The Ohio State University extension office states that there are more than 100 hardwood and approximately 25 softwood species of trees in Ohio. A diverse temperate climate that is considered part of the Appalachian hardwood region, Ohio is home to 7.9 million acres of forest containing close to 65 billion trees. With so much variety, it can be tough to pick and choose the best trees for a new Ohio forest.
Red Oak, or Quercus rubra, is a hardwood tree used in the wood industry. In addition to its economic value, red oak serves a variety of purposes in Ohio forests. Growth of this tree is rapid and vigorous, providing a quick re-establishment for damaged or depleted forest areas and ample shade in urban forestry applications. Red oak grows to a height of 60 feet under less than ideal conditions, it flourishes to heights of 90 to 140 feet when grown in moist, well drained, slightly acidic soil. Red oak prefers partial to full sun and is often found along the borders of streams, lakes and rivers throughout the state.
Shagbark hickory, Carya ovata, is found throughout the forests of Ohio. Its prime habitats are in direct opposition to each other, containing both dry ridge-tops and moist valley centers. Preferring well drained soil and partial to full sun, shagbark hickory grows to heights surpassing 100 feet tall. This versatile tree grows in the wild surrounded by other hickories and oaks and is considered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to be "virtually disease and pest free." In addition to this status, the timber of shagbark hickories is valued for its sturdiness and longevity when used for tools, furniture and construction. The wood is used in the smoking of meats and the nuts provide ample food for Ohio's wildlife. Shagbark hickory is named for its deeply furrowed, gray bark that easily peels away from the tree.
The eastern larch, or Larix laricina, is found only in the northernmost counties of Ohio. The only native deciduous conifer in Ohio, eastern larch prefers moist, wet, acidic soil. It can often be found on floodplains and in bogs, swamps or wetlands. Eastern larch prefers full sun and partial shade, growing to heights of 30 to 65 feet. Eastern larch possesses brown, flaky bark with a red underbark lending this tree a distinct appearance. Needles are spiraled around the branches of the eastern larch in clusters. The needles are silver to blue in color when the tree is young, with more established trees bearing dark, dusty green needles.