Friday, November 30, 2018

Chalk Maple - Acer leucoderme

The Chalk Maple - Acer leucoderme, is most easily distinguished by it's small size and relatively small squarish-lobed leaves that are green beneath.  It is a deciduous small tree or large shrub that reaches heights of only 40 feet tall on average.   It grows in an erect form generally with a single upright trunk, occasionally a multiple trunk but always with an open spreading crown.  It is native to well drained upland woods, stream terraces, calcereous woodlands from 10-300 m, generally restricted to the Piedmont and sparingly in the coastal plains of North Carolina and Virginia on South through Florida, west to eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma.  It is very similar to the Southern Sugar Maple and overlaps in range.



Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The bark is smooth gray in color, the twigs are red-brown in color, lustrous, smooth and hairless.  The leaves are opposite, simple, thin and as broad as they are long.  The upper leaf surface is a lustrous yellow-green, the lower is a more even green.  The leaves turn a beautiful Salmon, Orange, Yellow or Purple-Red color in the fall.  The Yellow-Green flower is tiny in size with 5 sepals occurring in Mid-Spring.  The fruit occurs in paired samaras 2.5-3 cm long, widely angled from the point of attachment.  



Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Eastern Hemlock - Tsuga Canadensis

The Eastern Hemlock - Tsuga Canadensis is a very unique evergreen/conifer, this is because it's terminal leader often droops instead of giving the tree a typical pointed top like most in the Pine family. It's natural range begins to the North in Nova Scotia and continues South through Wisconsin and Minnesota, throughout the Alleghany Mountains and South through Georgia and Alabama. It is native to every state along the East Coast with the exception of only Florida in the far South. It is very common in the Mountains of Pennsylvania and Ohio, it is the only Hemlock variety that is native to Ohio. It's hardiness zone is 4-7. In the Southern range it is found only where there is moist air, rocky ridges, valleys, ravines lakeshores and hillsides. In the Northern range it is found in a wider variety of locations including on low rolling hills and even glacial ridges. It most commonly grows in mixed stand settings along with White Pine, Red Oak, Sugar Maple, American Beech, White Ash, and Yellow Birch.

Image Citation: Paul Bolstad, University of Minnesota, Bugwood.org

In Eastern North America the Eastern & Carolina Hemlocks are greatly threatened by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Trees infested with Hemlock Woolly Adelgid can be easily identified by visable egg sacs, which resemble small tufts of cotton clinging to the underside of hemlock branches. Once infested trees generally become a grayish-green instead of there rich healthy green color. This pest feeds on the phloem sap of tender hemlock shoots, and may also inject a toxin while feeding. The resulting desiccation causes the tree to lose needles and not produce new growth. In the northern portion of the Hemlock's range, death typically occurs four to ten years after the initial infestation. Trees that survive the direct effects of the infection are usually weakened and may die from secondary causes. This pest has been identified as active in 11 states within the Hemlocks growth range causing major concern for the future of these majestic trees.

Image Citation: USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station , USDA Forest Service, SRS, Bugwood.org

The Eastern Hemlock does not begin to produce cones until about the age of 15. The brown cones are relatively small only 1/2-1 inch in length and usually not more then a 1/2 inch wide. Once the cones begin production they come in high volume and for many many years, some specimen have been found producing cones even at 450+ years old. Seed viability is generally low, even though there are a large number of cones produced. The Hemlocks seed is easily damaged by drying. They regenerate best on exposed decomposing layers under 70-80% crown cover, in rotten logs or stumps or mounds where the temperature is warmest among the forest floor.

Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

The Eastern Hemlock grows in an upright primarily conical fashion with long branches that often droop at the ends. At full maturity they can average 100 feet tall but have been found growing as tall as 170+ feet. The bark is brown, scaly and fissured . The bark was once used commonly as a source of tannin or the leather industry. The needles are evergreen and flat, usually 5-25 mm long and set on each branch with peg like projection.

