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Northeastern Old Field-2007 Aerial Imagery

Picture of Northeastern Old Field

                   Northeastern Old Field in St. Jones River Watershed of Delaware

Description of Northeastern Old Field

Northeastern Old Field is similar to agricultural field discussed previously but it does not provide growing area for a crop.  Northeastern Old Field and cultivated lawn are also similar.  However, cultivated lawn receives mowing more than one time per year.  Northeastern Old Field receives mowing once or less per year.  The Delaware Statewide Vegetation Community/Land Cover Map includes pastures in this community.

Typical species include a variety of grasses such as red fescue (Festuca rubra), sweet vernal grass (Anthozanthum odoratum), rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis), common velvet grass (Holcus lanatus) and meadow timothy (Phleum pratense).  Red clover (Trifolium pratense) and Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) may also round out the mixture.  Northeastern Old Field has a code of CEGL006107 in the United States National Vegetation Classification System.


Similar communities to Northeastern Old Field

When looking at imagery, Northeastern Old Field can look like several communities.  Below is a list of those communities and how to separate them.

  • Cultivated Lawn:  The bright red color and smooth look separates cultivated lawn.
  • Agricultural Field:  The presence of “stripes” serves to separate agricultural field.
  • Little Bluestem Old Field:  This community is the hardest to separate.  Generally Little Bluestem Old Field associated only with Chester Loam soil in Delaware.
  • Upland Switchgrass Vegetation:  Switchgrass produces a white look in imagery, which separates it from other fields.
  • Northeastern Successional Shrubland:  Separation based on age and vegetation height.  Most fields if not mowed or disturbed in some way will mature into Northeastern Successional Shrubland.  Generally if the area looks as though it contains mature woody shrubs it is Northeastern Successional Shrubland. In some cases this distinction can be hard to make and comes with experience.

Northeastern Old Field in 2007 Aerial Imagery

Northeastern Old Field sometimes appears as a hybrid of agricultural field and cultivated lawn.  Older examples may have a scurfy look owing to the height of the vegetation.  Below are some examples of old field imagery with various histories or uses.

Old Agricultural Field

The image below shows a very recently abandoned agricultural field.  Some of the crop lines are still apparent.

Picture of Northeastern Old Field in the Nanticoke River Watershed

                           Northeastern Old Field from Nanticoke River Watershed


This image below shows a field in pastural use.  Notice the red color that is similar to the cultivated lawn (near the house) and agricultural field.  Old fields can share a lot of the same species with cultivated lawn, but not the mowing.  Also note the lack of crop lines.  If you look closely you can see the cows grazing in the field, a sure sign that this is a pasture.

Picture of a Pasture in the Nanticoke River watershed

                                        Pasture in the Nanticoke River Watershed

Older Field

This image below shows a field that is older and has a scurfy look because of higher vegetation.  These fields can mature into a number of communities, including Northeastern Successional Shrubland, Successional Sweetgum Forest, Successional Tuliptree Forest or some cases with younger fields they may go straight to Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest.  The area towards the left already has a few shrubs in it (spots in red).  In the northern part of Delaware these fields are often developed not soon after becoming a field.

Picture of an older field in the Appoquinimink River watershed.

                         Older field in the Appoquinimink River Watershed

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