The geology of Ohio can be separated into two different parts. The eastern half and the western half. The types of underlying rock in the eastern half is sandstone. Sandstone is very resistant and within the eastern half, on the western side there is shale. This combination ends up creating sandstone hills or sandstonecapped hills. In the western half of Ohio, the underlying rock is limestone which is very prone to erosion. This causes the area to be more flat and plain-like.
Sedimentary rock strata consists of a top layer of sandstone, middle layer of shale, and a bottom layer of limestone. This created an arch known as the Appalachian Mountains. The Teay’s River is a very old river, about 2.5 million year old to be exact. The Teay’s River eroded all along it’s length through Ohio, soon after glaciers form the Ice Age began to form.
A feature of the landscape that slowed down the glaciers and caused a glacial boundary was the sandstone hills of eastern Ohio. Below is a sketch of the glacial boundary
Glacial till is where a mixture of sand, silt, clay, and various boulders are picked up by glaciers and deposited elsewhere by meltwater. Western part of Ohio has till that contained high levels of lime and clay while the eastern part of Ohio lacked till that was high in lime and clay.
The basic substrate for plants in the western part of Ohio is relatively impermeable soil, clay and lime like and often does lacks in nitrogen when wet. This also leads to sever dry periods as well. The nutrient supply is very high despite these issues. In eastern Ohio, the soil is very acidic and low in nutrients. Due to it being impermeable run off water does not soak in.
Some of the trees and shrubs that you can find in limey areas are redbud, hackberry, blue ash, red-cedar, and chinquapin oak.
Some species of trees and shrubs that prefer high lime and large amount of clay in the glacial till areas of Ohio are sugar maple, beech, red oak, shagbark hickory, and white oak.
Some species of trees and shrubs that are limited to eastern Ohio’s sandstone hills are hemlock, chestnut oak, scrub and pitch pine, and mountain apple.
The major determinate of the distribution of sweet buckeye is not really known but issues with repopulation is the suspecting factor as well as climate. Hemlock on the other hand is spread throughout due to the cool, moist climate. The determinate of the distribution of the rhododendron is that it used to belong to the Appalachian highlands and slowly migrated into the Taye’s valley.
Forsyth, J. L. (1971). Linking Geology to Botany… a New Approach . The Explorer , 13(3).
Individual Assignment: Two Trees with Simple Leaf Complexity
Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
This tree is native to north east United States and southeast Canada. It prefers soils that are slightly acidic in nature.
Sugar Maple (Acer sacharum)
Sugar maple is the tree tat the Mohegan native Americans used to use as a cough remedy and sweetener. This is also the tree known for its maple syrup.
Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Autumn olive was originally planted to help soil erosion especially around coal mines. It was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800’s from Asia and was not used for erosion control until the 1950’s.
Asian Honeysuckle (Lonciera tatarica)
Asian honeysuckle was originally used as an ornamental tree and used for soil erosion control. These plants are very dense in the understory and can take u room and damage the native plants surrounding it due to it releasing a chemical into the ground.
Limestone Loving Plants
Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum amercanium)
Prickly ash can be grown around the world. It is often referred to as the “toothache tree” due to its medicinal properties to ease the pain of the mouth associated with teeth and general mouth pain.
Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium)
Blackhaw’s medicinal purposes was used by the native Americans in treating wounds after childbirth, mensural cramps, and the affects of menopause.