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Interest in tree identification?

 
 
Foofie
 
Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 03:54 pm
I have this interest in being able to identify the names of different trees. I decided it enhanced long walks, to be able to identify the trees passed.

Is this a common interest, or am I just an expatriate bird watcher?
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 04:02 pm
I'm always pretty surprised when people don't know their local trees, as I tended to even as a kid - but then I'm pretty visually oriented, and am clueless on lots of other things. I became later in life someone who could identify hundreds of trees in my state, but even then I had trouble nabbing some of those I saw - and I'm to some extent a stranger in a strange land when I travel, though that's fun for me.

You might want to take an actual course in plant identification, or, of course, you might not. Plant i.d. was a four quarter set of courses in our landscape architecture program, and anyone could take those classes. So.. you might check what is available for you in your area if you are interested. Or, do it yourself.. good exercise, interesting...


Now I'm waaay older, not so much driven to nail down what every tree is, am more interested in how they're all doing, how they're used by people in gardens and cities, how they look in natural habitat, yadda yadda. Oh, yeah, and just their beauty for itself.
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Foofie
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 04:28 pm
Thank you for the input. I like the idea that many trees were here when my grandparents were children, or way before. A tree's longevity is fascinating to me; not to mention their ability to brave the elements.

Not to sound too morose, but one day they will be my only companion.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 04:39 pm
With luck, as a lot of trees are in deep trouble. Read some dreadful article just the other day.. Back with a link if I remember where I read that particular article.

You live in NYC or vicinity, don't you? I bet there are central park plant i.d. tours...

or if there aren't there should be.

Or NYU or CCNY or Columbia would have courses.. (guessing)
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 04:47 pm
Well, here's the article, if you can find a Dec. 10, 2007 New Yorker.

This is only an abstract and doesn't convey the more general import...

for example, the threat to the sugar maples in the north east...

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/12/10/071210fa_fact_preston
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 05:22 pm
After I went to Australia I became interested in tree identification. Before I went I knew a maple from an oak, but not so much the difference between a red maple and a silver maple. I spent some time with a tree book, my mother (a certified landscape designer). I spend a lot of time at places which tag trees like Mount Auburn Cemetery and The Arnold Arboretum. I'm much better, but I am still at a loss often.
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Green Witch
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 05:41 pm
Foofie, take a few trips to the New York Botanical Gardens and just walk around, the trees are labelled. You can also purchase a book like "Dirr's Guide to Trees and Shrubs" or a field guide to trees from the Peterson series.

Sadly, Osso is correct about many trees being in trouble. The butternut is on it's way to extinction because of a fungus, the ash is under attact by a fungus and the Hemlock is being destroyed by an aphid that is spreading northward due to climate change. The aphid can only survive in warm zone 5's or warmer, more areas north of NYC are becoming zone 6 and thus the aphid is on the move. The sugar maple is also in decline due to warmer winters and an Asian pest known as the long horned beetle is on the loose. Oak populations on the west coast are crashing because of diseases and pines are on the deline because of pine borer. I could go on, but it's too depressing.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 05:45 pm
I was wondering about the botanical garden, Green Witch.

The one here in albuquerque is absurdly absent of i.d. markers. Well, there are a few, here and there.

Yes, Dirr's, definitely.
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 05:46 pm
Sugar maples are also being killed by acid rain leaching calcium from the ground around their roots - or so I heard.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 05:54 pm
Oh, and aspens and other poplars are in trouble as well...
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Foofie
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 08:46 pm
What I find interesting is walking down a residential block and coming across a huge tree that looks like it should be in a forest, yet it stands in front of a plain one family home. I can't help but feel that that tree has a relationship with that family and any prior families that lived in the house.

The tree in effect has been part of that family in some way.
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Green Witch
 
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Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 09:52 pm
I understand what you are saying about the history. I live in a 200 year old house with an oak tree that is probably the same age. I have a picture of the previous owner getting married under the oak tree in the 1920's. I have another photo of her holding a puppy under the tree along with a basket of apples that was probably taken in the late 1930's. Another photo with that tree is from the 1940's and shows a young man in a WWII uniform. I have never been able to ID the soldier, but he was probably a relative of the previous owner (she had no children) or that of a neighbor.The oak has seen a total of 6 homeowners going back to the early 1800's, including me. My nieces and nephews have played under that oak, all our dogs have all snoozed under it, I found a couple of Indianhead pennies within it's roots and I sat under it 15 years ago pondering wether or not to buy the property and change my life. Part of the reason I decided to purchase the property was for the mature trees. I am very grateful that some person from the past appreciated having trees around, and now I can enjoy them some 200 years later.
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Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Dec, 2007 08:05 am
Green Witch wrote:
I understand what you are saying about the history. I live in a 200 year old house with an oak tree that is probably the same age. I have a picture of the previous owner getting married under the oak tree in the 1920's. I have another photo of her holding a puppy under the tree along with a basket of apples that was probably taken in the late 1930's. Another photo with that tree is from the 1940's and shows a young man in a WWII uniform. I have never been able to ID the soldier, but he was probably a relative of the previous owner (she had no children) or that of a neighbor.The oak has seen a total of 6 homeowners going back to the early 1800's, including me. My nieces and nephews have played under that oak, all our dogs have all snoozed under it, I found a couple of Indianhead pennies within it's roots and I sat under it 15 years ago pondering wether or not to buy the property and change my life. Part of the reason I decided to purchase the property was for the mature trees. I am very grateful that some person from the past appreciated having trees around, and now I can enjoy them some 200 years later.


Thank you for relating the history. The oak in some way has given continuity to the land these many people were part of. Or, in some way, it has connected owners of the property to each other; each has been a steward of that oak.
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