Friday, July 30, 2021

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 feed stock for silkworms. It has been cultivated for Silkworm raising and fruit so much so, that it is hard to determine where the original 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: Stihl Encylopedia of Trees - R.SPohn

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.



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 different 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 leaves year round.  At maturity the White Mulberry reaches an average height of 30-65 feet.



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.



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Thursday, July 29, 2021

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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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

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 feed stock for silkworms. It has been cultivated for Silkworm raising and fruit so much so, that it is hard to determine where the original 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: Stihl Encylopedia of Trees - R.SPohn

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.



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 different 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 leaves year round.  At maturity the White Mulberry reaches an average height of 30-65 feet.



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.



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Friday, July 23, 2021

Paper Mulberry - Broussonetia papyrifera

 The Paper Mulberry - Broussonetia papyrifera, is a deciduous fast growing tree that reaches heights of only about 30-60 feet tall.  Paper Mulberry grows in an erect fashion with a single or multiple trunk, often producing root sprouts and branching low to the ground, the crown is broad and rounded.  Originally introduced from Asia in the mid 1700's  it is cultivated and established in the Eastern united States from Delaware to Southern Illinois on South from Florida to eastern Texas.




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

The bark of the Paper Mulberry is smooth, tan in color and occasionally furrowed.  The twigs are brown with scattered, slightly raised lenticels and long spreading transparent hairs.  The leaves are alternate, opposite and whorled, simple, ovate, with a rounded base, and flattened heart shaped or broad wedge shape, toothed along edges.  Upper leaf surfaces are dark brown green in color becoming deep green with age.  The lower surface is hairy, velvety at maturity.  The flowers are unisex, tiny, with male and female produced on separate trees, female inflorence occur in a rounded cluster, the male are elongated cylindric catkin 3-8 cm long occurring in Spring.  The fruit matures in Summer and is rounded in a ball like cluster of fleshy calyces that are 2-3 cm in diameter, each calyx encloses a red or orange achene that visibly protrudes on ripe fruit.



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

Broussonetia is a genus of only 4 species all are from East Asia or the Pacific Islands.  Paper Mulberry is recommended for hardiness zones 4-8. Meet more trees on our website www.ArundelTreeService.com or follow our blog https://arundeltreeservice.meetatree.com/

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Giant Sequoia - Sequoiadendron giganteum

 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 there 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 RibeauvillĂ©, France), but none nearly as grand as the Giants growing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.




Image Citation (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.


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

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Purpleosier Willow - Salix purpurea

 The Purpleosier Willow - Salix purpurea, is a deciduous clone forming shrub or shrubby tree that reaches heights of 4-20 feet tall.  Growing in an erect, upright form or arching, usually with numerous branches and multiple trunks.  Originally introduced from Europe, it has been cultivated and is now naturalized in various wetlands throughout much of the Eastern United States as far South as Georgia, west to Minnesota and Iowa and sporadic in the West.  


The leaves of the Purpleosier Willow are alternate or opposite, simply shaped, narrowly oblong and often widest around the base of each leaf.  The upper leaf surface is dull or slightly lustrous, dark green in color and hairless.  The lower leaf surface is bluish-white in color and hairless.  Each leaf blade os 2-10 cm long and 1.5- 3 cm broad.  The flowers are unisexual, with male and female occuring in catkins on separate plants.  Male catkins are 25-33 mm long and 6-10 mm in diameter, while the female are 13-35 mm long and 3-7 mm in diameter.  Flower occur each Spring prior to the appearance of the new leaves.   The fruit is an egg shaped capsule that ranges in size from 2-5 mm long. 




