Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The American Hornbeam (Carpinus Caroliniana) is a small to medium sized deciuduous tree. It is a slow grower witha primarily global shape when mature. It is native to Eastern North American but can be planted anywhere within Zones 3-9. It is easily grown in moist soil in partial to full sun. At maturity it ranges in heights from 20-35 feet tall. It is quite resistant to pollution, pests and disease which makes for an ideal street tree.
Image Citation: T. Davis Snydor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
The Hornbeam is an attractively shaped, low-maintenance under story tree that is ideal for partially/shady sites. May be grown in landscapes or naturalized in woodland areas. The Hornbeam has leaves that are serrated and oval in shape, they are deep green in color during the growing season and change to yellow, orange and red in the fall. The flowers are small white and not very significant in appearance. The smooth, gray trunk and larger branches of a mature trees exhibit a distinctive muscle like fluting that has given rise to another common name of muscle wood for this tree.
Image Citation: T. Davis Snydor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
The wood of the Hornbeam was used by early American in bowl and tool making and can be polished to a horn like sheen. This wood is not commonly used as the small size of the trees does not produce enough quanitity to make it worth processing.
Readily available at most nurseries in zones 3-9, the Hornbeam makes for a lovely addition to any landscape.
The European Hornbeam is equally disease resistant but grows in more of a pyramidal shape whan mature. It is larger then the American Hornbeam overall with leaves that are shiny in appearance.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
The Virginia Pine (pinus virginiana) or Scrub Pine (as it is often called) is the most common Pine in the Mid Atlantic region, growing wild from Long Island, New York to the coast of North Carolina inland through the mountains of Alabama and Tennessee. The typical life span is only an average of 65-90 years. The average height is only 30-60 feet tall - falling into the small/medium size range. Virginia Pine is monoecious, it is wind pollinated and primarily out crossing in nature (fertilized by others), though self-fertilization is possible.
Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org
The Virginia Pine grows wildly on farmland and neglected properties, quickly popping up in our general area with ease, along ditches, wood lines and other less manicured areas. It does so well in reforesting abandoned and cut over lands that it has become a principal source of pulpwood and lumber in the southeast. It easily seeds itself in loose dirt, road banks and freshly disturbed soil. Virginia Pine seedlings are more tolerant of low soil moisture than most other Pines, though they may survive when moisture is low, their rate of growth is noticeably slower on these sites.
The Virginia pine's needles occur in pairs. They are twisted and range from 1.5 to 3" in length. They are relatively short when compared to those of other pines.The branches are stout and woody. The bark is typical for most pines. It forms plates that are reddish brown in color with shallow fissures or furrows. The bark has a coarse appearance. This tree responds well to trimming. It has also become one of the most popular choices for Christmas trees in the South.
Virginia Pine seeds are consumed by many birds and small mammals. These animals help spread the seeds by carrying them to new places. Twigs and needles are eaten by White-tailed Deer. Young Virginia Pines are good cover for animals, such as rabbits. Older wood is often softened by fungal decay providing excellent nesting sites for woodpeckers.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
The Shingle Oak - Quercus imbricaria, is a large deciduous tree in the Red Oak Family. It is very similar in appearance to the Willow Oak but with leaves that are half as long, on a stem that is three times as long. It can be found commonly along US Route 50 from just outside of Baltimore heading West through Illinois. It is common in both the lower Ohio and central Mississippi Valley's. It's natural range seems to pick up where the Willow Oak and Laurel Oaks fade out from Arkansas to New Jersey. It is not commonly found in the East with the exception of MD, PA and a small portion of western NJ.
Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
With an average height of 65-100 feet it has a very broad crown when mature. One specimen in the New York Botanical Garden reached heights of 115 ft tall and 9 feet in diameter. The bark is light brown in color and scaled in texture. The leaves grow alternately and are 4-6 inches long and 1-2 inches wide. When beginning to bloom the buds are red in color but the leaves are a glossy green during Spring-Summer seasons. In the Fall they become a deep Red above and a Silvery-Grey Red below. The Acorns grow either singularly or double and are rounded and cupped in shape, ripening in the Autumn of each second season.
