Tuesday, January 26, 2016
The Arbor Day Foundation has been working for 20 years to perfect the Hazelnut and create a superior variety that not only produces delicious and nutritious nuts but also offers disease resistance and tolerance of the wide range of growth conditions the United States provides. In 1996, The Hazelnut Project began with nine acres and the planting of roughly 5200 juvenile bushes made up of 60 different hybridized Hazelnuts near the Lied Lodge at The Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska. By 2005 they had gained assistance from more then 50,000 charter patrons nationwide who had agreed to plant, observe and report progress of their own bushes. By 2012 new seedlings were propagated using a combination of the best performers from the originally distributed plants, patron grown nuts and even some plantings found in the wild. Now in 2016, there is hope that even better hybrids will continue to develop over time and the plants will be become stronger and more hardy.
Image Citation: Richard Webb, Bugwood.org
Hazelnuts are considered by many as a super food, their rich complex buttery flavor allows them to not only be eaten alone but also pair well with many other foods. They are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and Vitamin B. Studies have found that the consumption of just 1.5 ounces of Hazelnuts per day may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. They contain mainly mono-unsaturated fats which are the heart healthy and no cholesterol they are a heart healthy smack. The Hazelnut crops appear in the late summer, replacing the delicate red blossoms.
Hazelnut bushes are considered to be woody agriculture, this means that they help slow climate change by providing oxygen and offsetting the build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The plants are capable of capturing solar energy, which makes them photosynthetically efficient. They are deep, rapid rooting and can live for up to 80 years. They begin producing crops as early as 2-3 years after planting. Hazelnut shells can be used as a safe and efficient fuel alternative which can lead to a reduced demand for wood and other energy sources.
Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
How can you help? You can support The Hazelnut Project or any of Arbor Day's other programs by visiting their website and making a donation or becoming a member today. www.ArborDay.org
Friday, January 22, 2016
With what forecasters are calling a possible snow storm of the century just hours from arriving it is a little too late to take those extra steps to prevent possible storm damage to your trees and shrubs. You can however be prepared for how to handle certain situations that may arise after the storm has passed. The first thing to remember is DO NOT try to swat, beat, bang or knock heavy snow or ice off of your trees or shrubs. They may be leaning over or look like they are going to break at any moment but you interefering with Mother Natures "process" will more then likely cause more harm then good, not to mention the risk you take of injuring yourself if the tree should give way and fall on you.....or cause the snow and ice load to fall on you..... It is just not smart either way you look at it so PLEASE don't try it! In cases of small evergreens (Yews, Junipers, Hemlocks, Leylands, etc) and snow (not ice) you can gently brush snow off ot the limbs with a soft broom to help eliminate some of the weight from its branches, again please wait until after the storm has passed.
Image Citation: Amy Gilliss, Arundel Tree Service
If your trees are damaged remember, trunks, limbs and branches can in some cases be cabled or braced professionally (if the damage is not to severe). If the damage is too much for cabling or bracing to correct, damaged sections may be able to be cut back to a safe point to save the remaining tree. In cases of severe damage the entire tree may need to be removed entirely and replaced with a more sturdy option (Remember the right tree right place rule if you are replanting!). When trying to determine if a tree is worth saving you need to considered not only the extent of the damage but the extent of the possible repairs and the overall value of the tree itself. If your tree has a small amount of bark that is peeling, ripped or torn after a limb breaks off completely, do not try to cover the wound or repair it. If it is hanging and pulling on the wound causing further damage, you can cut (with clean sharp trimmers) off just the loose/hanging portion, leaving a small portion loose near the edge of the wound (not cutting tight to the wound) be very careful not to pull or peel anything further from the tree. Trees have a natural process (CODIT) by which they heal themselves. Covering wounds or interfering during the process could actually prevent this healing process from occurring.
Image Citation: Billy Humphries, Forest Resource Consultants, Inc., Bugwood.org
If your small tree or shrub begins to uproot it may be able to be uprighted and secured with stakes or guy wires. Keep in mind that if more then 1/3 of the roots are damaged you may be fighting a losing battle. Do not try to upright large trees, not with your truck, not with a come-along, and never with a ladder (yes we have seen the results of these attempts ad they are not pretty) - if the tree is too large to be lifted by natural human power then contact a professional and let them lead you in the right direction.
Image Citation: Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Some tree varieties are damaged more often during storms then others because of inherent structural weakness such as weak wood, weak roots or narrow crotch angles, these include but are not limited to Bradford, Cleveland and Aristocrat Pears, Elms, Poplars, Silver Maples and many common evergreens/conifers. With these types of trees artificial support may be recommended to help prevent crotch or branch splitting or breakage. Of course, it is always best to plan ahead before storms arrive, look up at your trees often to monitor for any changes that may be cause for concern. Remember, trees are living, growing and changing, they require care maintenance and TLC to thrive! Structural damage caused by wind and ice can usually be prevented by careful and through pruning including removing weak/diseased limbs, or limbs forming narrow crotches.
