Land Between the Lakes is 250 square miles, so I'm sure there are bigger trees than this white oak I found growing in "The Home Place," a replica 1850 farm. I was really impressed with the variety of hardwoods found at LBL, but the area was clear cut for the iron smelter industry from 1870-1925. Most of the mature trees must be no older than 80 years old.
I estimate the diameter of this white oak is almost 6 feet. Shagbark hickory saplings are growing in its shade. There are several nice specimens of mature shagbark hickory trees growing nearby but none are of exceptional size.
The uplands of LBL consist of about 80% hardwoods, 15% meadow, and 5% pine. Dominant trees include white oak, southern red oak, post oak, black oak, shagbark hickory, pignut hickory, sycamore, black walnut, sugar maple, red maple, mimosa, and cottonwood. Willow grows in the low areas. Birch, juniper, and ash are also present. The pine trees are shortleaf, Virginia, and white. I noticed on the range map that this is a disjunct population of Virginia pine. The types of native grasses growing in the meadows include big bluestem, little bluestem, gamma, and Indian grass. Coreopsis and purple coneflower were blooming in abundance.
I was surprised at how common black walnut and sycamore were. This area was known as Land Between the Rivers before the TVA created the 2 lakes. The frequent floods must have enriched the soil, aiding the growth of those species.
Biologists here use fire to manage the forests and the Elk and Bison prairie.
Notice the bison wallow and the widely spaced trees in the background. This is the type of landscape the early colonists encountered but with bigger trees and probably enormous old dead snags.
We saw bison, cattle egrets, and turkeys, but no elk. It was too hot and they must have been bedded down in the shade. We also saw several white tail deer outside the prairie.
LBL is a great place for solitude. There were hardly any people or cars here.
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