Image Citation: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry , Bugwood.org

The wood is not of a high enough quality furniture making. It is used for light framing material, boxes, crates and even pulping. It is not considered an important timber tree in today's market. Commercial stands have been greatly reduced by prior harvesting and lack of replanting.

The Eastern Hemlock can be used as a specimen tree, planted in groups for screening, or even trained/sheared over time into formal evergreen hedgerows. It is tolerant of full shade and has a natural open growth habit.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora

The Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora - is a medium sized evergreen tree.  It is also called the Bull Bay, Big Laurel, Evergreen Magnolia or Large Flower Magnolia.  The native range of the Southern Magnolia goes from North Carolina south down the Atlantic Coast and through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Central Texas.  Averaging 60-80 feet tall in ideal locations, they usually reach maturity at 80-120 years.  It typically grows in an oval pyramidal shape.

Image Citations (Photo 1 & 2): T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Featuring leathery leaves 5–10" in length, with a lustrous dark green top and soft, rusty underside.  The large White fragrant flowers appear April-June and are almost perfect in form.  The fleshy cone shaped fruit mature in late fall.  The fruit are 5-8 inches long and attract a wide range of wildlife including Squirrels, Rabbits and Birds. 

Image Citation (Photo 3): Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org

Recommended for zones 6-10 this variety can be grown as far North as Maine and is found planted over most of the country with the exception of the North-Central Region.   Air-layering, stem cuttings and grafting are all successful means of propagation.  It can be found at most nurseries in it's growth range.  It is best planted as a landscape tree versus a street tree as the leaf, flower and fruit debris are often considered messy.  

The name Magnolia honors French Botanist Pierre Magnol, who was so impressed with the tree he transplanted one near his home in Europe over 300 years ago.  One of these trees grows on the White House grounds, it was transplanted by President Andrew Jackson from his home in Nashville, Tennessee.  This tree was transplanted to honor his late wife Rachel's memory.  

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Java Plum - Syzygium cumini

The Java Plum -  Syzygium cumini, Is a fast growing evergreen tree that reaches heights of 30-80 feet tall depending on the location/conditions planted.  It is considered a tropical tree and is a member of the flowering plant family Myrtaceae.  It grows in an erect single trunk they could be straight or crooked in form with a rounded crown.  The tree was introduced to Florida in 1911 by the USDA, it originated from Asia, specifically India and Burma.  It has become established in Maritime hammocks, lake margins, flatwoods and rocklands throughout Central and Southern Florida.  It is similar to the Malabar Plum Syzygium jambos but can be distinguished by the different sized leaves and fruit.  It is treated by the state of Florida as an invasive species. It can be found growing from Sea Level to 6000 feet above in the tropics. It grows best in areas with very high rain or humidity levels.
Image Citation: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org

The leaves of the Java Plum are opposite, simple, thick, leathery, elliptic or oblong in shape with a rounded base and tip.  The upper surface of the leaves are lustrous and dark green in color with visible yellow lateral veins, the lower surface is a yellow-green in color and duller in sheen. Leaf blades are 7-18 cm long and 3-10 cm broad with a light yellow petiole of 5-25 mm long.  The leaves are said to smell similar to turpentine when crushed. The flowers are individually small in size only reaching 7 mm long, with 4 petals, fused in a rounded cap that opens and exposes a mass of white or pink threadlike stamens.  The flowers are produced in clusters 5-6cm long on the wood of the previous year.  Flowers on the Java Plum occur year round.  The fruit is fleshy with a single seed, it occurs as a oblong or ellipsoid berry that is 1-2.5 cm long and 2 cm in diameter.  When young the fruit is green becoming pink, red and then a purple-black.  The fruit matures year round the same as the flowers.  The pulp ranges from purple to white and is very juicy, with a sweet flavor in high quality varieties to astringent flavor in poorer varieties.


Image Citation: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org

The products of the Java Plum are used for various purposes.  The fruit is used to make wine and vinegar, they are also a high source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  The fruit seeds are used in alternate healing processes, Unani and Chinese Medicine (digestive ailments) and Ayurveda (diabetes control).