You may reach us during an emergency (24/7/365) via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office during regular business hours (410)439-1900. Stay safe if you must venture out during the storm, otherwise stay warm and enjoy the Snow Days to come!
Monday, January 18, 2016
The "Giant Sequoia" - Sequoiadendron giganteum - is most well known for it's sheer size. They are the largest single living thing on the planet, growing on average from 164-297 feet tall in ideal conditions. They are also among the oldest with some being recorded (based on ring measurements) at over 3500 years old. They grow in a very small native area on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Generally the Giant Sequoias grow in groves or natural stands, currently their are only 68 known groves that exist. Groves range in size from 6-20,000 trees each. Giant Sequoias have been successfully grown outside of their native range in The Pacific Northwest, Southern United States, Western & Southern Europe, British Columbia, Southeast Australia and New Zealand. There are some specimen trees planted in parks and private lands around the world that reach great heights (191 feet is record outside of the US near Ribeauvillé, France), but none nearly as grand as the Giants growing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Image Citation (Yosemite General): Brian Lockhart, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
The sheer size of this type of tree, has lead to extensive research regarding ability to maintain and supply water within such a large living structure. Osmotic pressure can only force water a few meters then the tree's xylem must take over, still it is not possible for these capillaries to transport water hundreds of feet in the air even accounting for the sub-pressure caused by the leaves water evaporation. Sequoias have the ability to supplement their water intake from the ground or soil by using moisture in the air, generally this comes in the form of fog which frequently blankets the native growth range .
Image Citation (Cone and Foliage): Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona, Bugwood.org
Over time, the Giant Sequoias have developed a resistance to fire damage. The first way is because their extremely thick bark is almost impenetrable to fire damage. Secondly the heat from fire causes the cones to dry and then open, disbursing seeds which will go onto become new seedlings repopulating what may have been lost below. Fire damage also wipes out any small ground cover that may have competed for sunlight and nutrients the new seedlings require to thrive. On their own without help from fires the Giant Sequoias seed have trouble germinating as shade loving species tend to choke the new seeds out.
The leaves are evergreen, awl shaped 0.12-0.24 inches in length and arranged spirally on each shoot. The bark is very furrowed, thick and fibrous. The seed cones are 1.5-2.8 inches long and mature in 18-20 months, though they usually remain closed and green for upwards of twenty years. Cones are made up of 30-50 spirally arranged scales, each scale containing several seeds. Each individual cone can produce approximately 230 seeds each. Seedlings grow from seeds but do not begin to produce cones until at least their 12th year. Once mature the tree does not produce shoots on their stumps as the Coast Redwood does, they do however sprout from boles after fire damage.
Image Citation (Bark looking Up) Caleb Slemmons, National Ecological Observatory Network, Bugwood.org
Image Citation (General Sherman): Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
The most well known Giant Sequoias in the United States are:
1. General Sherman (located in the Giant Forest, 274.9 feet tall)
2. General Grant (located in General Grant Grove, 268.1 feet tall)
3. President (located in the Giant Forest, 240.9 feet tall)
4. Lincoln (located in the Giant Forest, 255.8 feet tall)
5. Stagg (located in Alder Creek Grove, 243 feet tall)
6. Boole (located in Converse Basin, 268 feet tall)
7. Genesis (located in the Mountain Home Grove, 253 feet tall)
8. Franklin (located in the Giant Forest, 223.8 feet tall)
9. King Arthur (located in Garfield Grove, 270.3 feet tall)
10. Monroe (located in the Giant Forest, 247.8 feet tall)
The Giant Forest is home to over half of the worlds Giant Sequoia Trees. Located in Sequoia National Park, The Giant Forest should be included as a top "to do" on any tree lovers list. You can visit there website directly at: http/www.visitsequoia.com/giant-sequoia-trees.aspx
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The Panama Flame Tree or Rose of Venezuela - Brownea macrophylla, is a Native to Venezuela and Colombia in South America where it is found growing in thick forests at low elevations. It is grown in many tropical regions of the world in garden settings but is not commonly found in the wild. It grows with a very dense umbrella shaped canopy and can reach heights of 20-25 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide. When grown in containers they tend to be much smaller in size as their roots are limited by the size of the container provided. The Panama Flame Tree is a true tropical plant it requires high humidity, tropical temperatures and a completely frost free environment. Brownea is a genus of about 30 species in the family Fabaceae, all small shrubs and trees native to the tropical regions of the Americas.
Flowering does not begin until the 3rd or 4th years of growth (from seed). When it does bloom it is brief lasting only a few days, but it is very memorable. The flowers are Red-Orange in the center with spiky yellow-orange petals radiating out making the flower appear almost urchin like in shape. The flowers occur at the base mature branches or the base of the tree (depending on maturity/size of tree).
