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The Major Oak - English Oak - Quercus Robur

Posted on November 1, 2018 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)" target="_blank">

Dawn Redwood - Metasequoia glyptostrobboides

Posted on December 31, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (2)

Thought to once be extinct until it's rediscovery in 1944, the Dawn Redwood - Metasequoia glyptostrobboides - is the smallest of all Redwoods. Reaching a max recorded height of 200 feet at maturity - it is still a giant tree by normal standards. It is native only to the Hubei province of China, but is now planted widely as an ornamental in both residential and commercial landscape settings. Seeds collected from an expedition performed by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University were sent in 1948 to all of the botanical institutions that were active at the time. These seeds were planted in 1948-50 and many remain growing in botanical gardens and parks today. The largest specimens remaining from this mass seed planting are (1) at The Bailey Arboretum on Long Island, (2) at James Blair Hall in Willamsburg, VA, (2) near Carnegie Lake in Princeton, NJ, (1) at Willow Wood, NJ, (1) Washington Arboretum in Seattle, (1) at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum, CA.




Fossils have shown that during the Paleocene and Eocene periods there were vast forests of Dawn Redwood ( and other metasequoia varieties) throughout the northern portion of North America. In Badlands National Park large petrified trunks and stumps of the Metasequoia occidentalis a very similar tree in this same family that is now extinct, make up the major portion of Tertiary fossil plant material in the badlands of western North Dakota. Upon rediscovery the Dawn Redwood was hailed as a living fossil as the taxon was believed to have become extinct during the late Miocene period. This tree is very unique in the fact that it lived along side the Dinosaurs and has survived, a feat that is limited to very living things.




The Dawn Redwood is a fast growing deciduous tree that can grow up to 4 feet in a single year. The leaves are small and feathery and similar in appearance to the Bald Cypress, they are green on top in the Spring changing to and orange to reddish brown in the Fall. It differs from the Bald Cypress in the leaves and shoots being opposite one another, the crown being more open and the individual leaves being larger, broader and opening two months earlier in most areas. Although it is closely related to the Giant Redwoods it is deciduous like the Bald Cypress and often compared to both. It is recommended to be planted in zones 5-8. They make for a great shade tree but be aware when planting that they grow very tall and average 75-100 feet with a spread on average of 25 feet, in most settings. They enjoy full sunlight and grow in a pyramidal shape. Their branches provide great habitat and winter protection for many varities of animal & birds. They are available at some larger nurseries, if you can not find one locally they can also be purchased directly from The Arbor Day Foundation








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Meet The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England

Posted on October 31, 2017 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (2)

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:


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.


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The President's Park

Posted on March 1, 2017 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The President's Park is made up of the lands that surround the White House, equaling just over 82 acres. The Park includes two trails, one to the North of the White House and one to the South as well as many statues and memorials in honor of our past President's, First Ladies, as well as Military and other Memorials signifying different events and people who have helped shape our nation. Both trails begin at the White House Visitor Center, which is located at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington D.C. On both trails you will have great views of the White House, the home and office of the President of the United States and first family. The Park also contains the Ellipse (a large open area surrounded by an oval drive), Haupt Fountains, The Boy Scout Memorial, The National Christmas Tree and The Second Division Memorial - just to name a few.


Many trees have been planted within the park by various Presidents and First Ladies during their time at the White House. Below is a list of each tree, it's planter as well as a number to identify it on the map below. Not included on this Map is The National Christmas Tree, Originally planted in 1923, it has moved locations around the grounds as it's predecessors have declined.


1. Southern Magnolia - Warren G. Harding

2. Southern Magnolia - Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden

4. Willow Oak - Ronald Reagan

5. Little Leaf Linden - George Bush

6. White Dogwoods x 2 - Hillary Rodham Clinton

7. White Pine - Gerald R. Ford

8. Eastern Redbud - George Bush

9. Northern Red Oak - Dwight D. Eisenhower

10. Patmore Ash - George Bush

11. Purple Beech - George Bush

12. American Elms - John Quincy Adams / George Bush

13.White Oak - Herbert Hoover

14. Willow Oak - Hillary Rodham Clinton

15. Japanese Maple - Jimmy Carter

16. Japanese Maple - Grover Cleveland

17. American Elm - William J. Clinton

18. Children's Garden - Lyndon B. Johnson

19. White Dogwood x 3 - Hillary Rodham Clinton

20. Cedar of Lebanon - Jimmy Carter

21. White Oak - Herbert Hoover

22. Pin Oak - Dwight D. Eisenhower

23. Little Leaf Linden - William J. Clinton

24. Little Leaf Linden - Franklin D. Roosevelt

25. Willow Oak - Lyndon B. Johnson

26. Saucer Magnolia x 4 - John F. Kennedy

27. Rose Garden

28. Southern Magnolia x 2 - Andrew Jackson

29. Sugar Maple - Ronald Reagan

30. Fern Leaf Beech - Richard M. Nixon

31. Fern Leaf Beech - Lyndon B. Johnson

32. American Elm - Gerald R. Ford

33. American Boxwood - Harry S. Truman

34. Red Maple - Jimmy Carter

35. White Saucer Magnolia x 2 - Ronald Reagan

36. White Oak - Franklin D. Roosevelt

37. Scarlet Oak - Benjamin Harrison







Image Citations: The White House Historic Guide

(The White House Historical Association- Visitors Guide Circa 2001)


