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Meet A Tree - Blog

Our Blog includes many interesting tree facts, educational information, tree care tips and a "Meet A Tree" Section that features a different tree at least once a week.  We try to post daily to keep things fresh and inspire you to love trees as much as we do!


Thank you for visiting, we hope you will enjoy what you find here on these pages.


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Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis

Posted on December 20, 2017 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis is monoecious evergreen tree that generally reaches heights of 40-50 feet tall, although it has the potential to grow much taller. It is a native northern Cypress with scale like leaves, flattened twigs that are grouped in fan shaped sprays with bilaterally symmetric cones. Found mostly on limestone - derived soils, in swamp areas, riparian areas on cliff and talus from 0-900 m. It is common from Ontario and New Brunswick in the north, south through the Appalachians of North Carolina and Tennessee. It is also commonly called Northern White Cedar, American Arborvitae, Eastern Arborvitae, or Cedar Blanc.



Image Citation: Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

 

The bark of the Arborvitae is Red-Brown in color and becomes gray with age. The bark is thin and fibrous becoming fissured and forming long strips with age. The pollen cones are 1-2 mm long reddish in color. The seed cones are ovoid 9-14 mm long, green maturing to brown with 2 pairs of woody, fertile scales, each one is longer then it is wide. The leaves are scale like, flattened 1-4 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, pointed and dull yellow-green on the upper and lower surface with visible glands and lateral leaves near twig tips.


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


It is written that in 1536 an extract from the foliage of the Arborvitae saved the lives of Jacques Cartier and his crew who were suffering from scurvy during their second discovery voyage to Canada, they in turn named the tree Arborvitae which is Latin for "tree of life". They brought the tree home with them to Europe, making it the first North American tree to be introduced to Europe. Since that time, there have been more then 120 cultivars discovered and named. This sheer number makes it one of the most popular trees in horticulture today. Arborvitae is one of the longest lived trees in Eastern North America, it can live up to 1890 years.


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


Arborvitae is a very common planting in both residential and commercial settings. It is recommended for hardiness zones 3-7 and holds it foliage year round. This tree adapts very well to both shearing and shaping and naturally grows in a pyramidal shape.


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Turkey Oak - Quercus laevis

Posted on November 17, 2017 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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Using wood chips in your garden - "Back to Eden Organic Gardening"

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (2)

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.   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPPUmStKQ4" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPPUmStKQ4


The Sour Orange - Citrus x aurantium

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

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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Meet The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England

Posted on October 31, 2017 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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.

Image Citation: www.RobinofSherwood.org

 

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


 

The Fleshy Hawthorn - Crataegus succulenta

Posted on October 24, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The Fleshy Hawthorn - Crataegus succulenta, is a deciduous thicket forming shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 12-20 feet tall. Generally growing in an erect or clumping habit with single or multiple trunks and compound thorns, it is native to North American and can be found growing along streams, rivers, pastures, open woodlands, mountain slopes, ridges from British Columbia and Quebec in the North on South through Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, the Appalachians, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.

 

 


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

 

Considered to be the most widespread Hawthorn in all of North America, the Fleshy Hawthorn is best recognized by the combination of narrowly winged, nonglandular petiole, thick doubly toothed leaves, and long stout thorns. The leaves of the Fleshy Hawthorn are alternate, simply shaped, thick and firm to the touch, obovate, ovate or broadly elliptic with distinct margins and shallow lobes. The upper leaf surface is lustrous and hairless when mature, the lower surface is paler in color and more dull in finish. The flower of the Fleshy Hawthorn is 1.2 - 1.7 cm in diameter with white circular petals, 20 stamens and red-pink anthers. Flowering occurs in late Spring to early Summer annually. The fruit is in the form of a Pome, bright red in color and lustrous, ranging in size from 6-12 mm in diameter, maturing in the Fall.

 

 


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

 

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Fleshy Hawthorn - Crataegus succulenta

Posted on October 24, 2017 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

The Fleshy Hawthorn - Crataegus succulenta, is a deciduous thicket forming shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 12-20 feet tall.  Generally growing in an erect or clumping habit with single or multiple trunks and compound thorns, it is native to North American and can be found growing along streams, rivers, pastures, open woodlands, mountain slopes, ridges from British Columbia and Quebec in the North on South through Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, the Appalachians, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. 


