View Full Version : Evergreens on Western Slopes

03-05-2006, 03:24 PM
It appears that west facing slopes in New Hampshire are more suited to evergreen growth. Does anyone know why that is, or is it simply my imagination.

03-05-2006, 03:37 PM
Simply a guess, but maybe the wind? Isn't the wind normally blowing in a westerly direction?

03-05-2006, 03:38 PM
I think its more north and west facing slopes that are conducive for the spruce/fir growth, probably because the sun doesn't hit that side of the mountain as well as the south facing side, especially in winter. Temps are cooler and therefore the habitat for spruce/fir trees is better.

I'm sure there is more to it than that though.


03-05-2006, 06:26 PM
Yeah, its a combination of temperatures and precipitation. Western facing have higher precipitation rates which spruce/fir need as well as hemlocks to thrive. It doesnt tend to matter in most areas of the Whites because of the microclimate. But some areas its definetly that way. -Mattl

03-06-2006, 06:31 PM
The main reason for this is North and West slopes get the least amount of sun and tend to be cooler and wetter becasue of this. Where East and South slopes tend to get the most sun making them warmer and dryer. South and East slopes also tend to be steeper. Your evergreen trees tend to like the cooler and moist environments where as the hardwoods tend to like the warmer dryer slopes like oaks

03-07-2006, 06:16 PM
Eastern and Southern slopes do get the most sun. Thats why the snow is always the first to melt on the eastern and southern slopes. I live on an eastern side and we have all hardwoods where as the western side is rhodies and Hemlocks. The snow is also the last to melt on West face.

03-08-2006, 05:02 AM
Excellent thread!

Snowshoe, maybe that western slope keeps snow longer because of the rhododendrons and hemlocks blocking direct sunlight. Eastern and western slopes will receive about the same amount of sunlight, but the western slopes are generally warmer microclimates because the sunlight comes in the afternoon, when it is warmer.

I seek out bare ground in the late winter and spring due to spring fever. The trails are usually the last places to melt on a mountain and I really don't like hiking on the ridge of slush, so I bushwack a lot. In my experience, the western slopes are generally more free of snow than eastern slopes.

I'll be looking from now on to see where different species dominate.

Happy Trails!

03-11-2006, 02:00 PM
How much of that had been cut by the timber companies, and represents 2nd or 3rd growth??

03-12-2006, 08:36 AM
All of the Whites are Second growth with a few places 3rd. However a few places survive with very old spectacular trees, like Nancy, Gibbs, and Wonalancet. -Mattl