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Santa Maria - Calophyllum antillanum

Santa Maria - Calophyllum antillanum, is most easily recognized by the combination of oval leaves  with numerous closely set parallel veins and deeply pitted, diamond-patterned bark.  It is an evergreen tree, salt tolerant tree that originated in the West Indies but has become naturalized in South Florida.  This plant is considered to be invasive to mangrove forests and inland hammocks.  It is similar to the Alexandrian Laurel which is also naturalized in Florida but is distinguished by it's bisexual flowers with 200-300 stamens and fruit that is 2.5 - 4 cm long.  It is a member of the Clusianceae / Garcinia Family.



Photo Citation: Michael Reck [<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calophyllum_antillanum_(Palo_Mar%C3%ADa)_picture_1.png">from Wikimedia Commons</a>

The Santa Maria grows in an erect fashion, generally with a single trunk occasionally with multiple low branches.  The bark is dark gray or nearly black, deeply ridged or furrowed.  The leaves are simple, opposite, thick, elliptic or oval in shape with a rounded (occasionally notched) tip.  The 5-8 cm long leaf surface is lustrous and dark green in color with numerous visible veins that are located very close to one another.  The fruit occurs as a rounded drupe that is 2-2.5 cm long and yellow or brown at maturity.  The flower is uni-sexual averaging 2.5 cm in diameter, fragrant with four white lobes and 40-50 stamens each.  

The wood of the Santa Maria is used in tropics (not in the United States), the heartwood varies from yellow-pink to red-brown in color, the sapwood is lighter in color.  The grain interlocks and has gravity ranges from .51 to .57.  The wood is considered to be easy to work with and is considered above average when rated for shaping and sanding but not for turning and boring.  Santa Maria wood can be used for general construction, flooring, furniture, cabinet making, poles, cross ties and handles.   


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Friday, November 23, 2018

Common Hackberry - celtis occidentalis

The Common Hackberry - celtis occidentalis, is a deciduous tree or sometimes large shrub.  It grows primarily in an erect upright fashion with a single trunk and low branching, rounded, broad crown.  The branching habit of the Hackberry can range from slender and horizontal to zig-zag or irregular.  It is native to stream banks, flood plains, wooded hillsides and often found in areas that are moist from 0-1800 m.  In the North they can be found from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Maine, in the South from North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, West through Wyoming, Colorado, Arkansas, Northern Oklahoma and Northern Texas.  

Most easily recognized by the combination of alternate, simply shaped leaves that are 3-14 cm long and coarsely toothed and the hard rounded single stoned drupe.  The bark is light brown ans silvery gray, divided into narrow ridges with corky wart like growths.  The leaves are alternate, simple, thin, leathery and either broadly ovate, ovate-lanceolate or triangular in shape.  The leaf tips are usually abruptly pointed and the edges are coarsely toothed from mid-blade to the tip.  The upper leaf surface is light green or blue-green and the lower is a paler green.  The flower is greenish in color and tiny, 5 sepals and absent of petals, found in the Spring growing solitary on the axils of the upper leaves.  The fruit is an ellipsoid or rounded single stoned orange-red or purple drupe, with a cream colored stone, maturing in the Fall and shriveling but persisting through winter.



T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org


The Hackberry is recommended for hardiness zones 3-9 and is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental.  On average the Hackberry reaches heights of 40-60 feet tall and the same broad, maximum recorded heights are upwards of 115 feet tall.  It is a fast grower and can gain 12-24 inches in height per year.  Hackberry fruit is a popular food for Winter Birds including the Cedar Waxwing, Mockingbird and Robin.  The tree also is very attractive to many butterfly species including, Comma, Hackberry, Mourning Cloak, Tawny Emperor, Question Mark, and American Snout.





Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Turkey Oak - Quercus laevis ........ In honor of Thanksgiving ;-)

The Turkey Oak - Quercus laevis is most easily identified by the small stature in combination with it's twisted petioles, some leaves that are tri-lobed almost resembling a turkey footprint and dry sandy habitat.  It is a small deciduous that grows in a typically upright fashion with a narrow crown.  It is native to deep, well drained sandy ridges and sunny hammocks.  The trees growth range is limited to only Virginia to Louisiana and Florida. The Turkey Oak covers over 9-10 million acres of land in Florida. It is very similar in appearance to the Southern Red Oak.


Image Citation: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org

The bark is dark gray to nearly black in color with vertical ridges.  The leaves are alternate and simply shaped, broadly elliptic, with 3-7 lobes each.  Upper surface lustrous yellow-green, hairless, lower surface varies from pale green to a rust color.  In the fall the leaves become scarlet-red or almost brown in color.  Named for some of the tri-lobed leaves that resemble a Turkey foot.  


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

The Turkey Oak is not commercially grown as it is not important because of it's size, but it is close grained, hard and heavy.  It is recommended for hardiness zones 6-9.  The wood is considered excellent fuel and is used very widely as firewood.  The bark and twigs contain valuable materials for tanning leather. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana

Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana is most easily identified by the combination of bi-color bud scales and broad elliptic leaves with sharply toothed margins.  It is a deciduous shrub or tree that reaches heights of 15-30 feet tall with a narrow irregular crown and an erect or leaning form.  Native to open woods, and roadsides on rich or moist soils from 0-2600 m.  Found from Canada in the North to Georgia in the South, continuing on to the West Coast but absent from the Southeastern coastal plains.  Similar in appearance to the Black Cherry and Pin Cherry but can be distinguished by leaf size and shape.  

Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org
The bark of the Chokecherry is smooth, dark brown in color when young becoming black and fissured with age.  The leaves are alternate, simple, thin (almost papery), obvate, oblong or oval, sharply toothed, dark green upper surface, lower surface paler in color.  The leaves become yellow in the fall.  The flowers are 8-12 mm in diameter, 5 petals, 15-20 stamens, occuring in mid Spring to early Summer.  The fruit is a rounded juicy drupe that is 6-10 mm in diameter maturing late Summer to early Summer.  
Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

The Chokecherry is recommended for hardiness zones 2-7. Chokecherry is also commonly called Virginia bird cherry.  Although common in the wild in many parts of the U. S., this species is infrequently sold in commerce.  However, certain cultivars, such as the purple-leaved Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’, have become popular landscape plants.

Image Citation: Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, Bugwood.org

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Monday, November 19, 2018

European Spindletree - Euonymus europaeus

European Spindletree - Euonymus europaeus, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that reaches heights of 12-35 feet tall with a rounded crown.  The leaves have toothed margins and blades 2-9 cm long, it is dull green and hairless.  The ovate leaves turn a yellow green or red - purple in Autumn.  It is very similar to Hamilton's Spindletree but the leaves are very different in size.  Originally from Europe, cultivated and naturalized in the Eastern portion of the United States, Quebec, and Ontario.  

Image Citation: Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

Friday, November 16, 2018

Great Laurel - Rhododendron maximum

The Great Laurel - Rhododendron maximum is also commonly known as the Rosebay Rhododendron. The Great Laurel is most easily recognized by the mostly white flowers and evergreen leaves with wedge shaped base.  It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 35 feet.  It is native to low woods areas, stream banks, forest and low slopes from 0-1900 m from Nova Scotia through Maine in the North, South to Georgia, West to Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.  


Image Citation: Richard Gardner, UMES, Bugwood.org

The leaves of the Great Laurel are alternate, simple, narrow or broadly elliptic, the base is wedge shaped and tip pointed and a lustrous green in color.  The flower is Corolla white and often has a pink tinge with green or yellow spots.  The petals are united and cup like below, spreading and overlapping above, occurring in Spring to early Summer.  The fruit occurs in late Summer to early Autumn and is an elongated capsule 8-20 mm long, glandular hairy.

