species: Trees 24, Shrubs 44, Herbs 221, Total 289
Species Density: 54
Guild SE ES LS SV WA WG DI MY EV
Average Proportion 0.8% 38.6% 33.5% 22.3% 0.8% 0.0% 2.2% 0.0% 1.7%
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
Wildlife: Blue jay, wild turkey, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, gray squirrel, flying squirrel, eastern chipmunk.
Typical Examples: UW-Madison Arboretum, Observatory S.A., Brownstown S.A.
Geographical Distribution: Upper Mississippi valley, south to Kentucky and the Ozark Mountains.