Lake & Wildlife Meeting Today – 9:30 a.m. at Club Tamarack

The scheduled program is Bent Tree Wildflowers.

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Spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is a late summer wildflower that has been blooming profusely in Bent Tree over the last couple of weeks. The photo above was taken this year, but my favorite picture of this particular wildflower is the macro shown below, from last year. Click the image below to zoom in.

September 4, 2014 - Jewelweed in Bent Tree

September 4, 2014 – Spotted Jewelweed in Bent Tree (click image to zoom)

 

Hummingbird Camouflage

Cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) are blooming along the streams in Bent Tree. A hummingbird was darting away from the flower when I snapped this picture. The background vegetation is the perfect camouflage for the hummingbird.

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August 22, 2015 - Hummingbird and Cardinal Flower in Bent Tree

August 22, 2015 – Hummingbird and Cardinal Flower in Bent Tree

Blooming Now in Bent Tree

Here’s another plant that originated in China and has naturalized in Georgia. The Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) was brought to the United States in 1852 as an ornamental shrub and has spread so much that it is considered an invasive species. It is very fragrant, and you might smell it before you see it. It is considered highly allergenic, so if you’re having allergy problems right now, this could be a culprit. The second photo below gives an idea of the size of the stand of privet. It is massive (and beautiful) with a lot of blooms.

May 16, 2016 - Chinese Privet blooming in Bent Tree

May 16, 2015 – Chinese Privet blooming in Bent Tree

May 16, 2015 - stand of Chinese privet in Bent Tree

May 16, 2015 – stand of Chinese privet in Bent Tree

 

Cherokee Rose

Georgia’s state flower was putting on a nice show in Bent Tree a couple of weeks ago. The Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) is not a native plant of Georgia, but has become naturalized in the state. It is a native plant of China and was brought to the United States in the 1700’s. The Native American Cherokees began planting the evergreen climbing shrub in north Georgia around the mid-1700’s.  It is said that wherever a tear fell on the “Trail of Tears”, a Cherokee Rose grew. The plants still bloom along the path today.

May 5, 2015 - Cherokee Rose blooming in Bent Tree

May 5, 2015 – Cherokee Rose blooming in Bent Tree

Nodding Trillium

The nodding trillium is a plant that is easy to overlook. The flower hangs down under the three leaves, so it is often inconspicuous. The following photo was taken last month in Bent Tree. If you click the photo twice, you’ll get a good macro view.

April 18, 2013 – nodding Catesby’s trillium in Bent Tree (aka Bashful Wakerobin or Rose Trillium)

The importance of the black locust tree

Early forest regeneration in southern Appalachian hardwood forests is dominated by the woody nitrogen fixing legume, black locust (Robinia pseudo-acacia).” - Boring L.R. and W.T. Swank, Department of Botany, University of Georgia, “The Role of Black Locust in Forest Succession”

Wednesday’s post (click here to read), mentioned a location in Bent Tree that was recently bush-hogged.  The location had three years of thick vegetation growth, including numerous black locust saplings, and would have been the perfect place to monitor growth in the future.  The black locust is native to our area, is important to the honey industry, has beautiful fragrant blooms (used as an ingredient in many perfumes), is valued for its lumber, and is important to wildlife.

“Seeds of the black locust are eaten by northern bobwhite quail, mourning dove, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail, and squirrels. White-tailed deer also eat the leaves and twigs. Many animals use this tree for cover. Cavities in the tree are good homes for bird and other animals, especially woodpeckers. Additionally, black locust is the host-plant for a couple species of butterfly.” – University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and Conservation

Following are photos of black locust trees in Bent Tree this year (click thumbnails for larger image).  The fourth photo shows a black locust sapling that was starting to bloom.  The sapling was growing in the area that was recently bush-hogged.

Bent Tree Bush-hogging

Don’t blame this on the deer. A bush-hog did it.
Note: Click here for a previous post on forest succession in this area of Bent Tree.

Before:

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August 17, 2012 - forest succession 3 years old

After:

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October 9, 2012 - same area after bush-hogging

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October 9, 2012 - goodbye vegetation

 

“de facto” exclosures

The “vegetative study” which turned out to actually be “An Evaluation of Ecological Impacts of White-tailed Deer Browsing Over a Ten Year Period at the Bent Tree Community” has been the topic of two recent posts (click here to read Saturday’s post).  The fact that the report mentioned tick related diseases and deer-vehicle collisions, but never once mentioned drought/rain or shade/sunlight  is a good indicator of the substance of this “vegetative study”.

The summary section of the report states “A number of ‘de facto’ exclosures currently are found on Bent Tree.”  In the April 25, 2011 Bent Tree Cull Report, Steve Smith (USDA) said “Exclosures have worked well in Big Canoe as another tool to gauge the effects of deer browsing.  This should be done away from homes in areas with as little human influence as possible. This will help avoid claims of bias such as supplemental plantings, extra fertilization or watering and deer harassment.  The following photo of a yard in Bent Tree was taken last year (August 2011).  The yard has an electrified deer fence.  The yard receives extra watering (irrigation shown in action in the photo).  Inside the fence are supplemental plantings, and most likely extra fertilization.  And, the fence is obviously close to a home with human influence.  In other words, everything that Steve Smith said needed to be avoided.  Therefore, “ipso facto”,  this area is not a “de facto” exclosure that can be used for scientific analysisThe second photo below was taken last week in a lower elevation of Bent Tree.  This area is not fenced, has no supplemental plantings, no added fertilizer, no artificial irrigation, gets good partial sunlight, has deer, and has a good variety of native vegetation.

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August 13, 2011 - yard with electric fence, supplemental plantings, irrigation

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July 29, 2012 - unfenced vegetation on Bent Tree common property