Visit with the Forester - August 27

Wall Scalewort (Porella platyphylla)

New Hampshire has a wonderful program whereby each county has a designated forester who will visit a landowner's property and talk with them. "We visit your property, free of charge and help you achieve your woodlot objectives including forestry, recreation, wildlife habitat, water resources, scenic beauty and income."

I jumped at the opportunity, of course, and had a wonderful two-hour walk around the Witchwood with the Hillsborough forester, Mike. It is such a delight to talk to another nature lover, and particularly one whose specialty is something I know little of. 

Mike pointed out something I'd entirely missed: that red spruce are one of the co-dominant tree species on my land. I'd originally mistaken all the mature spruce for hemlock. 

Here's red spruce bark (left) vs eastern hemlock bark (right). Now that I know, it's obvious to me how different they are. The spruce is darker and more flake-like, while the hemlock has more of a vertical element. But I'd never noticed!

He also pointed out that I have mature black cherry trees in my forest! Another entire tree species I'd failed to notice. And again, the bark is very different and distinctive. Black cherry is one of my favorite trees - I collect the small, bitter fruit every year and make treats. 

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Mike estimates my land was last clear cut between 80 and 120 years ago. He offered to come back next year with a tree-corer tool and take core samples of some of the biggest trees so we can count the rings and get a better estimate!

He also taught me to recognize the bark of red maple. See how you could trace your finger down the white grooves in the bark?

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

I learned so much! What a wonderful day.