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The Ohio Buckeye- Aesculus glabra

Posted on February 15, 2017 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The Ohio Buckeye- Aesculus glabra - is a medium sized rounded crown Deciduous tree. Growing to only 20-40 feet tall at maturity, it has a moderate growth rate. It is the most widespread of all of the Buckeyes in North America. It's range is on mostly mesophytic sites through Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Southern Michigan on West to Illinois and Central Iowa, extending South to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Central Texas; East into portions of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama. This tree thrives best in moist locations and is most frequently found along river bottoms and in streambank soils. It has been planted frequently outside of it's native range in Europe and the Eastern United States. Different from the other Buckeyes because of two main features, first the leaflets have barely any visible stalk and second the husk of the fruit has short spines. The Ohio Buckeye is sometimes referred to as the American Buckeye, Fetid buckeye, and Stinking Buck-eye, the last because of the foul odor emitted when the leaves are crushed.


Ohio Buckeye is polygamo-monoecious, meaning it bears both bisexual and male flowers. The leaves are made up of unevenly toothed leaflets that all grow from the same point on the stem, they are green during the growing season and turn an almost grey when shifting finally to wyellow in the Fall. The flowers are a yellow-green with prominent stamens growing as upright spikes. The bark is dark grey with shallow but coarse fissures leading into square scaly plates. It flowers in the Spring and fruits from summer to fall. This tree also produces small, shiny, dark brown nuts with a lighter tan patch




"Buckeyes" has been the official Ohio State nickname since 1950, but it had been in common use for many years before. According to folklore, the Buckeye resembles the eye of a deer and carrying one brings good luck.




Recommended for Hardiness Zones 3-7, Buckeyes are found in larger nurseries within their growth range.


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The Yellowwood State Forest - Nashville Indiana (Where they have Boulders in their trees!)

Posted on October 29, 2016 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

In the quaint village of Nashville, Indiana near the Brown County State Park lies the Yellowwood State Forest. The Yellowwood State forest was organized in 1940 when federal lands were leased to the state of Indiana, this land was eventually deeded to the state in 1956. Over the years more then 2000 acres of abandoned and eroded lands within the Parks footprint have been planted with various Pines (jack, red, shortleaf, white and scotch), Black Locust, Black Walnut, White and Red Oaks. The Yellowwood Lake which covers 133 acres and is 30 feet deep at it's deepest point was completed in 1939, there are two other lakes within the park though much smaller in size (Bear Lake and Crooked Creek Lake). Over the years the Yellowwood State Forest has increased in size by gaining parcels of land through the Heritage Trust Program. Their are many activities to enjoy while visiting the Park including Fishing (a boat launch is located in the South end of the main lake), Hunting (Whitetail Deer, Ruffed Grouse, Turkey, Squirrel, Fox, Woodcock and Raccoon-valid Indiana Hunting license required), Primitive Camping, Horsemen's Camping (many miles of horse trails within the park), Gold Panning (must have permit), Hiking, Kayak/Canoe Rental and Picnicking. Today the Forest covers 23,326 acres, made up of 17 different areas all located within Brown County.

Yellowwood State Forest Map, Image Citation: Yellowwood State Park


The park was named for a tree common in the mid-south but rare in the area that is found growing in the park. The Yellowwood Tree - Cladrastis kentukea is a medium sized deciduous member of the legume family. With it's smooth elephant grey bark, pendulous fragrant flowers, and red/brown stems it offers beauty to any landscape year round. It is native to the Eastern United States, most notably two very small areas, one runs along the Kentucky and Tennessee border, and the other between Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. It is commonly planted in landscapes from New England south to Washington DC & Virginia. Yellowwood is hardy from zones 4a to 8b and can be purchased from most large nurseries in the Eastern US. The leaves are composed of widely spaced leaflets that are alternate not opposite one another. There are usually 9-11 leaflets per leaf. The leaves are a yellow green in Spring, bright green by Summer and then Yellow in the Fall. The wood of this tree contains a Yellow dye which stains the heartwood, hence the name Yellowwood. The flowers of the Yellowwood are very similar to Wisteria, they grow in a pendulous form and feature white fragrant flowers. The flowers are small and grow on open panicles ranging from 10-15 inches long. They are considered to be highly fragrant and appear in May. The flowers give way to long brown seed pods as the Spring Summer season changes. When mature this tree can reach heights of 30-50 feet and a spread of 40-55 feet wide. It is considered to be virtually pest free and quite hardy in it's native range. This tree is easily transplanted in B&B or bare root up to 2 inches in caliper. The Society of Municipal Arborist's named this tree the "2015 Urban Tree Of The Year", this selection was made based on it's adaptability and strong ornamental traits. Within the park there are less than 200 acres that can support the Yellowwood tree, these can be found on North facing slopes and deep ravines near Crooked Creek Lake. A specimen can also be found planted at the Forest Office on Yellowwood Lake Road.