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

Considered to be the most widespread Hawthorn in all of North America, the Fleshy Hawthorn is best recognized by the combination of narrowly winged, nonglandular petiole, thick doubly toothed leaves, and long stout thorns.  The leaves of the Fleshy Hawthorn are alternate, simply shaped, thick and firm to the touch, obovate, ovate or broadly elliptic with distinct margins and shallow lobes.  The upper leaf surface is lustrous and hairless when mature, the lower surface is paler in color and more dull in finish.  The flower of the Fleshy Hawthorn is 1.2 - 1.7 cm in diameter with white circular petals, 20 stamens and red-pink anthers.  Flowering occurs in late Spring to early Summer annually.  The fruit is in the form of a Pome, bright red in color and lustrous, ranging in size from 6-12 mm in diameter, maturing in the Fall.  


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


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The Shortleaf Pine - Pinus echinata

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The Shortleaf Pine - Pinus echinata, is a typical form as far as appearances are concerned. It can be identified by its combination of resin pockets in the bark, short needles and large amounts of small cones that can remain attached to a tree for years at a time. It is a large pine and can reach heights of up to 125-135 feet when fully mature (in the ideal location of course). Native to the United States, it can be found growing in a large variety of soil types from 150-600 m, From Texas and Missouri in the West along the Eastern Seaboard from Florida in the South to New York in the north. The Shortleaf Pine is considered to be somewhat fire resistant, surviving after moderate burns and reseeding itself after severe ones, sometimes even re-sprouting from the base after fire.

 

 

 

The Shortleaf Pine is of more importance commercially then most others Pines as it produces a better quality wood. The lumber from the Shortleaf Pine can be used in finer grade applications producing furniture and cabinetry. It is occasionally planted in parks or along roadsides but is not a popular ornamental.

 

 

 

The bark of the Shortleaf Pine is a reddish brown in color, scaly and made up of plates with resin pockets. The leafs are in the form of needles 7-11 cm long and 1mm wide, straight in form, occasionally twisted, gray-yellow or green-yellow in color, occurring in bundles of two. The pollen cone is 15-20 mm long, yellow-green or purplish green in color. The seed cone can be solitary or clustered, with great numbers within the crown, symetrical in shape, 4-6 cm long, red to brown in color, sharp prickly points of varying lengths. The Seed cones can remain attached within the crown of the tree for several years after maturing.

 

 

Image Citations (Photos 1, 2 & 3): Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

 

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Crabapples

Posted on October 17, 2017 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Crabapples are small deciduous trees with a broad and open crown. Apples and Crabapples are in the rose family, Rosaceae, in the genus Malus. Crabapples are differentiated from Apples based on fruit size. If fruit is two inches in diameter or less, it is termed a Crabapple. If the fruit is larger than two inches, it is classified as an Apple. The height of Crabapples ranges greatly from 6- 50 feet depending on the variety and the growing conditions, however most average in the 15-25 ft range. There are currently 35 species and over 700 cultivated varieties of Crabapples recorded.

 

 

Image Citation (Crabapple in bloom-Left & Right): Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org

 

The fragrant flowers are white with a hint of pink or sometimes all pink. Growing in clusters of flowers that appear with the new leaves. Crabapple flowers may be single (5 petals), semi-double (6 to 10 petals) or double (more than 10 petals). Single-flowered Crabapple varieties tend to bloom earlier than semi-double or double-flowered varieties. Actual dates of blossoming can vary each year depending on weather conditions. The length of time in bloom, can range from 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the variety and weather conditions.

 

 

Image Citation (Southern Crabapple Flowers Purple and White): Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

 

The leaves are coarsely toothed and green in color. In the fall the leaves change in color, the colors range from yellow to orange, red to purple. The falling leaves reveal the still attached fruits offering another level of interest.

