Hello everyone. I'm a newby to this site. Well as far as becoming a member. I've been reading the posts for some time now. To make a long story short. I'm from East TN and I've been in the woods ever since I could walk. Only a few years ago did I find the thrill of digging \"sang\". I knew what it was but, never went out with the soul purpose of finding it. I was on an early bear season hunt and the dogs went out of hearing so I sat down to drink some water and to my amazement I was setting in a VERY large \"sang\" patch. I dug a few roots and even ate some with my water. Ever since that day I've gone out looking for it. I don't dig much. I perfer to just find it. I like to take the berries and see just where I all can get them to grow. I was discouraged after the first year when nothing came up in the areas I planted the seeds. I didn't know that they layed dormant for 18 months before \"taking off\". I am still learning and will dig more of \"my\" planted seeds one day. There is some fierce competition for it where I live and because of that I \"top\" all small \"sang\" or any without berries or have dropped their berries. I know some people find this repulsive but, I don't mind. I learned that not everyone will leave the small \"fellers\" when they find a patch. It's not always people poachers that whipe out a patch. Sometimes it's a group of hogs that root a beautiful patch to the group. That is also discouraging but, nothing you can do about it. Anyways, thanks for having me.
I live in Middle TN - in the highland rim area south of Nashville.
When I first started hunting seng it was around 1977 (sophmore in highschool) and back in the late 70's early 80's there were several seng hunters around here. It was not all that unusual to go hunt somewhere and find plants that someone else had just harvested.
Now days it seems like most have stopped hunting seng. I guess many of the old timers either died out or quit because of health issues and most of the new timers are just not into seng hunting.
Kids now days are just into video games, music, TV and getting out and tromping thru the woods just does not appeal to most of them.
I expect in years to come the number of folks that actually get out and hunt seng will be even lower.
Some folks say that wild seng populations are deminishing, will be come extinct some day BUT I see just the opposite around here.
Every place we go and hunt we find plenty. We dig the mature plants only and plant back the berries.
A few years ago my Nephew asked me about hunting seng and I took him and trained him up and he was hooked after the first trip. Now he calls me all of the time just to talk about seng hunting, where we are going next, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be a seng hunter for life.
I also have a 8 year old son and I am doing my best to get him hooked on it as well. I take him out in the woods here close to home and help him spot ginseng. I am going to take him on a dig or two this fall - may wait until leaves are yellowing and berries are red (when it is easy to find). It will also be a bit cooler then - that is probably the ideal time to teach someone.
We are also going to buy a pound or two of stratified seed this fall and plant several patches/beds on my property here (30 acres) which already has some decent wild seng growing on it.
Anyway - since the seng hunting pressure around here is fairly low I have never pinched the top of any plants and probably will not do that. I can see if you were in a area where there were lots of diggers and especially if they were harvesting the small plants that might help a few more to survive to live another year.
That does happen quite a bit (naturally) though. Deer or other critters often eat the top of a plant before the seng hunters arrive. I also know that a ginseng root does not always send up a top - they can just skip a year at times.
On several occasions while digging a root I found another nice root right next to it that had no top at all.
I have been crusing my property here for the past several years (a time or two) just checking on the ginseng and I know exactly where most of them are growing. From year to year some \"mature plants show up\" where there were no tops showing the previous year.
They could have skipped a year on the top, or a deer or other critter may have eaten that top.
Ginseng does have that working for it to help protect from being completely wiped out of a place by a single years agressive digging.
Good Luck at helping your seng continue to thrive in that area !
Hunter good to hear from you...I am also a newbie to the board and just want to introduce myself also, I live in west tn so it looks like we have the whole state covered here...you are spot-on with the topping of your ginseng...i spent 5 hours in the woods today topping it is probably the best defense against poaching. i have done it for several years now and it does not hurt the plant in any way. I leave 1 leaf on most of mine and when i have observed that it will stay green until all the other sang starts turning and it will follow suit. if the berries are red i plant them on the spot if green i still plant them i dont care i bought and planted it to begin with so thats just the way i do it.