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

Great Laurel can be found at larger nurseries and is recommended for hardiness zones 3-7.  The leaves are poisonous, if ingested they can cause convulsions and can lead to a coma. This plant has a thicket forming habit and when grown in mass planting or the ideal locations it can become impenetrable.



Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fraser Magnolia - Magnolia fraseri

The Fraser Magnolia - Magnolia fraseri is most easily identified by the combination of gray colored trunk, leaves that are eared near the base and hairless buds and twigs. It is also referred to in some areas as the Mountain Magnolia.  Native to rich woods and cove forests from 300-1520 m, this species is confined mostly to the Southern Appalachians, found in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Georgia. It is similar in appearance to the Pyramid Magnolia and is often only distinguished by the native range and habitat.

Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

The Fraser Magnolia is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of about 80 feet tall. It grows in an upright and erect form with either a single or multiple trunks, the crown is spreading, irregular and most often high branching. The bark is gray to gray-brown in color and smooth or just slightly roughened, sometimes it is compared to concrete in appearance. The leaves are produced in whorl like clusters near each branch tip, they are simply shaped, ovate or nearly spatulate (spoon shaped). The leaves are broadest near the tip becoming more narrow closer to the base which is eared. The upper leaf surface is green and hairless, while the lower is paler in color. The entire leaf becomes a coppery brown at maturity. The flower is creamy white in color, 16-22 cm in diameter, fragrant and showy usually with 9 tepals each occurring in late Spring annually. The fruit is in a cone like form, shaped like a small cucumber, ranging in size from 6-13 cm long. Fruit is green when young, changing to pink when mature. Once mature each fruit splits to reveal bright red seeds that are 7-10 mm long. Fruit matures in late Summer or early Fall each year.

Image Citation: William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Edible Fig - Ficus carica

The Edible Fig - Ficus carica, is a deciduous large shrub or tree that reaches heights of 10-32 feet tall.  It grows in and erect upright fashion with multiple trunks and a spreading crown.  Introduced originally from Asia it has been naturalized from Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.  This is the only Fig growing in the United States with lobed or palmate leaves.

Image Citation: Lesley Ingram, Bugwood.org

The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, ovate or circular, with 3-5 broad lobes, flattened base and bluntly pointed and toothed tip.  The upper leaf surface is dark or medium green in color, the lower is paler in color, both are rough to the touch.  The fruit is a hairy pear shaped, leathery Fig that is green, yellow, reddish brown in color and 3-8 cm long and matures in the Fall each year.  The bark is gray-brown in color, smooth or slightly textured.  

Image Citation: David Karp, Bugwood.org

Fig plants are considered to be easily propagated through many different methods.  The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans with fossil evidence being found as far back as 9400-9200 BC, predating wheat, barley and legumes.  Fig plants can be found at specialty nurseries and but not readily available at smaller local nurseries.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wild Tamarind- Tamarindus indica

The Wild Tamarind- Tamarindus indicais most easily recognized by the combination of twigs and branches that are zig-zag, whitish bark, flat pods and white inflorescence.  It is an evergreen or semi-deciduous tree that reaches heights of 30-65 feet tall on average.  It is native to Hammocks, coastal Pinelands and disturbed woodland sites in South Florida.  Even though it is native to Florida it is considered to grow with a weedy habit often encroaching onto coastal pinelands.  


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

The leaves are alternate, bi-pinnate, with blades up to 5 cm long and 13 cm broad, each leaf is made up of 8-30 pairs of leaflets per segment.  The upper leaf surface is a yellow-green color while the lower is paler.  The branches often zigzag and do not grow in a uniform upright or spreading fashion.  The flowers are tiny, tubular with 5 petals and 5 sepals each fused at the base, the head is shaped like a pin cushion and is 1.5-2 cm in diameter.  The fruit is a flat legume that often becomes twisted, it lacks visible seed compartments and becomes black with maturity.  The fruit occurs in Autumn but remains attached to the tree throughout most of the year. 