Within the Yellowwood Forest there are some unique features. One of which is the Tecumseh Trail, named in honor of the Shawnee Chief who in the early 1800's attempted to ally several smaller tribes into one large confederacy. The trail spans the native lands of these tribes and has 5 trail heads within the forest. The trail covers various types of terrain and offers beautiful views of the Forest and Lakes. The second and most unusual is the 4 large sandstone boulders that are found not on the ground but in the canopies of Oak trees. It is said that the first boulder was originally discovered by a hunter and three more were discovered by hikers. The largest sandstone slab is 4 foot by 1 foot and thought to weigh as much as 400 lbs. Theories the boulders in trees phenomena range from natural things such as flooding or a tornado to the more extreme (or maybe unbelievable) including UFO's, Acoustic Levitation (where a rock becomes weightless), or even a good old Fraternity Prankster using heavy machinery, we may never know! No evidence of disturbance was found at any of the tree locations that would support the heavy machinery or tornado theories.

By Elizabeth Carey [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons




You can find the Yellowwood State Forest at:

772 South Yellowwood Road

Nashville, IN 47448

(812) 988-7945



Ashikaga Flower Park in Japan

Posted on May 31, 2016 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Japan’s largest wisteria located in Ashikaga Flower Park in Japan, is certainly not the largest in the world, but it still measures in at an impressive half an acre and dates back to around 1870. Is also referred to as the most beautiful Wisteria in the World. The blooms range in color from pale red, purple, yellow and white depending on variety.

Description from : "Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture is famous for its wisteria blossoms. Elaborate supports to the three big wisteria trees cover an area of about 1,000㎡. The best times to visit Ashikaga Flower Park is from mid April to mid May. It is a truly unique attraction; the blossom starts with light pink blooms first in the season, followed by purple wisteria, white and then yellow. Just before you decide to visit the park, I recommend to check the official website for the latest status of the blossoms."

Image Citations (Photos 1 & 2):" target="_blank"> &


This is not the home of the largest Wisteria vine in the world, the record holder measures in at about 4,000 square meters, and is located in Sierra Madre, California. Although wisterias can look like trees, they’re actually vines. Because the vines have the potential to get very heavy, these particular plants entire structures are held up on steel supports, allowing visitors to walk below their canopies and bask in the pink and purple light cast by its beautiful hanging blossoms.


Price for entry into the park depends on the season and what/how many plants are in bloom. The Wisteria bloom in Ashikaga Flower Park from April to May annually. The park is a popular tourist destination so be sure to plan your visit well. For more on Ashikaga Flower Park in Japan visit the parks website (English Version) or in person


Ashikaga Flower Park

329-4216 Tochigi Prefecture

Totigi [Tochigi] 329-4216 Japan



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Meet the "Giant Sequoia" - Sequoiadendron giganteum

Posted on January 18, 2016 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

The "Giant Sequoia" - Sequoiadendron giganteum - is most well known for it's sheer size. They are the largest single living thing on the planet, growing on average from 164-297 feet tall in ideal conditions. They are also among the oldest with some being recorded (based on ring measurements) at over 3500 years old. They grow in a very small native area on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Generally the Giant Sequoias grow in groves or natural stands, currently their are only 68 known groves that exist. Groves range in size from 6-20,000 trees each. Giant Sequoias have been successfully grown outside of their native range in The Pacific Northwest, Southern United States, Western & Southern Europe, British Columbia, Southeast Australia and New Zealand. There are some specimen trees planted in parks and private lands around the world that reach great heights (191 feet is record outside of the US near Ribeauvillé, France), but none nearly as grand as the Giants growing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.


Image Citation (Yosemite General): Brian Lockhart, USDA Forest Service,


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,


Over time, the Giant Sequoias have developed a resistance to fire damage. The first way is because their extremely thick bark is almost impenetrable to fire damage. Secondly the heat from fire causes the cones to dry and then open, disbursing seeds which will go onto become new seedlings repopulating what may have been lost below. Fire damage also wipes out any small ground cover that may have competed for sunlight and nutrients the new seedlings require to thrive. On their own without help from fires the Giant Sequoias seed have trouble germinating as shade loving species tend to choke the new seeds out.