Monday, July 13, 2015
The London Planetree- plantanus x acerfolia - is a hybrid of the Sycamore and the Oriental Plane. London Planetree are large deciduous trees that reach heights of 65-100 feet when mature. It is one of the most commonly planted street trees in the United States because of it's high tolerance to both polluted air and limited rooting areas. It possesses a very strong hybrid vigor and grows well in almost all locations, but is not very tolerant to extremely low temperatures. It has a fairly long life expectancy and in many cases "outgrows" it's location by lifting sidewalks and other surrounding obstacles. Thought to have been originally grown in Spain during the very early 17th century. It is recorded in both France and Spain around 1650, and in England from 1680.
The leaves are very similar in shape to the Maple with a tri-lobed appearance. They are a bright green color when young and are coated with very tiny hairs which disappear by the Summer season. In the fall the leaves slowly turn to a bright yellow color before falling off. The bark is almost identical to the Sycamore in appearance, smooth Silver Grey that sheds to show a warm brown shade underneath. The bark makes for a nice point of interest even in the winter when the leaves are all gone. The lumber is known as Lacewood and has a very unique and decorative pattern when cut, it is light in color with dark red-brown flecks throughout. The flowers are borne in one to three dense spherical florescence on a pendulous stem, with male and female flowers occurring on separate stems. The fruit matures in about 6 months, to just under a half inch in diameter, and is made up of a dense spherical cluster of achenes with numerous stiff hairs. The fruit cluster breaks up slowly over the winter to release the numerous 2–3 mm seeds, this allows for great seed disbursement.
Image Citation (Photos 1-3): Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona, Bugwood.org
One of the diseases that has known to significantly effect London Planetrees is Cankerstain. Thousands of London Planetree have died from Cankerstain in the Eastern United States since the early 1930's. Cankerstain is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fimbriata. The fungus enters the trunk or branches through weakened areas such as injuries, or saw cuts and moves inward from there. Once infected death of the entire tree usually occurs within a year or two. Diseased trees should be removed and destroyed as soon as diagnosed to prevent spread. The London Planetree is also succeptable to Lacebug, Plum Borer and Anthracnose to name a few.
London Planetrees are often pruned using a technique called pollarding. A pollarded tree has a very noticeably different appearance than an unpruned tree, it will appear much shorter with stunted, clubbed branches. Pollarding requires frequent maintenance (the process must usually be repeated annually), it creates a distinctive shape that is often sought after in plazas, parks, main streets, and other urban areas where overall size and appearance is of great concern.
London Planetree can be found at most local nurseries and is recommended 3A to 10B. It is very important to plan ahead before planting a London Planetree, take into consideration how big it will be at maturity- 65-100 feet tall in very large!
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
The Water Oak - Quercus nigra, is a Red Oak with great tendency to hybridise with not only other Red Oaks but also WIllow Oaks. It is a medium to large deciduous tree. Native from Delware to mid-Florida and through Texas, North through Arkansas and up the Mississippi Valley into Tennessee. Very few are found planted in the Western United States. It grows often wild along small streams or wetland areas where lack of water is not an issue, but can also be found in drier more arid soils as well. It is classified as a bottom-land forest cover by the Society of American Foresters. It prunes itself slowly, developing a straight, slender main trunk. Growing quickly in favorable soils, it can add 6-12 inches in a single year. At maximum height it can reach 125 feet tall.
Image Citation: Wendy VanDyk Evans, Bugwood.org
The leaves of the Water Oak vary in both size and shape on the same tree, some rounded with ends resembling spoons, some like small Blackjack Oak leaves, and others being more deeply lobed. In color they are a blue-green during the Spring and Summer, changing to a Yellow-Orange-Red in the Fall. The Acorns are round with shallow cups and mature around September of the second year. The bark is finely fissured and a pale to dark grey in color with rough plates.
