Wednesday, May 15, 2024

What causes the row of holes in my trees? Meet the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker woodpecker

 


Image Citation:(?) Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, sounds almost like and insult if you have never heard of the migratory North Eastern Woodpecker with that very name.  The yellow bellied Sapsucker is the only woodpecker in the Eastern North America that is completely migratory. Few may remain locally during most winter in the southern most portions of the breeding range, most however head further South as far as Panama.  For the most part the females travel further south when migrating then the males.  With length between 7-8 inches and a wing span of 13 to 15 inches they are an average size woodpecker.  They are larger then a Downy Woodpecker, but smaller then a Hairy Woodpecker.




These birds are known to favor many different species of trees in this area, leaving a tell tale evenly bored rows of holes in their wake.  They make two types of holes while they work.  The First is a rounded hole extending deep into the tree that they probe for sap and trapped insects. The Second is a more shallow and rectangular hole that must be maintained to keep sap flowing.  When new holes are made they are usually kept in the same row or pattern of rows as before.  The wells of sap created by the Sapsucker are also frequented by hummingbirds who take advantage of the free flowing sap.  The holes are most commonly found on Atlas Cedar, Hemlock, Red Maple, Yellow, Paper and Gray Birches.  It seems Birches and Maples are a favorite as they tend to be the most notably marked.  Extensive and repetitive pecking may cause cambium and bark injury and brank/trunk swelling.  Resulting Girdling may kill portions of the trees above the boring injury.  Removing nesting areas for the Sapsuckers, such as decaying Aspen and Birch trees may help limit their activity as they tend to nest near the areas they feed.




                                     Image Citation:(?) Randy Cyr, Greentree, Bugwood.org



More Cool Tree Facts : www.ArundelTreeService.com

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Gilroy Gardens - Gilroy, California, home of the "Tree Circus".

  The "Tree Circus" originally opened in 1947, as a roadside attraction in Scott's Valley California.  Axel Erlandson a bean farmer who pruned, grafted and trained the trees into various shapes as a hobby to amuse himself and his family, went to his grave holding the secrets of his technique. Most of his work was performed behind screens to protect his secret methods from the potential spy!  Since his death in 1964 many have tried to recreate his work unsucessfully, so this method of privacy seems to have paid off.  Sadly now it seems this type of tree "training" talent may never be seen again.


Millionaire Michael Bonfante purchased the trees and transplanted them to his amusement park Gillroy Gardens in 1985, where you can still see them today.  In the winter of 1984 the trees were all carefully hand dug and boxed.  On November 10th 1985 they began their 80 mile journey to their new home a trip that required many permits and the help of 20 local/state agencies to pull off.  Gilroy Gardens is in Gilroy, California and is home to 24 trees from Axel Erlandson's orginal "Tree Circus".

Some of the trees on display are:

The Cage Trees-Crafted of 10 American Sycamore

The Arch-Crafted from 2 American Sycamore

The Basket Tree-Crafted from 6 American Sycamore (and the most intricate of all)

The Chain Link or 3-2-1 Tree-Crafted from a single American Sycamore

The Compound 8-Crafted from a single Box Elder

The Double Hearts-Crafted from what is recorded as a Red Maple (although the species of this tree is often questioned)

The Figure Y-Crafted from 1 Cork Oak

The Four Legged Giant-Carfted from 4 Amercian Sycamore

The Oil Well-Crafted from 4 Box Elders

The Picture Frame-Crafted from a single Cork Oak

The Revolving Door or Compound Square-Carfted from a single Box Elder

The Zig-Zag- Crafted from 1 American Sycamore

Some of the trees formerly on display have been moved to private areas of the park for extra care and attention due to decline.  Hopefully one day we will be able to see them come back on display!


These landmarks are surely on my to do list!

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Sudden Oak Death - Phytophthora ramorum

 Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum) - SOD (also known as Phytophthora canker disease), was originally identified in Germany and The Netherlands in the early 1990's on Rhododendrons .  Since being discovered in the United States, it has been confirmed in forests from California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.  The origin geographically of Phytophthora ramorum is unknown and before the early 1990's there were no reports in Europe or the United States.  The areas that do exist in Europe and the United States are believe to have been originally transported from other areas or even the original site of origin.  Phytophthora ramorum's very limited distribution related to the host's distribution suggests a more recent introduction versus a point of origin.  



Image Citation: Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Two types of disease are caused by Phytophthora ramorum, the first being bark cankers and the second being foliar blights.  Bark cankers may eventually kill the host while foliar blights serve as a reservoir for the pathogen to remain within and be tranferred from the foliar host.  The list of hosts (and foliar hosts) seems to grow with each new report and now includes Coast and Canyon Live Oak, Tanoak, California Black Oak, Coast Redwood, Douglas Fir, Rhododendron, Bay Laurel, California Buckeye, Madrone, Bigleaf Maple, Oregon Myrtle, Toyon, Honeysuckle, Arrowwood, Camellia, Californis Hazelnut, Mountain Laurel, Valley Oak, Poison Oak and Grand Fir.  In lab testing it has been found that both Red and Pin Oaks are susceptible this opens up the potential for spread into the Eastern portions of the US as the Red Oak family is found in most of North America. In the field the White Oak family including the Valley, White and Blue Oaks have not been confirmed as hosts or even shown any symptoms- hopefully this means they are immune to Phytophthora ramorum or at least have a higher tolerance level.



