Smith Mountain Lake State Park, VA  Will Blozan
  December 05, 2008

TOPIC: Thanksgiving trees

Smith Mountain Lake State Park , VA. I hiked portions of most of the trails in the park and found nothing to report. The forests are too young and disturbed to produce much yet. It was disturbing to see acres and acres of Virginia pine forests with an understory component dominated by Japanese honeysuckle, privet, and earthworms. I come across an interesting site that must have been some form of limestone outcrop. Over this several acre patch the short- canopied, open forest was dominated by black walnut and honey locust. The mid and understory was full of redbud, red cedar and a highly contorted Celtis, perhaps C. tenuifolia. They were full of fruit and shared some space with paw-paw. The overall appearance of the site was very unique to me- short trees, open canopy and an assemblage of species I have not seen together in such abundance. It was perhaps semi-savanna perpetuated by black walnut allelopathy. Here is a shot taken just before the rain came.

== 2 of 7 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 5 2008 4:14 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


Places like this in which the trees are not spectacular, but represent an unusual assemblage or exhibit unusual character are something I feel is as important to document as are the big trees we measure. Other examples, such as the the rock elm forest in Minnesota, are also worth documenting. I am wondering if you or others have any ideas on how to better define or document these unusual assemblages that would give them more weight or importance when considering the ecologic or aesthetic value of various forested landscapes?

Ed Frank

== 3 of 7 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 5 2008 4:19 pm
From: "Will Blozan"


True. I have no idea if such a site has any significance at all in the
context of the state or eastern woodlands. To me, they are a novelty since I
don't encounter them regularly.

Will F. Blozan

President, Eastern Native Tree Society
President, Appalachian Arborists, Inc.

== 5 of 7 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 5 2008 4:26 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


I don't know if they are significant in a broader context, but when they strike you as as something unusual, given your passion abut trees, that certainly is a place to start. If these places are not being noted or documented in any way, how are we to know what is unusual and what is simply commonplace?