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Mahaleb Cherry - Prunus Mahaleb

The Mahaleb Cherry - Prunus Mahaleb, is the only Cherry that grows in the Eastern portion of North America with primarily rounded or circular leaves.  It is a small deciduous tree that only reaches heights of 25-35 feet tall.  It was originally introduced from Eurasia and has become naturalized along roadsides, fields and vacant lots from 0-1000 m.  Found in the Eastern portion of the United States from Massachusetts, New York and Ontario in the North, South through North Carolina and and Oklahoma.  It is also found established in scattered areas in the West.  


Image Citation: Jan Samanek, Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org

The leaves are alternate, simply shape, oval to nearly circular in shape, the base rounded and tip pinched to a sharp point.  The upper leaf surface is lustrous and dark green in color, while the lower is paler and hairy at the mid-vein. The flower averages 18 mm in diameter with 5 petals, white in color, circular in shape.  The fruit is black or red-black in color, a rounded drupe that averages 8 mm in diameter.  


Image Citation: Robert Vid├ęki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org


Friday, November 9, 2018

Lilac Chasetree - Vitex agnus-castus

The Lilac Chasetree - Vitex agnus-castus was originally introduced from Eurasia but has naturalized through the South and Middle to South Eastern United States.  It is found from Southeastern Pennsylvania and Kentucky in the North to Florida and Texas on West through California in the West.  It is distinguished by the combination of palmately compound, 5 parted leaves, and lavender flowers.   It is a deciduous strongly aromatic shrub or small tree that reaches heights of 10-25 feet on average and grows in an erect form.  Generally a single trunk but sometimes found with multiple stems, a rounded crown that is dense in shape.

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

The bark is reddish brown or brown in color, smooth when young becoming finely fissured and scaly with age.  The leaves are opposite, palmately compound, with 3-9 leaflet but usually 5, lanceolate tapering to a sharp tip.  The upper leaf surface is dull green in color and hairless moderately lustrous, the lower surface is grayish green in color.  The flowers are about 1 cm long,  5 petals, lavender, blue or white in color.  The flowers are born in erect terminal clusters that are 12-18 cm long.  The flowers occur in the Summer before the fruit which appears in late summer to early fall. The fruit is round, dry, hard drupe that contains a 4 parted stone.  
 
Image Citation:  Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The Vitex - Chasetrees are a family of more then 250 species distributed in mostly tropical or subtropical regions of the world.  Several are grown as ornamental and other are used for lumber production.  Only 4 of the Vitex have naturalized in the East.  There are both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.



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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Burning bush - Euonymus alatus

This one is a common site this time of year, with lovely red fire like coloring the Burning bush - Euonymus alatus is a well loved addition to many fall landscapes.

Image Citation: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Recognized by the combination of opposite leaves, paired purple fruits, bushy form and winged stems. The Burning Bush is a deciduous shrub or rarely small tree that can reach heights of up to 14 feet tall, though usually grown in shrub form. Naturally it grows mainly in a bushy form with multiple trunks and a broad crown. Burning bush was introduced to the United States but has become established in areas from New Hampshire to Ontario in the North, Missouri and Oklahoma in the West, and Georgia in the South. This variety is even considered to be invasive in the Southeast.

Image Citation: Richard Gardner, UMES, Bugwood.org

The bark is light gray at first becoming dark gray with age. The leaves are opposite, simple in shape, thin, elliptic, wedge shaped at the base, and medium to dark green in color. In the fall the leaves turn a beautiful crimson or purple-red in color. From a distance many say it appears to be burning, hence the common name "Burning bush". The flowers are green-yellow in color and approximately 9 mm in diameter with 4 petals. The fruit is red-brown or purple in color and in the form of a 10-13 mm in diameter capsule. The fruit appears in late Autumn or early winter and has a bright red outer layer.