Image Citations (Photos 1-3): Robert VidĂ©ki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org 

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis

 The Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis, is also called Sharinga Tree, Rubberwood or Para Rubber Tree.  It was only originally found growing in the Amazon Rainforest but was planted in more widespread tropical and sub-tropical areas once the demand for it's naturally produced rubber increased.  This tree is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and has major economic value because of it's milky latex that naturally occurs within the tree.  Recorded uses of this and similar tree rubber/latex products date back to the Olmec people of Mesoamerica some 3600 years ago.  By the late 1800's rubber plantations were established in the British colonies, Java, and Malaya.  Today most rubber plantations outside of the native region occur in tropical portions of South/East Asia and West Africa. Cultivating in South America has not been satisfactory because of leaf blight this leaf blight is a major concern for plantations worldwide as it has not been cured or corrected and is thought to pose a threat to all varieties/clones growing today.


Image Citation: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

This latex that occurs in the Rubber Tree is the primary source of natural rubber, it occurs in vessels within the bark just outside of the phloem. The vessels spirals up and around the tree in a right handed helix pattern forming an angle of about 30 degrees and occurring at heights of up to 45 feet.  In the wild the tree has been found to reach heights upwards of 100 feet, but this is not very common.  Trees grow at a much slower rate once they are tapped for latex and are generally cut down after about thirty years as they usually stop producing at this point so they no longer have economical value.  When harvesting cuts are made in the vessels but only deep enough to tap into them without harming the trees growth.  In order to grow these trees require tropical or sub-tropical climates, with no chance of frost.  One simple frost event can completely wipe out a plantation and be detrimental to production as the rubber becomes brittle and breaks.  Latex production is not very reliable the amount and quality is variable from tree to tree. When a tree is tapped (the process is called rubber tapping) the latex is collected in small buckets and looks almost similar to the process used to collect syrup from Maple trees.



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Friday, July 16, 2021

Sawtooth Oak - Quercus acutissima

 The Sawtooth Oak - Quercus acutissima is most easily recognized by it's fringed acorn cup and narrow leave with bristle tipped teeth, resembling the teeth of a saw. It is a fast growing, deciduous shade tree that can reach heights of 30- 70 feet tall. Sawtooth Oak grows in an erect fashion with a single trunk and dense rounded crown. Originally introduced from Asia, generally found in planned landscapes and is reported to be naturalized in scattered areas from Pennsylvania South to North Carolina and Georgia, South to Louisiana. Sawtooth Oak is primarily planted for wildlife cover and food due to it's abundant fruit and fast growth habit. This species is sometimes used for urban and highway beautification as it is tolerant of soil compaction, air pollution, and drought.  Though it is considered naturalized in our area it is not very common to see a mature tree other then in a established landscape setting where planted.




Image Citations (Photos 1 & 2): Richard Gardner, UMES, Bugwood.org

Named for it's unique leaf edges, the Sawtooth Oak is a beautiful tree. The green leaves are alternate, simple, oblong or obvate, 12-16 pairs of sharp bristle tipped teeth, parallel veins and a lustrous upper surface and dull pale underside. The leaves add to the visual interest by beginning a brilliant yellow to golden yellow color in the Spring, turning dark lustrous green in summer and yellow to golden brown in the fall. The bark is dark gray in color with light gray scales that become deeply furrowed with age. The fruit is in the form of an acorn, the cup encloses 1/3 - 2/3 of the 1-2.5 cm nut. The acorn rim is adorned with long spreading hairlike scales that form a distinctive fringe.


Recommended for hardiness zones 5-9, the Sawtooth Oak can be found at most larger nurseries within those zones. Sawtooth Oak is also considered to be easily transplanted and hardy making it a wise choice for any landscape with room for a large spreading shade tree. It is similar to the Chinquapin Oak Castanea pumila in appearance, distinguished primarily by the difference in fruit.

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Wax Myrtle / Southern Wax Mrytle - Myrica 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

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum

 Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum, is a medium to large tree that matures at 50-80 feet in height and 2-3 feet in diameter. Usually forking near the ground with two or three main trunks supporting an openly spreading crown.  The Silver Maple is most easily identified by it's sharply forked form, thin, flat edge curling bark, widely spaced branches and large often partially exposed (runner) roots.  When split the fissures in the bark often expose a pink color below the brown-gray upper bark.