The leaves are evergreen, awl shaped 0.12-0.24 inches in length and arranged spirally on each shoot. The bark is very furrowed, thick and fibrous. The seed cones are 1.5-2.8 inches long and mature in 18-20 months, though they usually remain closed and green for upwards of twenty years. Cones are made up of 30-50 spirally arranged scales, each scale containing several seeds. Each individual cone can produce approximately 230 seeds each. Seedlings grow from seeds but do not begin to produce cones until at least their 12th year. Once mature the tree does not produce shoots on their stumps as the Coast Redwood does, they do however sprout from boles after fire damage.


Image Citation (Bark looking Up) Caleb Slemmons, National Ecological Observatory Network,



Image Citation (General Sherman): Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service,

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:

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Joshua Tree National Park - California

Posted on January 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The Joshua Tree national park is approximately 800,000 acres, the park is made up of a very diverse ecosystem and is located in Southeastern California. The park itself did not become a National Park until1994, however it has been protected as a US Monument since 1936. Named for it's Joshua Trees Yucca brevifolia which grow in the dryer and cooler Mohave Desert areas of the park. The Joshua trees grow in both forest type areas as well as sparce single specimens. The Joshua Trees are the dominant tree in the open areas of the park, however the Pinyon Pine is more common in the areas where there are rock outcroppings. Joshua trees are often described as something that should be found in a Dr. Suess story, they are often twisted or curvy, not quite symetrical, with a top heavy appearance and usually a single trunk. Within the park the tallest tree is forty feet high, it is located within the Queen Valley Forest. Joshua trees do not have growth rings, but instead their trunks are made up of thousands of small fibers which makes it harder to gauge the age of each tree. The best way to determine the age of a Joshua Tree is to estimate based on it height as they are very slow growers and only grow 1/2 - 3 inches per year. Researchers estimate that the life span of the Joshua tree is only about 150, however there are specimens within this park that far exceed that age.



Image Citation: Greg Bartman, USDA APHIS PPQ,



More then half of the park is considered to be wilderness area. The park includes parts of two very unique deserts, The Mohave (higher) and the Colorado (lower) Deserts, Mountain Terrain, Various Rock Formations, Five Oases as well as flatlands. The characteristics of each desert is greatly influenced by the elevations where they are located. The Little San Bernardino Mountains also run through the Southwest portion of the Park. Day by day and area to area the appearance of the park can greatly and rapidly change, with very quick (yet sparce) downpours coming from what seems like out of no where, to high winds, to calm dry desert days that seem to have no end. Sometimes the plants look dry and dead but most are just waiting for the next rain to come to bring them back to life. Only 158 naturally occuring Palm Oases are found in North America, 5 of them are within the Joshua Tree National Parks boundaries. Generally occuring along fault lines where impermeable rocks force groundwater to the surface, a Oasis provides constant water to what would otherwise be a constantly dry and arrid area.




Image Citation: Greg Bartman, USDA APHIS PPQ,


There is so much to do here withing this beautiful park. Hiking, Biking, Rock Climbing, Camping, Birding and Star Gazing to name a few. There are nine campgrounds within the park. There is a fee for camping and reservations can be made in some campgrounds October through May, while the other campgrounds are first-come, first-served basis.  Backcountry camping, is also permitted with a few regulations be sure to check wiht the park for more details on this option. As far as hiking, riding and lookout points go there are too many sites to list in this amazingly beautiful National Park, just to name a few there are: Keys View, Indian Cove, Hidden Valley, Cholla Cactus Garden, Contact Mine, Fortynine Palms Oasis, Lost Horse Mine, Lost Pine Oasis, California Riding and Hiking Trail (a 35 mile portion falls within the park), Rattlesnake Canyon, Barker Dam, Saltan Sea, Ryan Mountain, Warren Peak, and various Native American sites (some of which have been closed to the public over the years due to damage from vandals).



 Image Citation: "Joshua Tree National Park 2013" by Tuxyso / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Despite the landscape that may seem barren at times, many types of wildlife call Joshua Tree National Park home including various lizards, coyote, kangaroo rats, blacktailed rabbits, bighorned sheep, ground squirels and other small rodents. There are also an estimated 250 varieties of birds that have been spotted throughout the park including many migrating species during the Winter season. It is also estimated that the park is home to thousands of Anthropods (creatures with multiple legs, segmented bodies and hardened outer shelled) the most notable residents of this variety include tarantulas, honey pot ants, fairy shrimp, giant desert scorpions and green darners. There are at least 75 different types of butterflies and more then twice that number of moths.


Learn more about this amazing National Park & plan your visit or


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