This past weekend was work weekend at our hunting property in Central Wisconsin. My brothers and their families and my husband and I all got together to prepare for the coming deer hunting season. It’s a fall ritual for many Wisconsin families, of course, and I’m certain they all look forward to it as much as we do. (It also gives me an extra excuse to do some fall turkey hunting….)
This year we were greeted with some of the most spectacular fall color. The beautiful scarlet of the American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) and the bold bronze of the Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), set against the dark green of the evergreens was awesome.
One of the unique characteristics of the American Beech is its thin, smooth, light gray bark. Most hardwood trees retain their smooth bark only as saplings. In the shaded and moist conditions of our hunting property, the beech reaches a triangular shape with its typically horizontal branches. Its shallow root system is perfect for our ledge rock area.
One other unique thing about the beech tree makes it easy to spot during our long winters. Their elliptical shaped leaves typically hang on well into spring.