Image Citation: Bruce Moltzan, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

As with many diseases of woody plants the spread of Phytophthora ramorum most likely occurs from contact with foliar hosts, infected material, soil transfer and spreading by rainwater.  Windy, cool and moist conditions are also thought to aide in the spread of the pathogen by further dispersing the spores from their foliar hosts.  Transporting (for nursery sale, wholesale or production) of foliar hosts may also aide in the spread of this disease making it harder to control.  
The symptoms of Sudden Oak Death are easily identified by large cankers on the trunk or main stem, browning of the leaves or even death of the entire plant/tree.  Some infected trees also become host to Bark or Ambrosia Beetles, or Sapwood rotting fungus-these outside organisms may speed up or even contribute to the death of the host.  Foliar host infection os harder to identify and may not be noticed until it is to late.  With a foliar host you may notice deep gray or brown lesions on the leaf blades, vascular tissues, petiole, or stems of the host.

Learn more about Oak trees and their diseases/pests on our Website www.ArundelTreeService.com  or our blog  www.MeetaTree.com 

Friday, May 3, 2024

Paw Paw (Asimina triloba)

   The Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) is a small deciduous fruit bearing tree that is native to North America.  They grow wild in much of the eastern and midwestern portions of the country, but not in the extreme North, West or South.   




Image Citation (Photos 1 & 2): Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org 

The leaves are green in the growing season and an elongated oval shape ranging in size from 10-12 inches long.  In the fall the leaves change to a rusty yellow in color.  When crushed the leaves have a strong unique odor, often compared to that of a bell pepper.  The leaves contain toxic annonaceous acetogenins, making them impalitable to most insects. The one exception is the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.  

The flowers have 3 prominent triangular shaped green, brown or purple outer petals.  The flowers are insect pollinated, but fruit production is often limited by the small number of pollinators that are actually attracted to flowers very faint scent.  


Image Citation (Photo 3): Wendy VanDyk Evans, Bugwood.org

The fruit is a green-brown in color and a curved cylindrical shape - the shape of the fruit is very similar to a fat lima bean.  The trees produce an almost tropical fruit with vanilla or banana/mango flavors. When ripe, the fruit’s soft flesh is very creamy in texture. The large seeds are easy to remove, making the pawpaw an excellent pick for fresh eating.  The short shelf life makes it an uncommon find in most market areas.   Fresh fruits of the Paw Paw are generally eaten raw, either chilled or at room temperature. However, they can be kept only 2–3 days at room temperature, or about a week if refrigerated.  

Many animals and insects make use of the Paw Paw tree and it's fruit.  The flowers attract blowflies, carrion beetles, fruit flies, carrion flies and other beetle varieties.  The fruits of the Paw Paw are enjoyed by a variety of mammals, including raccoons, foxes, opossums, squirrels, and black bears. Larvae of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly, feed exclusively on young leaves of Paw Paw.  Chemicals in the Paw Paw leaves offer protection from predation throughout the butterfly's life remaining in their systems and making them unpalatable to predators.  Whitetail deer do not feed on the Paw Paw.

Meet More Trees at www.ArundelTreeService.com  or on our blog www.MeetATree.com

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Elderberries - Sambucus

 The Elderberries - Sambucus are a small genus made up of only 10 species of which only 2 are commonly found in North America the American Elderberry- Sambucus nigra and the Red Elderberry- Sambucus racemosa, a third Danewort/Dwarf Elderberry- Sambucus ebulus is reported to be naturalized in the Northeast portions of the United States. They are deciduous shrubs, small trees or herbs with very soft wood and conspicuous pith.




Image Citation: (Common Elderberry) Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

The leaves are opposite and compound usually pinnate but occasionally bi-pinnate. The leaflets are lanceolate or ovate with distinctly toothed margins. The flowers are small, white or cream in color and generally made up 3-5 petals and 5 stamens. When crushed the flowers produce a sweet yet rancid odor. The fruit is a fleshy round berry like drupe, red or black in color depending on the species, these berries generally occur in bunches.



Image Citation: (Elderberry Flowers)  Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The Elderberries are mostly found in moist to wet areas, roadsides, ditches, wetland and woodland margins at elevations ranging from 3-3000 m. It is a dominant under story species in riparian woodlands where it persists despite the competition from other species, it does not however grow well in closed story forests. American Elderberries are found from the central portion of the US (Wisconsin to Texas) all the way to the East Coast and as far North as Nova Scotia. The Red Elderberries are found in a more limited area on either coast of the US, from Alaska in the North and Northern California in the South on the Pacific Coast, Sporadically from Northern Idaho to Arizona and New Mexico in the central portion of the country, and from Wisconsin to Nova Scotia in the North East and West Virginia, Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic/South.



