Thursday, February 25, 2021

Swamp Chestnut Oak - Quercus michauxii

 The Swamp Chestnut Oak - Quercus michauxii, is a medium to large sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of only 40 feet on average but can grow as tall as 100 feet tall in it's ideal settings (well drained alluvial floodplains).  Regardless of the overall height and site location the crown remains compact.   



Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org

The leaves of this tree range in size from 4-8 inches long.  The leaf blades are leathery in textured and diamond shaped with the widest portions being located two third of the way to the tip of each leaf. Each leaf is coarsely toothed on all sides in a wavy fashion. The leaf surfaces are dark green and smooth while the bottom downy and paler in color.  The bark patterns of the Swamp Chestnut Oak vary and can be tight with shallow parallel ridges/valleys or have long peeling side strips.  The bark of the tree differs in color depending on the location, it is lighter gray in upland settings and dark gray in lowlands. The acorns of the Swamp Chestnut Oak are 1 inch long and light brown in color and sweet to the taste.


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

It is very hard to differentiate between the Swamp Chestnut Oak, Chinkapin Oak and White Oak as they share many of the same characteristics.  Swamp Chestnut Oak grows best in low lying bottomlands that periodically flood whereas the other two grow best in well drained soils.  

The lumber from the Swamp Chestnut Oak is grouped with other White Oaks during lumber production.  It can be used in almost any application from tools to furniture to baskets.  The lumber has a very nice appearance and can be left natural in many applications.

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Quaking Aspen - Populus tremuloides

 The Quaking Aspen - Populus tremuloides - is also called the Trembling Aspen, Golden Aspen or Mountain Aspen. With the smallest of breezes the leaves will flutter hence it's name. When fluttering the leaves even making an audible sound which would explain why the Onondagas called it the "nut-kie-e" which means noisy leaf. This tree has a very remarkable native range covering a majority of the Northern portion of the continent, ranging from New Foundland South to Delaware in the East and along the Coast of Alaska and British Columbia running South through the Rocky Mountains. Although it is not found in the South it does have one of the widest distributions of any tree in North America. It can be grown throughout hardiness zones 1-7. It is often times one of the first trees to appear after a Forest Fire. It is a fast grower often gaining 24 inches in a single season. Aspen wood Is used to make a variety of items such as wooden toys, tongue depressors, popsicle sticks, clothes pins, crates and even for paper pulp.





Image Citation (Stand): Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service (retired), Bugwood.org

The leaves are rounded triangles with small teeth along the margins. The leaves are a glossy green above and dull below, during the Spring they change to a vivid Yellow or very rarely Red. They are arrranged alternately on the branches. Catkins are long and silvery and appear between April and May. In the late Spring, it's tiny seeds which are enclosed in cottony tufts are dispersed by the wind. The bark is a Greenish-White to Grey in color, it is often marked with black knots or horizontal scars.



Image Citation (Stand): Steven Katovich, Bugwood.org

The Aspen is a favorited food and shelter source for many different type of wildlife. The leaves and bark are eaten by Deer, Elk and Hare/Rabbits. The Buds are an important food source for Grouse during Winter. Beavers not only feed from the Aspen, they also use it's lumber as a building material. Many different birds and butterflies make their homes in these stands.
 

The Aspen holds the the title of largest living organisms on Earth, growing in clones/stand that reproduce primarily by sending up sprouts from their roots. For the most part each clone within a stand is connected to the next one through it's root system. One clone/stand in Utah (where it is the State tree) has been determined to have over 47,000 stems, this stand is estimated to weigh over 6,000 tons! While individually each stem lives 100-150 years, Aspen stands are one of the longest living organisms. One clone in Minnesota is estimated to be 8,000 years old, making it one of the longest living organism on Earth.

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Friday, February 19, 2021

Tamarind - Tamarindus indica

 The Tamarind - Tamarindus indica, is most easily identified by the combination of pinnate leaves, blackened trunk areas, zig zag limbs and variable sized and colored fruit.  The Tamarind is primarily an evergreen or semi deciduous tree that can reach heights of 65-100 feet or more.  The diameter in the United States tends to only reach 5 feet while in it's native range it has been reported as large in diameter as 25 feet.  It was introduced originally from tropical portions of Africa and India and has escaped cultivation and has established itself in Southern Florida.  


Image Citation: Chua Cheng Hong, Bugwood.org

The leaf of the Tamarind is alternate, pinnate and 7.5-15 cm long.  The leaflets are in 10-20 pairs even in numbers, oblong and oblique at the base and squared at the apex.  The upper leaf surface is dark green or yellow green in color.  The flowers are bisexual about 2.5 cm in diameter, 4 sepals, 3 petals yellow in color with pinkish streaks and crinkled margins appearing in Spring to early Summer.  


Image Citation: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

A similar species the Wild Tamarind - Lysiloma latisiliquum, also has zig zag twigs and is similar in stature, however it's bark is a paler white-gray in color and it's plat, twisted pods do not vary in size. 

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Swamp Chestnut Oak - Quercus michauxii

 The Swamp Chestnut Oak - Quercus michauxii, is a medium to large sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of only 40 feet on average but can grow as tall as 100 feet tall in it's ideal settings (well drained alluvial floodplains).  Regardless of the overall height and site location the crown remains compact.   



Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org

The leaves of this tree range in size from 4-8 inches long.  The leaf blades are leathery in textured and diamond shaped with the widest portions being located two third of the way to the tip of each leaf. Each leaf is coarsely toothed on all sides in a wavy fashion. The leaf surfaces are dark green and smooth while the bottom downy and paler in color.  The bark patterns of the Swamp Chestnut Oak vary and can be tight with shallow parallel ridges/valleys or have long peeling side strips.  The bark of the tree differs in color depending on the location, it is lighter gray in upland settings and dark gray in lowlands. The acorns of the Swamp Chestnut Oak are 1 inch long and light brown in color and sweet to the taste.


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

It is very hard to differentiate between the Swamp Chestnut Oak, Chinkapin Oak and White Oak as they share many of the same characteristics.  Swamp Chestnut Oak grows best in low lying bottomlands that periodically flood whereas the other two grow best in well drained soils.  

The lumber from the Swamp Chestnut Oak is grouped with other White Oaks during lumber production.  It can be used in almost any application from tools to furniture to baskets.  The lumber has a very nice appearance and can be left natural in many applications.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Overcup Oak - Quercus lyrata

 The Overcup Oak - Quercus lyrata, (also called Swamp Post Oak, Swamp White Oak, or Water White Oak) is a medium sized southern deciduous tree that does not generally reach heights of more then 60-90 on average.  It grows in an erect form with a single trunk that is usually short in comparison to other Oaks.  The tree generally has a symmetric form with slender, most times with dropping branches, crown of open grown trees are often have lateral branches that spread perpendicular to the trunk.  



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

The name Overcup Oak comes from the fact that the "cup" of each acorn almost completely covers each nut.  The lumber from the Overcup Oak has little commercial value, primarily because of it's spiral grain, frequent knots and tendency to crack or split open during the drying process.   The leaves are alternate, 6-8 inches long and 1-4 inches wide with deep sinuses and 5-9 rounded lobes.  The leaf base usually tapers from a thin point to the widest lobes that occur around the midway point of each leaf.  


Image Citation: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Most commonly found growing in flooded low land areas, river bottoms or swamps.  It grows best on wetter sites around the Coastal or Gulf Plains from Delaware in the North south from Florida to Eastern Texas and up the Mississippi River bottoms through Southeastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, Southwestern Indiana or Western Kentucky.  



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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

White Ash - Fraxinus americana

 The White Ash - Fraxinus americana, is best identified by it's opposite compound leaves with 5-9 leaflets that are whitish on the undersides. It is a large deciduous tree that reaches heights of 40 - 90 feet tall, it grows in a erect fashion with a single trunk. It is native to upland woods, floodplains, dry hills, hammocks, and cove forests. It's range is widespread along the East coast, from Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec in the North, West through Eastern Nebraska and Eastern Texas.





Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org


The bark is scaly, grayish, narrowly ridged and furrowed with furrows forming diamond patterns towards the base. The leaves are opposite, pinnately compound, 5-9 ovate leaflets with bluntly toothed margins. The upper leaf surfaces are dark green while the lowers are whitish, hairy when immature. Fall leaf color ranges from red to maroon to yellow. The fruit is a narrowly elliptic or linear samara that ranges from 2.5-3.2 cm long that matures in late summer to early fall each year.




Image Citation (Image 2 :Spring Foliage & Image 3:Fall Foliage): Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

There are three other variations of White Ash that were originally grouped together as one species. They are now identified as individual species the Texas Ash - Fraxinus albicans Buckley, Biltmore Ash - Fraxinus biltmoreana Beadle, and Fraxinus smallii. The ranges of these smaller species are much smaller and overlap the native range of the White Ash but not one another.

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Monday, February 15, 2021

Norway Spruce - Picea abies

 The Norway Spruce - Picea abies is a small to mid sized evergreen that reaches heights of less then 80 feet tall. The large downward hanging cones and drooping branches make this tree easy to identify. Main branches of the Norway Spruce curve upwards like outstretched arms with secondary branches hanging down like a leather fringe. Native to Europe the Norway Spruce has been planted extensively since colonial times and is considered naturalized throughout the Eastern United States. 



 




Image Citations (1 Summer & 2 Snow Covered): Robert Vid├ęki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org

The bark of the Norway Spruce is is red-brown to ash gray, cracked in scaly plates that occasionally peel in thin curls. The leaves are in the form of needles from 1/2 to 1 inch long, four sided, sharply pointed, dull green in color and lustrous. Each needle grows from a short stem with a peg like base. The seeds are winged, borne in cones varying in size from 4-6 inches long. Even after releasing the seeds, cones often remain hanging on the tree for a long time.



Image Citation: Norbert Frank, University of West Hungary, Bugwood.org

Norway Spruce is recommended for hardiness zones 3-7 and is a relatively fast grower gaining 12-24 inches annually. This tree prefers full sun and should be planted in a location that allows 6-8 hours of full unfiltered light per day. The Norway spruce grows well in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and/or clay soil types. Norway Spruce support a wide variety of wildlife, they provide winter cover for deer and small game including grouse, hare and woodcock. Song birds, fur bearers, Hawks and Owls also frequent these types of tree for cover, and roosting habitat.  It is widely planted as an ornamental, specimen or Christmas tree.

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