The Crabapples fruit is small, long stalked and rather sour in flavor. They are yellow-green in color an grow in clusters of 3 to 4. The fruit is rarely eaten raw as it is sour, bitter and sometimes woody in texture. However in some Asian cultures it is used and valued as a sour condiment. There are few varieties that are sweet though not as common as the sour varieties.

 

 

Image Citation (Crabapple Illustration): Zelimir Borzan, University of Zagreb, Bugwood.org

 

Crabapple has been listed as one of the 38 plants that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, an alternative medicine practice promoted for its effect on health. Though this has not been scientifically proven to date.

The Crabapple grows commonly in forest clearings and near streams in the Eastern United States (but not very far North). Ornamental varieties are grown throughout the United States in many Landscapes. Crabapple trees are fairly drought tolerant. They can be low maintenance and versatile landscape plants, and offer more than one season of interest between their flowers, fruit, and changing leaf colors.

 

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The West Indian Mahogany - Swietenia mahagoni

Posted on October 3, 2017 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

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.

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.

 

 

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"Sweetbay Magnolia" - Magnolia virginiana

Posted on September 26, 2017 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (2)

The "Sweetbay Magnolia" - Magnolia virginiana - is native to the Eastern/Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions of the United States, with it's highest "natural" numbers occuring in the South Eastern States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. It grows naturally most commonly in poorly drained or highly acidic soils that are often subject to flooding. This tree has a vase shaped growth habit and generally reaches 10-20 feet tal at maturity. It is considered a medium to fast grower, gaining an average of 12-24 inches per year when young.

 

Though it is not as showy as it's counterparts (the more commonly planted ornamental Magnolia's) it offers great interest from May - Late June when it is in bloom. After the initial bloom, some flowers will often continue to sporadically appear late into the summer season, disappearing before the first frost. The blooms are a creamy white in color, highly fragrant and 2-3 inches in diameter. The scent of the flowers is often compared to a light lemon or citrus scent. When the flowers disappear the "fruit" appears in the form of red-orange cones often growing in clusters. This fruit is eaten by a wide variety of animals including Squirrels, Mice, Turkey, Quail and many Songbirds.

 

The leaves are simple oval shape with a slight point at each end (lanceolate). They are a glossy dark green in color with a lighter silvery underside. In some areas of the United States, the leaves are retained throughout the year, because of this it is considered to be semi-evergreen.

 

The Sweetbay Magnolia is hardy in USDA zones 5-9. Some cultavars found at local nurseries may include the Southern (australis), Henry Hicks, and Moonglow.

 

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The Dotted Hawthorn (Crataegus punctata)

Posted on September 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The Dotted Hawthorn (Crataegus punctata) is a small deciduous tree that grows to heights of around 30 feet at maturity. It generally grows with a single erect trunk with branched thorns and a broad flat topped crown. It is native to the North Eastern United States from NB to Minnesota in the North through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina in the South. The Dotted Hawthorn generally forms large colonies and is one of the more common Hawthorns found in the Northeast.

 

The Dotted Hawthorn is best identifed by it's dull green leaves and indented veins, pale ashy bark and spotted pommes. The pale ashy bark is grey and has plate like scales, The branches are a pale grey and are covered in grey thorns that are between 2-8cm long. The leaves are alternate simple and obvate or elliptic in shape, thin and firm with 7-10 pairs of lateral veins that narrow at the base. The upper surface is a dull green and hairy when young. The flower is 13-20 mm in diameter with white circular petals surrounding around 20 stamens. The flowers appear in early Summer season. The fruit is a red, burgundy or yellow pome that matures in early Fall.

 

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The Sweet Birch or Cherry Birch (Betula lenta)

Posted on September 14, 2017 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (1)

The Sweet Birch or Cherry Birch (Betula lenta) is most easily recognized by the combination of fine and sharply toothed leaf margins, winter green scent, scales on the conelike fruit and dark brown almost black bark. It is a deciduous tree that can reach heights up to 65 feet, but usually does not exceed 3.5 feet in diameter. The tree grows in an upright form with a generally single eract straight trunk and a rounded crown. The Sweet or Cherry Birch is native to the United States. It prefers rich, moist soil, cool forest areas, mountain slopes, Appalachian hardwood forests. It can be found naturally occuring from New York and Maine in the North to Northern Georgia, Alabama and Central Mississippi in the South. It is not often confused with the closely related Yellow Birch as the bark is significantly different in not only color but texture as well (Yellow Birch has a yellowish exfolliating bark).

