In the summer of 2016, The Hideout partnered with Green Leaf Consulting Services, LLC to conduct an assessment of our forest ecosystem. Much of the information you will read on this website stems from the valuable data and information collected by their organization during their assessment. An update to the initial 2016 forest assessment is slated to occur by Green Leaf Consulting Services, LLC in Summer 2020.

Here at The Hideout, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, White Ash, Black Cherry, and Beech Tree’s dominate the majority of our forest overstory. Furthermore, 70% of our total forest stands consist specifically of Red Maple, Sugar Maple, and White Ash. Less than 2% of our total forest stand consists of Red Oak, White Pine, Hickory, and Aspen. A mixture of other tree species such as Hemlock, Basswood, and Sweet Birch comprise the remaining percentage. The following chart helps to provide a visual breakdown of the various species inhabiting our community’s footprint:

Graph courtesy of Green Leaf Consulting Services, LLC. (2016).

When looking at what comprises a forest, it is important to do so not only from an overstory viewpoint but also from an understory level. Browsing pressure from White-Tailed Deer is a contributing factor that has had a negative impact on our communities forest undergrowth, making it largely devoid of native trees and shrubs.

As such, we are seeing invasive plants taking their place such as Multiflora Rose and Japanese Barberry to name a few. Unfortunately, some of these invasive plants have been intentionally planted as ornamentals on various homeowners’ properties. It is recommended that if your property has either of these plants, that they be removed, properly disposed of, and swapped out with a native species of plant.

The most common native understory tree we are seeing throughout The Hideout is that of beech brush saplings. Deer love to target the young tender leaves of young saplings, so with a large deer herd, it is inevitable that forest regeneration will likely not occur. This is one of the many reasons why The Hideout actively manages its deer population in partnership with the PA Game Commission and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services with the overall goal to bring The Hideout’s deer herd down to a manageable level which promotes forest regeneration.

One of the main reasons why our understory is not as ideal as possible stems from a number of factors. As mentioned, deer browse plays a large role in eliminating desirable seedlings, saplings, and native herbaceous flora.

Overstory shade and sunlight competition from mature stands of tree’s also plays a role in seedlings developing to a mature level or not.

In visiting some of the amenity areas, one is likely to encounter a plethora of native herbaceous herbs such as Jack-in-the-pulpit, white wood aster, Canada Mayflower, Mayapple, Partridgeberry, Jewelweed, Goldenrod, and Aster. Ferns are also very well developed throughout the community with species such as Marginal Wood Fern, Lady Fern, Christmas Fern, Interrupted Fern, and sensitive fern growing in/near wetlands and other open areas. Some ferns are invasive, such as Hay-Scented Fern, which can have a large negative impact on seedling establishment within the forest understory as it tends to form dense, thick mats.

Hay-Scented Fern on Hideout Property. Image courtesy of Green Leaf Consulting Services, LLC. (2016).
As for other understory species bordering lowland areas and forest openings, it is also common to see Pennsylvania Sedge, Tussock Sedge, Wool Grass, as well as various Rush, Sedge, and grass species.

Exotic invasive species are often encountered within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Here at The Hideout, other than the aforementioned Multiflora Rose and Japanese Barberry, we can expect to also see Japanese Stiltgrass, Oriental Bittersweet and Garlic Mustard.

The Hideout's Wildlife and Forestry Committee is working on implementing measures to appropriately address native and non-native invasive plant species within the community and have been hosting educational forums on what homeowners can do to address invasive plants on their property.  

Garlic Mustard. Image courtesy of Photo credit: Pam Henderson
Multiflora Rose. Image courtesy of

Japanese Barberry. Image courtesy of
Many homeowners and visitors alike often look at a forest and appreciate what they are seeing, and one of our goals at The Hideout is to promote environmental stewardship and education.

Some of the many benefits of having a healthy forest is that of aesthetics. Woodlots and green spaces provide great stress relief from busy lives where it’s easy to forget what surrounds us. These forest stands and green spaces, along with the wooded atmosphere prevalent in this part of the Commonwealth, are key characteristics on what draws folks to live in and be associated with our entity, the Association of Property Owners of The Hideout, Inc.

When looking at real estate values, natural forests and landscapes can have as much as 20% of a property or lots value. The amount of tree’s surrounding your lot can also have a significant impact on your heating and cooling costs throughout the year, so removal of tree’s is regulated by the Environmental Department here on the property.

Are you curious to know how many benefits one particular tree next to your home can provide to you over the course of a year? Be sure to visit the following link for a quick and detailed report on how much one tree can enhance your property and livelihood:

Aside from aesthetics and property values, a healthy forest also plays a key role in the air that we breath. Tree’s are constantly capturing and releasing CO2 throughout their growth and development with mature stands of timber processing the highest levels of carbon. Dead and decaying tree’s that comprise much of our forest floor also help to release some CO2 as they undergo the process of decomposition.

It’s readily apparent that when many of our guests and homeowners spend time in a local city setting and then visit The Hideout, they notice a drastic difference in the quality of the air they get by being in such a forested landscape.

Many homeowners feel the need to clear their lot and forest floor of leaves and other decaying plant matter. This process unfortunately removes vital nutrients for surrounding trees and also the soil they depend upon, often resulting in weakened trees and undesirable soil conditions. Leaf matter breaks down over time with the natural help of mycelium, restoring micro and macro nutrients into the soil column. If you want to do the right thing for the forest, try to keep the clearing of leaves concentrated on driveways and walkways, not the forest floor.

The following map helps to provide reference as to the many green spaces, fields, and forested areas within our community.