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

The leaves are opposite, 6-8 inches long with prominent, pointed, coarsely toothed lobes and narrow, rounded sinuses.  The lower leaf surfaces are a silver color while the upper are a crisp green.  Silver Maple logs are harvested and sold often combined with Red Maple and other soft Maples.  The buds are often eaten by Squirrels when other foods are not available.  



Image Citation: Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org



Silver Maple can be found growing almost anywhere in the Eastern Untied States.  Preferring moist, deep, well drained soils where it can get sufficient moisture, for this reason it is often times found growing near stream or river banks.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Scarlet Oak - Quercus coccinea

 The Scarlet Oak - Quercus coccinea is most easily identified by it's deeply cut leaves in combination with 1 or more pitted rings at the acorn apex. It is a fast growing deciduous tree that can reach heights of 100 feet tall. Generally growing in an upright fashion with a single erect trunk that is more often then not swollen at the base.  It is native to the Eastern and Mid Atlantic regions of the United States from Maine in the North to Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama in the South, spreading as far West as Wisconsin. It is closely related to the Northern Pin Oak - Quercus ellipsoidalis, Shumard Oak - Quercus shumardii, Northern Red Oak -Quercus rubra and Pin Oak - Quercus palustris.


The crown of the Scarlet Oak is rounded and open with spreading branches.  This Oak has alternate, simply shaped leaves with 5-7 lobes each that range in size from 4-7 inches long. Leaves are bright green in the Spring and Summer and change to a brilliant Scarlet - Red in the Fall. The upper surfaces of the leaves are lustrous and hairless, while the lower is paler with tufts of hair in many of the vein axils. The fruit is a bowl shaped cupped acorn that is 7-15 mm deep enclosing 1/3 - 1/2 of the brown nut. Acorn crops are produced annually, however large crops are only seen every 3-5 years.The bark is thin, brown to dark gray in color, finely ridged and furrowed in texture.


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

The Scarlet Oak is often planted for a combination of it's rapid growth, beautiful foliage, soil tolerance, wind resistance and upright habit. It makes for a lovely focal point in any landscape. Scarlet Oak prefers well drained slopes, dry uplands, ridges, and even does well in poor soils (except akaline). Full sun is recommended for best performance (6 hours of direct sunlight daily). The best performance for the Scarlet Oak naturally seems to be in the Ohio River Valley where specimens are many in number, long lived and lovely in shape. It also is a very successful part of the South Appalachian forest story. Scarlet Oak is recommended for hardiness zones 4-9 and can be found at most larger nurseries. It is widely used in park settings, along roadside and in residential and commercial landscape design. The Scarlet Oak is the official tree for The District of Columbia. Scarlet Oak acorns are an important food source various types of wildlife including, songbirds, wild turkeys, grouse, squirrels and white-tailed deer.


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


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

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Monday, July 12, 2021

English Oak - Quercus Robur

 There is a very unique English Oak tree (Quercus Robur) growing in Sherwood Forest near the small village of Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, England which is rumored to be where Robin Hood and his men would hide out, in it's hollow trunk sections. It is called the Major Oak and is estimated to be between 800 - 1000 years old. In 2014 it was even crowned "England's Tree of the Year", because of this honor it will represent England in the running for the "European Tree of the Year" against entries from both Wales and Scotland.




Major Oak was not always the name this tree was called. It has also be recorded as the Queen Oak, and the Cockpen Tree. The current name "Major Oak", originated from Major Hayman Rooke's very popular book about the ancient Oaks of Sherwood Forest from 1790.

