Per Rod Simmons, Alexandria Natural Resources Division of the Dept. Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA), Natural Resource Manager and Plant Ecologist, that is a good photo of a dog-haired thicket. It is a sweet gum tree stand in a succession area. We have been noticing that sweet gums are the first trees to fill an unplowed field here in southern MD (with emphasis on ‘FILL’). When I googled “dog-haired thicket” all that came up was ‘dog hair thicker’. So I tried “sweet gum thicket” and was taken to examples of interweaving of sweet gum saplings by Patrick Dougherty who creates tree ‘houses’ at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC.
Here are photos from exhibit of his works at the Renwick. Would have taken better photos if I had realized what I was seeing.
Here’s a quick refresher on sweet gum trees, Above are photos of sweet gum balls (seed cases often used in nature craft projects) and star-shaped leaves that I’ve included in earlier blogs showing leaf colors ranging from yellow to orange to red to purple, all on one tree.
Notice the odd bark on the branch and trunk above. Rod said it is called Indian Chewing Gum and that it is only on young trees and sloughs off eventually.
We found trees with both rough and smooth bark next to each other in the Dog-haired Thicket so they must both be same age. We plan to check the thicket at different times next year to see what happens. Will report! Meanwhile, Happy New Year!!!!