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Oak-Hickory Forest

This is our most common habitat, covering about 25% of Lewisboro. It is found on dry hillsides and ridges that have thin, rocky and acidic soils. Most of the trees are ‘second-growth’  meaning that they have regrown on formerly cleared farmland.

Some of these trees are up to 200 years old; most are 70 to 100 years old. Red, black, white and scarlet oaks and pignut, butternut and mockernut hickories are the dominant trees along with the occasional red maple and white ash.  Flowering dogwood, shadbush (serviceberry) and hophorn trees grow in the understory while blueberry, witch hazel and maple leaf viburnum shrubs grow below them in the shrub layer. The soil is usually dry and covered with Pennsylvania sedge, Canada mayflower, partridge berry, winterberry, Christmas fern and pin cushion moss.

Carpeted with Mayapples in Spring
Carpeted with Mayapples in Spring

Look out for

Migrating birds such as the ovenbird, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, veery and red eyed vireos may be found here. All these bird population are in steep decline due to habitat loss here and in their wintering homes in Central and South America.

What you can do

Oaks and hickories are excellent trees for homeowners to plant. They are mast trees (trees that produce acorns and nuts) and so are excellent sources of food for birds and other wildlife, especially during winter when other food is scarce. Oaks and hickories are trees of the southern United States; Lewisboro is near the extreme of their northern range. This means as temperatures continue to rise due to climate change, oaks and hickories will continue to thrive in our region since they are accustomed to warmer climates.

Did you know?

Oak trees provide the greatest benefits for insects, including pollinators and host to as many as 534 species of caterpillars.