Image Citation: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

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

Burning bush can be found at most local nurseries and makes a lovely addition to any landscape. The Burning bush is recommended for hardiness zones 4-8. The Burning bush prefers full sun to full shade and can be planted in a variety of soil types including sand, loam and clay. It prefers moist, well drained soils and does not adapt well to poorly drained locations.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Benefits of natural wood chips for your gardens!

Ever wonder how freshly ground wood chips can benefit your gardens at home.  Check out this documentary on the benefits of using wood chips in your organic gardens.  Not only to they help provide you with improved soil conditions but they help conserve water.   


We offer free local wood chip delivery year round when working in your area, call our office today to be added to our delivery list. We service Anne Arundel, Howard, and Southwestern Baltimore Counties in Maryland.

410-439-1900 - Arundel Tree Service

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Sour Orange - Citrus x aurantium

The Sour Orange - Citrus x aurantium is a small evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 10-30 feet tall. The Sour Orange has been naturalized in Florida, Georgia and Texas, but originated in southeastern Asia and South Sea Islands (Fiji, Samoa, and Guam). Sour Orange is grown in orchards settings only in the Orient/various other parts of the world where its special products are of commercial importance, including southern Europe and some offshore islands of North Africa, the Middle East, Madras, India, West Tropical Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Paraguay.

Image Citation:  NCSC Herbarium, Citrus ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

The leaves of the Sour Orange are simply shaped ovate or elliptic, lustrous and deep green in color. The flowers are small, white in color and usually have 4 or 5 petals. The fruit is orange in color, round in shape with a thick almost leathery rind. Inside of the fruit is several separate sections or cells, each having at least a single seed. The fruit is fragrant, however it is generally too sour to be eaten on it's own. The primary use of Sour Orange is for the production of marmalade. The fruits are largely exported to England and Scotland for making marmalade.

Image Citation: NCSC Herbarium, Citrus ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

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Monday, November 5, 2018

American Beech - Fagus grandifolia

The American Beech - Fagus grandifolia can be most easily identified by the combination of smooth gray to almost blue gray bark, coarsely toothed leaves and elongated torpedo shaped buds. It is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of near 100 feet if given the right location and ideal growing conditions. Generally growing in an erect upright fashion with a single main trunk and broad open crown. Native to rich woodlands, moist slopes and deciduous forests the American Beech can be found growing from New Brunswick and Ontario in the North South through Texas and Florida between 0-1250 m. It is believed that the best specimens are found growing in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys where growing conditions are ideal.

Image Citation (Beech from below): David Stephens, Bugwood.org

Image Citation (Trunk of Mature Beech): Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

Image Citation (Close up of Leaves): Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

Even without leaves the bark of the American Beech sets it aside and makes it easy to identify, smooth in texture and gray to almost blue gray in color it is a stark contrast to the Oak and Pines generally found growing nearby. With age this smooth bark tends to darken and develop cankers or molten in appearance. The leaves are equally interesting, simply shaped ovate or elliptic they are coarsely toothed on the edges. The upper leaf surface is lustrous and dark green in color, while the lower surface is paler and hairy. In the fall the leaves begin to shift from green to yellow, then a lustrous brown and finally a pale brown before falling and making room for new leaves in the Spring. The flowers are tiny, the males are borne in a globular head at the end of a silky stalk, the female are inconspicuous borne singly or in pairs. The fruit is a bristly 4 compartment capsule that usually contains 2 angled or ridged nuts (occasionally 1 or 3).

Image Citation (close up of bark): Wendy VanDyk Evans, Bugwood.org

Image Citation (Fall Foliage):T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The American Beech is readily available at most nurseries within hardiness zones 4-9, it is a slow grower and can be planted as both a shade tree and an ornamental. Full sun is ideal for the American Beech - meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. Be sure when planted that there is ample space available as when full grown the American Beech can reach heights of 100 feet tall with a spread of 40-50 feet. Beechnuts are frequently eaten by birds and small mammals, they serve as an important food for both chipmunks and squirrels.

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

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.Garg, CC 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.Garg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2602298


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