The old redbud Wednesday, May 3 2017 

Each year we think will be its last. I think it will survive at this point until there is a catastrophic structural failure. Strategic supports and dedicated pruning of all dead or really weak wood have so far staved off the inevitable.

Survivor Saturday, Mar 19 2016 

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Sugar Maples can stand a lot, this one actually is still alive and it looked like it was going to leaf out once more.  At some point the structure will fail (that entire center section is heavy, water logged dead wood), but until then it won’t die.

Winter Magnolia Tuesday, Feb 9 2016 

We tend to focus on leaves and flowers in order to identify trees; but in fact it is the branch and twig pattern that is really helpful.  It is also the pattern that we see for at least half of the year.  Here is the big Cucumber Magnolia looking just as pretty in the winter as in the summer, with its characteristic open, curving up, smooth twigs:

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Lost Giant Sunday, Jan 24 2016 

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Determination Thursday, Jan 21 2016 

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There is, sadly no scale in this image, but suffice it that a man a bit over six feet can easily stand beneath this tree which has a diameter of about 8 inches where the ‘trunk’ actually starts.

It might be better to ask what this is?  This is a perfectly well formed black birch actually, much healthier than its compatriots of the same age growing around it.  It has a nice full and balanced crown.  It just started in a slightly unusual location.  Namely at the top of a pine snag about eight feet tall.

This second picture shows its growth clearly. You can see through the old snag, which provides no structural support at all.

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One can see where the legends of walking trees come from.  Fancy meeting this in woods (once the snag falls out) on a moonlight night?

Acorns Monday, Nov 9 2015 

I managed a short jaunt in our own woods today. First time in awhile.

I was pleased to see that the ‘Big Three’ oaks (red, white, and black) all looked pretty good for their age. There are other oaks of course, but these three are old, open grown oaks along the wood track, beautiful trees full of character. Very few acorns under them though. I’d like to know who ate them. Either someone did, or they are the only ones in the state that didn’t Have acorns this year. The north lawn is like walking on marbles right now thanks to the two black oaks on it. It will be a bore to rake it next spring, I am sure.

What makes the lack of acorns more puzzling is the relative scarcity of deer sign in the area. I know we don’t have that many turkeys, a decent flock but not massive. Though, I did observe them cleaning up under another of our white oaks.  Or maybe it is the bear…though I didn’t see any sign of him, either.  Which is just fine.

Bit of a pity, since I was sort of hoping to get a few acorns and give a shot at sprouting them for planting. But, I don’t need another project anyway! Besides, where would I plant them at the moment?

Road Closed Thursday, Oct 29 2015 

We had some gusty wind today, enough to knock things over at times. Apparently one of these victims was this big red oak. A perfectly healthy tree, but perhaps just too much crown to hold. Far be it from me to figure out why this tree would go over and not any number of others. This one was well balanced with no discernible rot (even after the fact and looking at the base). It squished the white oak next to it as well, which is a pity since I always liked that white oak: it had character. I’ll be interested to see what the town does or does not cut and how, since that is a very nice section of oak there.  Past history suggests someone will run off with it. Though, it is large enough that they may not.

The road is sixteen feet wide, for scale.

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Stubborn Trees Wednesday, May 20 2015 

It is remarkable how some trees will manage to grow and adapt!


Surprisingly, these two maples aren’t that old: c. 1940 at the earliest.


This Black Birch is particularly interesting; the horizontal section is the original stem, when the stone it was growing over rotated (or it rotated the stone) the tree was forced to change direction by ninety degrees. It is possible that the extreme angle of the elbow was encouraged by cutting or other damage, since the surrounding area was logged.

Tulip Tree! Thursday, Dec 18 2014 

Out of season, but I was looking for something else and came across this photo of the tulip tree looking like, well, a tulip this fall! They are lovely, fast growing, potentially massive trees. It is probably the ‘massive’ part that makes them a bit difficult for people these days. The New York Botanical Garden has an allee of single trunked, mature specimens which is just spectacular.

Around here, they are very common in the woods: eighty feet straight up with nary a curve. This one, for whatever reason, developed a low double leader, which may limit its height. Not a bad thing, they can hit 120 feet, which even for me is a bit of a muchness. This one is perhaps forty five years old and is about sixty five feet tall.


Old and new Wednesday, Dec 10 2014 

The old red maple beyond the garden, one of the few survivors from the original early 1800’s line, has a precarious life. It split many years ago and now exists as a carefully balanced, dancing, tree. Someday it will fall. And someday the two young beeches which bracket it will fill the space, now far larger than those little two foot tall, struggling saplings that I transplanted many years ago. For now the old maple rises above the golden beeches still.


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