Monday, July 24, 2017

The "Black Oak" - Quercus velutina

The "Black Oak" - Quercus velutina - is also known as the Eastern Black Oak. It was sometime/ formerly called the Yellow Oak, because of the yellow pigment in it's inner bark. It is native to the Eastern and Central United States and is found in every East Coast state from Southern Maine to the Northern panhandle of Florida. It is found as far inland as Ontario, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and even Eastern Texas. It is similar in appearance and often confused with the Northern Red Oak, Scarlet Oak and Southern Red Oak. Black Oak is known to hybridize with other members of the Red Oak group, and is a known parent in at least a dozen different named hybrids found today.


The leaves are simple, alternate, ovate and 4-10 inches long with 5-7 bristle tipped lobes on each one. They are a shiny green in color on the top during the growing season which shifts to a Yellow-Copper color in the Fall.
The Black Oak is monecious, the male flowers are borne on slender yellow to green catkins, while the females are reddish green and borne on short spikes in leaf axils that appear in spring with the leaves.

Image Citation (Acorn): David Stephens, Bugwood.org

The fruit, in the form of acorns that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, 1/3 to 1/2 of the Acorn is enclosed in a bowl-shaped cap. The cap scales on each Acorn are light brown and fuzzy. The Acorns mature every two years and appear in late summer into early fall. These Acorns are eaten by Wild Turkey, Whitetail Deer, Grouse and other small woodland mammals.
The bark is gray and smooth when young, becoming thick, very rough, almost black in sections and deeply furrowed. The inner bark is yellow-orange and very bitter tasting.

Image Citation (Trunk): Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org

The Black Oak is not very common in the nursery trade because it can be difficult to transplant. When full grown the Black Oak can reach heights of 135 feet in ideal locations, however the average height is only 60-80 feet tall in most areas. The current Co-National Champion trees are found in Michigan (131 feet) and Connecticut (84 feet). Black Oaks have very prominent tap roots that ensures this species' survival under even poor growth conditions. It is recommended for hardiness zones 6-9. The Black Oak can be harmed by quite a few outside agents including Gypsy Moths, Oak Leaf Caterpillar, Oak Wilt, and Shoestring Root Rot to name a few.

Meet more trees on our Website: www.ArundelTreeService.com or our Blog: www.MeetATree.com

Friday, July 21, 2017

The White Mulberry - Morus alba

The White Mulberry - Morus alba - is a small to medium size tree native to China.  It is recorded to have been widely cultivated in China for over four thousand years to provide feedstock for silkworms. It has been cultivated for Silkworm raising and fruit so much so, that it is hard to determine where the orignal natural range lines begin/end.  It's leaves are also used as feedstock for livestock in areas where the climate does not allow for adequate ground covers.  It has been naturalized throughout most of the warmer temperate regions of the world including North America, India, and Southern Europe.  In some areas of the United States it is included on the invasive species list as it's ability to hybridize with the native Red Mulberry causes concern for the future of the Red Mulberry species.  If not properly managed this plant has a habit of becoming weedy and invasive, even displacing more desirable vegetation. It is found in hardiness zones 4-9 in North America.  

Image Citation: Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Mulberry fruits are unique because each apparent fruit is actually made up of a cluster of fruits and the fleshy swollen part is the swollen calyx. The fruit is 1–2 1/2 cm long on average.  When found growing wild the fruit is a deep purple, but in many cultivated plants it varies from white to pink. The flavor is sweet but bland, unlike the more intense flavor of the red and black mulberry fruit. The fruit is enjoyed by many wild birds, hogs and poultry.  Seeds are often spread by birds consuming the fruit.  The flowers are single-sex catkins, male and female flowers are usually on separate trees although they may occur on the same tree but usually not connected to one another. The pollen of the White Mulberry has an extremely rapid release, moving at twice the speed of sound.

Image Citation: John Cardina, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

When young the leaves on the White Mulberry can reach up to 12 inches long, while a more mature tree may only have leaves that are 2-6 inches long.  The leaves are very interestingly shaped and can have as many as five diffrent shaped leaves on one tree.  The leaf shapes vary from a simple ovate to a more intricately lobed version.  During the growing season they are a bright green color changing to a pale to bright yellow in the fall.  In very warm climates the tree may act as an evergreen retaining it's leaves year round.  At maturity the White Mulberry reaches an average height of 30-65 feet.

Image Citation: Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The White Mulberry is said to have some medicinal qualities and has been used throughout history for various ailments.  When taken internally the leaves are said to treat sore throats, eye infections, nose bleeds and the common cold.  The stems have been used in the treatment of rheumatic conditions, high blood pressure and spasms.  The fruit when eaten is said to to help ease dizziness, diabetes and constipation.  The root bark has been used in Asian cultures as a traditional medicine and antibacterial combatant against the micro-organisms that cause food poisoning.