 

 

The bark of the Sweet/Cherry Birch is a dark gray brown to brown black in color, it is smooth when young becoming furrowed with age. The twigs exude a winter green aroma and taste when scraped or injured. The leaves are alternate, simple, paperlike in texture, obvate and and heart shaped at the base. The leaf margins are finely and sharply toothed. The upper surface is a dark green while the lower surface is a more pale green. The flowers occur in make and female catkins, the male are reddish brown and 7-10 cm long, while the female are pale green and 1.5-2.5 m long both occur in the late Spring. The fruit is a winged samara born in a scaly erect egg shaped structure that matures in late Summer or early Fall.

 

 

 

 

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The Avocado - Persea americana

Posted on August 18, 2017 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (1)

The Avocado - Persea americana - tree is a very desirable ornamental, native only to the subtropical areas of Mexico and Central America. The growing conditions must be It's fruit is often included on the seemingly growing list of "super foods", it is very high in vitamin K & B and also contains C, D & Potassium. High Avocado intake was shown in one study to lower blood cholesterol levels.

 

 

 

 

 

With an average height of just 65 feet, it is a medium sized grower. When planted in pots it is necessary to re-pot quite often as they quickly outgrow small areas. The leaves are an elongated oval shape, deep green in color with a slight sheen on the top. The fruits are either pear or egg shaped with green skin that can range from mid green to almost a black-green and pale green inside. Avocado skin, bark and pits are harmful to many animals and have been recorded to cause severe reactions to dogs, cats, cattle and rabbits. The meat of the Avocado is smooth in texture and is often compared to butter in flavor. It is very often used in Vegetarian cuisine as a meat substitute because of it's high fat content. It is also commonly used in California Rolls, Guacamole, Sandwiches, Salads, Soups and Sauces. Commercially in the United States, Haas Avocados are the most known/marketed type even thought there are dozen of other cultivars grown worldwide.

 

Avocado fruits are climacteric, meaning they mature on the tree but don't ripen until taken off. They will only ripen if mature, so if picked early the ripening process will not occur. The Banana is another fruit in the climacteric category. Most Avocado crops produce the best crops bi-annually with poor yields in the off or in between years. Once off of the tree the fruit will ripen within a two week period, if left on the tree to long the fruit will eventually fall off on it's own. Avocados can be grown from seed, although it will take the new plantings 4-6 years to mature and bear fruit. Indoors you can also grow Avocados from the pits in water, holding them near the surface with toothpicks, once the stem reaches an inch or two you can transfer it to soil.

 

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Common Apple - Malus pumila

Posted on August 17, 2017 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Common Apple - Malus pumila - Trees are small deciduous trees in the Rosaceae family with a single erect trunk and low hanging branches that often reach the ground. Sometimes also called Paradise Apple, this is the Apple of commerce. Numerous cultivars have been selected from this genus for taste, size, shape and color. Fruits of wild plants are often of lesser quality then those that are tended to in orchards. Other varieties of Apples and Crab Apples have smaller fruit and thorny twigs.

 

The fragrant flowers are white with a hint of pink or sometimes all pink. Flower have 5 petals and appear with the new leaves in mid - late Spring. The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, oval or elliptic with a bluntly pointed tip. The upper leaf surface is a deep green hairy when young, becoming hairless with age. The fruit is round or slightly ellipsoid pome, green when young becoming red with maturity. The fruit matures in Summer to Early Fall annually.

 

Growing commonly in forest clearings, near streams in the Eastern United States (but not very far to the North or Gulf Coast region). Ornamental varieties are grown throughout the majority of the United States. It is believed that the Common Apple was originally introduced from Asia or Europe but has naturalized in many areas within it's hardiness zones.

 

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