The leaves are linear in shape and bright green when mature. When young the leaves can be such a light green that they appear almost white, occasionally they are even variegated in color. The leaves grow a drooping fashion and are sometimes compared to a hanging handkerchief. The fruits are woody legumes, flat and about 20 cm long and 4 cm wide, they are brown in color and contain few seeds. The heartwood is used in furntiture construction and is almost black in color.
This tropical plant is not available for purchase at nurseries in the most of the US, even for use as a house plant. Some online nurseries have the tree listed for sale as a house plant but remember before you buy, The Panama Flame is a true tropical and requires high humidity, warm temperatures and zero chance of frost. Even the sunniest window in most US homes would not provide the proper growth environment. I have a very green thumb and this one I would not even try to grow here in the Mid-Atlantic, despite it's beauty!
Here is one nursery called Top Tropicals, they have quite the selection of tropicals https://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/brownea_macrophylla.htm , I have not purchased from them so I am unsure of their pricing.
Image Citations: Top Tropicals (Rare Tropical Plants) - www.toptropicals.com
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
The "Green or Red Ash" - (Fraxinus Pennsylvannica) is a medium to large, deciduous tree that is native to Eastern/Central North America. This range begins in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Western Colorado in the North and continues through Texas in the Southwest and Nothern Florida in the Southeast. It has slowly becoming naturalized in many parts of the Western United States and Central Europe. It grows in a Oval or Upright form.
Ash varieties are known to frequently cross or hybridize with one another sometimes causing much confusion with experts trying to positively identify a species. Botanists have recorded that Red and Green Ash were in fact two different species at one time but have completely hybridized to no longer have any unique or differentiating features. The Green/Red Ash are the most widely distributed of all of the American Ashes. Fraxinus Pennsylvannica is a member of the Oleaceae family which also includes Olive, Lilac, Jasmine and Forsythia - all of which are woody trees or shrubs.
When young the bark is smooth and gray, becoming thick and fissured with age. The pinnately compound leaves contain leaflets which range in number from five to eleven, but usually contain seven to nine. The underside of the leaves are hairy, which is a feature that is unique to only this species of Ash. Each leaflet ranges in size from 2-8 inches long and 1/2 - 3 inches wide. The leaves are green in color both above and below, changing to a golden yellow in the fall. Fall coloring usually begins to occur beginning in early September depending on the hardiness zone and weather patterns. Flowers appear in the Spring usually around the same time as the leaves, they occur in very compact panicles. The flowers are small and inconspicuous with no visable petals and are wind pollinated. The fruit or samara is 1-3 inches long, each contains a single seed with an attached elongated apical wing. Winter buds are velvety in texture and red-brown in color. Large annual seed crops provide a good food source for wildlife and birds such as Cardinals, Finches, and Wood Ducks.
Image Citation: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Green/Red Ash numbers have been greatly impacted by the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. The Emerald Ash Borer is a small beetle that was introduced accidentally from Asia, these varieties of Ash trees have zero resistance to this pest which has led to devastating results. Prior to the introduction of Emerald Ash Borer, Green/ Red Ash were used extensively as an ornamental or street to replace many American Elms (which were almost completely lost between 1950-1960 from Dutch Elm Disease) this high volume of plantings actually facilitated the spread of the borer as they had plenty of trees to feed on and infest. Many cities have learned from the high volume of loss, not just the Elms but the Ash as well, most now replant lost or damaged trees with a variety of species to prevent such widespread damage/loss should another disease or insect pose a future risk.
Monday, January 4, 2016
The Washington Hawthorn - Crataegus phaenopyrum - is a small tree that grows in a widening pyramidal shape. When young the tree grow rapidly however this growth rate significantly slows with age. The average height of the Washington Hawthorn is 20-35 feet with a spread of 20-25 feet. This deciduous tree has an almost symmetrical natural pyramidal shape and a moderately dense crown.
The flowers are small and very abundant, they appear in the late Spring and are closely followed by very showy orange to red fruit that remain well into winter. The fruit (berries) are enjoyed by a variety of songbirds and are an important food source. The fruit are round, fleshy in texture and small in size, not usually reaching more then a half of an inch in size. The leaves are green during the spring and summer seasons, changing to a very striking Orange to Red. The leaves are arranged alternately and are a simple ovate shape. The leaf length ranges from 2- 4 inches, each leaf is serrated and lobed.
Image Citation: Dow Gardens , Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org
The Washington Hawthorn requires full sun exposure and pruning to maintain a strong structure. The tree is tolerant of a variety of soils, some drought conditions and some salt exposure. It is resistant to verticillium wilt but very sensitive to various pests, blights, and diseases- as are most Hawthorns. When properly pruned/maintained it is a very useful street tree where there is not heavy foot traffic. The thorns are about three inches long and can be painful if contacted by bear skin. When left unpruned the branches will droop down to the ground creating almost a screen effect, this could make for a lovely specimen tree. Older weakened trees and branches are susceptible to splitting during ice storms.