Me and a few close friends are fixing to graduate highschool this spring and we decided it would be nice to have a little more money for the upcoming year. One of my friends decided that we should hunt ginseng for money. Well being the avid outdoors type that we are and have been all our lives jumped, jumped at the idea. How hard could it be right? I mean we know the hills and hollers pretty good. Wrong! lol... we may know the hills and hollars pretty good but it is a little bit more difficult to find than we originally thought. If there're any tips yall could share, especially if your from north georgia, about how to spot it this time of year and where to look and such. We would greatly appreciate any and all help.
If your in the north Georgia mountains there should be plenty of places to find seng, just some of my personal preferences is stay away from hollers with a lot of laurel, normally its on north and east facing slopes, but not always, I like hollers with poplar trees, I've always had luck with areas where there is grapevines as well as stingingweed if its not to wet, and always look good around logs on the ground, hope this helps.
Here in Middle TN we had a extreme hot and dry July/August this year and our ginseng was 90-95% gone by Sept 2.
I looked this past weekend and found none at all.
If you are in the Mountains of GA and you have had some decent rain this summer might be a different story there. But since you are south of me, I wonder if you suffered the same hot dry spell that we did here.
If not then good luck to you finding some.
Focus on hillsides that face north to north east.
If you have hillsides that face north to north east and lots of rock near the surface, rock outcropings, bluffs, etc - could be good.
Ginseng does best in soil that is high in calcium, so near rock outcroppings, around the bottom of bluffs, etc are usually good.
Look for the Maidenhair fern - the best indicator/companion plant in my opinion. Where we find that fern here, there is usually ginseng nearby.
I am including a pic of some MHF below. If you look just above the MHF there is a couple nice big seng plants there.
As another mentioned, poplar and maple trees are good for ginseng location.
Around here we usually find ginseng from the bottom of the hollow up to about 1/3 of the way on the hill (most of it), but then on hillsides that face more due north, it will be up higher on the hill a lot of the time.
When you do find one low on the hill, or at the bottom of the hollow, always look up the hill from it. It tends to grow up/down the hill and often the larger plants will be just a bit higher on the hill.
Lastly - practice good stewardship.
Only dig mature plants - 3 prongs or 4 prongs - always plant the berries back (1/2 to 3/4 inch deep).
Leave the small 3 prongs and everything smaller for digging in future years.
Below is a link to my youtube channel - lots of ginseng hunting video's there and some on planting wild-simulated too.
thanks so much for the info guys. all the info helps a bunch!. we definately had a hot dry spell but we got a lot of rain in the middle of august so I don't know if that makes a difference or not. I know ginseng prefers 70% or more shade so I got on google earth and used the sunlight option to cast sunlight the way the sun would at roughly 2PM and i found that most of the spots with shade still were on west to northwest slopes... what do yall think about that? also i have read that ramps are a very good companion plant for ginseng... exactly how often do you find ramps in close proximity to ginseng?