Image Citation: (Red Elderberry) Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org

American Elderberry is best distinguished by the black fruit, whereas the Red Elderberry has red fruit. Similar species include Box Elder and Ash, which have similar leaves however neither have fleshy fruits as the Elderberries do. The fleshy fruit is edible and has been used by various cultures including Native Americans, Spaniards, Cahuillas, French, Austrians, and Germans for many different purposes. The berries can be used to make wine, jams, jelly, syrup and pies. When dried they can be cooked down to form a sauce (sometimes called sauco by the Cahuillas) that does not require any type of sweetening. The flowers are sometimes added to batters, eaten raw, added to teas, or even fried for a sweet snack. The twigs can be used to tap Maple trees for Syrup collection, basket weaving, flute and clapper stick making, tinder and even homemade squirt guns (when hollowed out).



Image Citation: (Dwarf Elderberry) Jan Samanek, Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org

Many Elderberries are planted for their ornamental value offering visual interest with both the flowers and the berries, others are planted for the wildlife value as they attract birds, small mammals, rodents, deer and butterflies. They are very a productive, adaptable and easy to establish species. Elderberries also are a very useful ground cover for stabilizing stream banks and other sites that are prone to erosion. Elderberries grow best from seed and are most often sown in the Fall season, cutting from this species are not very successful. This species is recommended for hardiness zones 3-8 and can be found at many nurseries for planting in your own garden.

Meet more trees and shrubs on our website: www.ArundelTreeService.com or follow our blog www.MeetATree.com

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

English Ivy - Hedera helix

 Though it is thought to be a beautiful plant by many (myself included), English Ivy- Hedera helix is a very invasive plant in our area and can cause severe damage to properties and even death to the trees it grows on without proper management. English Ivy vines quickly and easily take over areas that are cleared/disturbed, woods lines, brick work, trellises, garden areas, and even tree trunks / canopies. Ivy can decimate the natural ecosystem by girdling out mature trees and other plantings and overtaking native ground coverings. It is native to Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa and was introduced to the United States by European immigrants. Common uses as an ornamental vine, landscape buffer, ground cover and climbing vine have all made English Ivy very popular. Over the past couple decades English Ivy has spread from a simple ornamental vine to a naturalized (and very invasive) vine in 18 of The Unites States including Maryland.

English Ivy is an evergreen vine (one of it's very attractive features) that is a member of the Ginseng family (Araliaceae). It is a creeping or climbing vine that can grown at height of over 90 feet if given the opportunity or structure to adhere too. The leaves are leathery or waxy in appearance, generally having five points in a palmate (hand) shape. They are a deep green in color when young with white veining, lightening in color with age. When mature the leaves produce a pale greenish-yellow flower in the fall season. Once the vine enters a forest it quickly overtakes the native vegetation and prevents them from regenerating, it also interferes with the ecosystem by altering food sources and habitat for wildlife this is by far it's biggest downfall. The vine attaches itself to structures and trees by small hairlike roots, when on a mature tree it can kill it and cause the tree below to die, sometimes rapidly. On brickwork, grouted or mortared surfaces it can easily break through the material causing problems that often times can not be seen due to the vines coverage.





Image Citation (Ivy Infestation) David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The fruit of English Ivy is a black-purple color with three stone textured seeds inside. This fruit is only eaten in small amounts by wildlife as they carry a slight toxicity. When humans ingest the fruits it can cause severe discomfort which is often combined with, diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach, fever, or even the onset of a coma. Rash may also occur in persons with sensitive skin after direct contact with the leaves and/or sap.



Image Citation (Ivy overtaking tree): Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Control of English Ivy is often ongoing and intense. You can manually, mechanically or even chemically remove or address the infestation. With small areas control is much easier, larger more established areas often require a combination of all three methods to truly eliminate the growth. If any roots remain in an area they will likely re-sprout throughout the season. Mulching is another method to help control/eliminate new growth on ground areas, by covering the ivy with a thick layer of mulch continuously over two full growing seasons you can kill the vine. Very large growths often required the use of herbicides often on a continuous basis until the growth is fully eradicated. Tree climbing vines can be cut at ground level prior to applying herbicide to the rooted section of the vine as well as the ground level leaves. Generally the first attempt at controlling or eradicating English Ivy is not successful by any single method.

Yes, it is beautiful but it should never be a recommended planting in landscapes or gardens in our area. If you must have English Ivy in your gardens do so in a container where you can trim it frequently and absolutely prevent the roots from spreading. This type of Ivy is best suited as a houseplant in our area!

Meet more trees and their pests on our website: www.ArundelTreeService.com or follow our blog www.MeetaTree.com