Estimated to weigh around 23 tons, it has a diameter of over 33 feet and a crown spread of 92 feet - it is claimed ot be the largest Oak tree in all of England.  The Major Oak has been in a conservation status since the early 1900's. When visiting the tree today you will find a fence surrounding the base of the tree which serves as protection for it's roots and truck from foot traffic. During the Edwardian period there were chains used to support the branches and lead sheets around the trunk, these were replaced in the 1970's by wooden supports, which were replaced by the steel support rods that remain in place today.

From the Sherwood Forest Visitor Center you are a 10-15 minute walk from this Majestic Old Major Oak. The visitor center is open daily (the hours vary by season) and allows you to explore not just the Major Oak but the 450 acre forest that is home to an estimated 900+ veteran Oak trees. If that is not enough to draw you in there is also an Annual Robin Hood Festival in August that celebrates the Legendary Home of Robin Hood and his Men.

To learn about other Destination Trees visit our website www.ArundelTreeService.com or our blog www.MeetATree.com

Friday, July 9, 2021

Sourwood - Oxydendrum arboreum

 The Sourwood Tree - Oxydendrum arboreum is very unique as it is the only species in it's genus. This genus is a part of the larger Ericaceae Family, which is commonly called the Heath or Heather Family. The Ericaceae family is made up of a very diverse group of plants including Heather, Azaleas, Rhododendron and Madrones.



Image Citation: Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulturist, Bugwood.org 

The Sourwood has grey bark with deep lobes that almost make the bark appear chunky. The leaves are very finely toothed and a smooth grey-green in color during the growth season and a bright red, crimson or even purple in the fall. The leaves are arranged alternately and average 3-8 inches long. The flowers are white or ivory in color and bell shaped, they are very small only 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch each. The flowers though small on their own grow on 6-10 inch long panicles. The fruit are small downy, five sided/angled woody capsules that are ivory in color. The roots of the Sourwood are considered shallow, this tree grows best with little to no root competition. It prefers very acidic soil and will not tolerate . The wood of the Sourwood is heavy, hard and close grained. This type wood takes well to high gloss finish. Honey produced from the flowers of this tree is considered by many to be unmatched by clover, orange blossom, or any other honey.



Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org 

It is native to Eastern United States, ranging in the North from Pennsylvania and in the South from Western Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida. It is found most commonly in the lower chain of the Appalachian Mountain. Recommended for hardiness zones 5-9, this tree is a medium sized deciduous tree that makes for a lovely ornamental addition to any landscape. With a maximum height of 35-70 feet and a spread of 20 feet it's size allows it to fit in places where some other shade trees will not.

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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Gray Birch - Betula populifolia

 The Gray Birch - Betula populifolia Marshall, is most easily distinguished by it's triangular leaf with flattened base, elongated tip and doubly toothed margins.  It is a deciduous tree that reached heights of about 40 feet.  Generally growing in a multi trunk, curving or leaning fashion it makes for a beautiful focal point in both residential and commercial landscape settings.  



Image Citation: T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The bark of the Gray Birch is red-brown when young, becoming a gray or chalky white when mature.  The bark is smooth and tight, not usually exfoliating like some other Birch (Betula) varieties.  The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, thin and pendulous.  The triangular leaves are often compared in size and shape to those of the Quaking Aspen.  Leaf color ranges from a lustrous green in the Spring to a yellow or yellow-orange in the Fall.  The flower appears in late Spring in the form of a cylindrical catkin.  The fruit is a winged samara with wings broader then the body, they are borne in a narrow, bluntly pointed, erect or drooping structure.



Image Citations (Bark & Leaves): T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The Gray Birch is native to the North East and Mid Eastern portions of the United States and extreme South Eastern portions of Canada.  It can be found from North Carolina and Virginia in the South, Illinois and Indiana in the West, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario in the North.  It prefers moist, well drained, rocky or sandy forests, abandoned sites (fields, pastures) and can often be found on natural reforestation sites that have been burned, or cleared.  Hybrids of the Gray Birch and Mountain Paper Birch are often called Blue Birch .  

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