Meet More Trees on our Website:   www.ArundelTreeService.com  or our Blog:  www.MeetATree.com

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The West Indian Mahogany - Swietenia mahagoni

The West Indian Mahogany - Swietenia mahagoni, is best recognized by the fissured brown bark, leaves with curved leaflets and large fruit capsule.  It is a evergreen or semi deciduous tree that reaches heights of 50-85 feet and grows in an erect fashion with a broad crown.  It is native to subtropical hammocks, commonly grown in private gardens, along roadsides and in highway medians in South Florida.  The Swietenia is a small genus of only 3 species distributed in tropical West Africa and tropical America.  


Image Citation:  By I, J.M.GargCC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2602302

The bark of the West Indian Mahogany is brownish and smooth when young, becoming reddish brown and fissured at maturity.  The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, absent of a terminal leaflet, with blades of 6-8 cms long and 4-8 leaflets (rarely as many of 20), usually recurved and asymmetric at the base.  The upper leaf surfaces are a lustrous green, while the underside is a more yellow-green or brown-green.  The flowers are uni sexual, 5-7 mm in diameter, 5 sepals, 5 petals and are orange-yellow or green-yellow in color.  Male and female flowers both appear on the the same tree, the male have long non functional pistils, the females short pistils, 10 stamens with filaments fused into a tube surrounding the pistil.  The fruit are a large egg shaped brown capsule that ranges in size from 6-13 cm long, each fruit splits into 5 parts that release numerous flat winged seeds.  Both the fruit and flowers occur/appear year round.  


Image Citation: By I, J.M.GargCC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2602298


Meet more trees on our website www.ArundelTreeService.com  or follow our blog www.MeetATree.com 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Shumard Oak / Buckley Oak - Quercus shumardii

The Shumard Oak / Buckley Oak - Quercus shumardii, is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 120 feet tall in ideal growing conditions.  It grows in an erect form with a single trunk that is sometimes fluted or buttressed near the base.  Generally the Shumard Oak is high branching with the trunk remaining branchless until the canopy.  The crown is open and spreading with ascending and broad spreading branch habit.


Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

It is most easily identified by a combination of deeply cut leaves, hairless terminal buds and a shallow acorn nut that encloses less than 1/3 of the nut.  The bark is pale gray in color, smooth when young, becoming finely ridged and deeply furrowed with age.  The twigs are gray or light brown in color, slender in form and hairless.  Terminal buds are generally egg shaped and range in size from 4-8 mm long.  The leaves are alternate, simple in form, elliptic or obvate with a wide angled flattened base.  Upper leaf surface is a pale yellow-green color, lustrous, hairless, the lower surface is similar in color to the upper.  The leaves turn brownish with small purple spots in Autumn.  The leaf blades 7-20 cm long and 6-15 cm broad.  The fruit is in the form of an acorn with a cup 7-12 mm deep, enclosing 1/3 or less of the light brown nut.  



Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

The Shumard Oak is among one of the largest Red Oaks in the Southeastern United States.  Under ideal conditions they are fast growing, tolerant of harsh and dry conditions and varying soils.  It is considered a poplar landscape tree in the South and is used frequently in medians, parking lots, roadsides and larger suburban lawns.  In natural settings it does not form pure stands but instead occurs induvidually within the forest canopy, it is often found growing along side American Elm, Winged Elm, Green Ash, White Ash, Cherrybark Oak, Southern Red Oak, Water Oak and White Oak. 


Image Citation: Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org


Meet more trees on our website www.ArundelTreeService.com or follow our blog http://arundeltreeservice.meetatree.com/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Maple Leaf Oak - Quercus acerfolia

The Maple Leaf Oak - Quercus acerfolia is a very unique member of the Oak - Quercus Species, Red Oak- Fagaceae family . The leaves are Maple like in shape and are broader then they are long, which is unusual for an Oak tree. The Maple Leaf Oak also has a very tiny growth range, made up of only a few counties in Eastern and Central Arkansas. It prefers dry slopes and ridges between 500-800 m and is deciduous in habit. As a member of the Red Oak- Fagaceae family, it also is relatively small reaching maximum heights of only 50 feet tall (which is large in comparison with many other families but not the Oaks).   