Image Citation: Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org
Water Oak is monoecious, meaning the staminate flowers are found in hanging catkins and pistillate flowers are in few flowered, short stalked clusters but on the same tree. They develop shortly before or around the same time as the new leaves. Staminate flowers are produced near the tip of the previous year's growth, while pistillate flowers are produced in the junction of the current year's growth.
Monday, July 6, 2015
With it's unusual large yellow-green strangely textured fruits, the Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) tree is sure to grab attention. It is called by various alternate names such as Hedge Apple, Horse Apple, Bodock, Bois d'arc, and Monkey Ball. It is considered a medium sized deciduous tree and is native to the United States. It is believed to have originally been found in the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas region. It has been naturalized in all 48 continuous states and southern portions of Canada.
Image Citations:(Leaves and Fruit) Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
The fruit resembles the texture of a brain and can grow anywhere from 3-6 inches in diameter. The inside of the fruit contains a sticky latex substance. The fruit is not eaten by humans because of it's unusual taste and extremely hard texture. Research has not found the fruit to be harmful to humans. just nearly impossible to eat. Many animals and livestock have been found to snack on this unusual fruit, however it is not a primary food source for any one type of mammal.
The Osage Orange tree can grow 40-60 feet tall at full maturity. Despite it's name the Osage Orange is not closely related to the common Orange tree. The Osage Orange is part of the Mulberry or Moraceae family - while the common Orange comes from the Rutaceae family. The leaves are arranged alternately and are green in color during the Spring/Summer growth season. In the fall the leaves become an almost clear bright Yellow in color.
Image Citation:(Close Up Foliage) John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
The wood of the Osage Orange is heavy, close grained and dense. It was commonly used by Native American's in Bow making. Today the wood is used to create sturdy hand tools. The wood strengthens over time and withstands rot well.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Crabapples are small deciduous trees with a broad and open crown. Apples and Crabapples are in the rose family, Rosaceae, in the genus Malus. Crabapples are differentiated from Apples based on fruit size. If fruit is two inches in diameter or less, it is termed a Crabapple. If the fruit is larger than two inches, it is classified as an Apple. The height of Crabapples ranges greatly from 6- 50 feet depending on the variety and the growing conditions, however most average in the 15-25 ft range. There are currently 35 species and over 700 cultivated varieties of Crabapples recorded.
Image Citation (Crabapple in bloom-Left & Right): Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org
The fragrant flowers are white with a hint of pink or sometimes all pink. Growing in clusters of flowers that appear with the new leaves. Crabapple flowers may be single (5 petals), semi-double (6 to 10 petals) or double (more than 10 petals). Single-flowered Crabapple varieties tend to bloom earlier than semi-double or double-flowered varieties. Actual dates of blossoming can vary each year depending on weather conditions. The length of time in bloom, can range from 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the variety and weather conditions.
Image Citation (Southern Crabapple Flowers Purple and White): Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
The leaves are coarsely toothed and green in color. In the fall the leaves change in color, the colors range from yellow to orange, red to purple. The falling leaves reveal the still attached fruits offering another level of interest.
The Crabapples fruit is small, long stalked and rather sour in flavor. They are yellow-green in color an grow in clusters of 3 to 4. The fruit is rarely eaten raw as it is sour, bitter and sometimes woody in texture. However in some Asian cultures it is used and valued as a sour condiment. There are few varieties that are sweet though not as common as the sour varieties.
Image Citation (Crabapple Illustration): Zelimir Borzan, University of Zagreb, Bugwood.org
Crabapple has been listed as one of the 38 plants that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, an alternative medicine practice promoted for its effect on health. Though this has not been scientifically proven to date.
The Crabapple grows commonly in forest clearings and near streams in the Eastern United States (but not very far North). Ornamental varieties are grown throughout the United States in many Landscapes. Crabapple trees are fairly drought tolerant. They can be low maintenance and versatile landscape plants, and offer more than one season of interest between their flowers, fruit, and changing leaf colors.