The Maple Leaf Oak earned it's name because of the unique leaf shape, they are broadly elliptic to round and shaped like a Maple leaf. The blades f the leaves are 7-14 cm long and 10-15 cm broad.  The yellowish green foliage appears in April, changing to a lovely Red in the Fall. The flowers are insignificant in size and are yellow green in color.  The fruit is an acorn (like other Oaks) 4-7 mm deep, enclosing less than 1/3 of the egg shaped nut. The grayish bark is smooth in early years, but acquires dark ridging on the trunk with maturity.  


Recommended for hardiness zones 5-8 Maple Leaf Oak is considered to be easily grown, drought tolerant and have minimal problems (though like most other Oaks it is susceptible to damage by many insects).  Maple Leaf Oak is closely related to the Shumard Oak - Quercus Shumardii and was for a long time thought to be a variant of that species, in that case it is referred to as Quercus Shumardii var. acerfolia.  Originally recorded in 1926 by Palmer, it was not until recent years that the tree was given it's own full species status because of the difference in not only the leaves but the acorn morphology.   It is ideally planted as a specimen tree or focal point in any garden residential or commercially. Due to it's rarity however, it may be hard to find on the commercial market.

Image Citations (photos 1, 2 & 3):  Missouri Botanical Gardens: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/FullImageDisplay.aspx?documentid=4307


Meet more trees on our website www.ArundelTreeService.com or follow our blog www.MeetATree.com

Monday, July 17, 2017

Red Maple - Acer rubrum

The Red Maple - Acer rubrum, is also called Scarlet Maple, Swamp Maple, Water Maple, White Maple or Soft Maple in different regions. It is one of the most abundant trees in the forests of the Eastern United States, and can be found growing from Florida in the South to Canada in the North.  Red Maple is harvested and marketed as soft Maple, it is valued on a limited basis for Maple Syrup production, but is most valued as a strong and durable urban tree.  A medium to large sized deciduous tree with the potential of reaching 60-90 feet tall in ideal conditions, The Red Maple is a fast grower with beautiful fall foliage and the ability to thrive in even poor or degraded soil conditions. 

(Canopy and bark) Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org

(Fall Color) Image Citation: Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Red Maple can pose a challenge when it comes to identification as the features and characteristics of the tree change as the tree ages.  When small the bark is thin, smooth, and light gray in color, becoming thicker and a gray-brown with age and developing flaky thick bark from the trunk up to the limbs, smooth patches generally remain high in the branches into maturity and in patches on the trunk during the transitional period.  Slender and young branch tips are often bright red in color and the forked trunks and limbs that grow from the trunk usually have sharp V shaped crotches.  The leaves are oppositeand simple in form, 2.5 - 4 inches in length and width, with wide, pointed, toothed lobes.  Generally the leaves all contain three large lobes, and occasionally two additional smaller lobes.  The leaves are Green on the upper surface with a whitish underside, and become a vabrant scarlet, yellow or orange in the fall.  The sinuses between lobes generally form sharp V shaped notches.  The flowers are unisexual and tiny red or orange in color with 4-5 sepals and petals each, generally male and female flowers occur os separate trees. only occasionally on the same tree.  The furit occurs in paired Samaras (lovingly called "helicopters" by many) 1.5-3 cm long often bright red in color, maturing or sheeding before or with leaf emergence.  

(Foliage changing in Fall) Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

(Fruit) Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org

Meet more trees on our website www.ArundelTreeService.com or follow our blog http://arundeltreeservice.meetatree.com/

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Wax Myrtle / Southern Wax Myrtle - Myrica cerifera or Morella cerifera

The Wax Myrtle / Southern Wax Myrtle - Myrica cerifera or Morella cerifera is a small evergreen shrub or small tree, that reaches heights of only 36 feet tall on average.  The Wax Myrtle most often forms in colonies from underground rhizomes.  Growing in an erect, leaning, or ascending form with multiple trucks and low branching habit that usually begins close to the ground.  The crown is dense and branches grow in upright or ascending. Native to a wide variety of habitats including bogs, fresh water banks, bracish water ponds, inlets, swamps, hammocks, swales and mixed upland woods.  Found mostly in the Southeastern coastal plains from Maryland and Delaware throughout south Florida, west through southern Arkansas and eastern Texas.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

The leaves are alterante and simple in form, aromatic when crushed, tapered at the base, blunt or rounded, margins along the entire length of the leaves and toothed at least near the tip.  The upper surface dark green, while the underside is paler in color.  The flowers male and female on separate plants, petals and sepals are absent, inflorence occur erect at the leaf axil.  The fruit is rounded whitish gray in color, in a waxy nutlike drupe, 2-4 mm in diameter, maturing between Summer and Autumn each year.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

Meet more trees and shrubs on our website www.ArundelTreeService.com or follow our blog http://arundeltreeservice.meetatree.com/