This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trees at North Campus housing

GreenStreet Tree Care has been trimming trees around the North Campus housing units at Northwoods I, II and III, so I've gotten to know the greenery around there a bit. The original landscape architect obviously had an affection for choice but underutilized woody materials. Quite a few katuras, yellow-woods, tupelos and the odd species of maple. Another species he selected is the rarely-seen (around here) chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia). (This is different species than the common and weedy siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) that was foisted on the public as a replacement for the American elm.) 

So here's a picture from North Campus. Interesting exfoliating bark which is highly variable depending on age. Very small leaves -- but typical elm shape with the asymmetrical leaf base. And twigs that seem to do the little jog left-right or right-left between buds, which I also identify with elms (and Tilia). In my experience, the crowns are open and cast only light shade.

Meanwhile, in the back yards of some houses along a short street in the Gladstone/Independence area, the low topography and rich soil combined to provide suitable conditions for some very impressive specimens of bitternut hickory (Carya illinoensis), one of those trees you'd see a lot more of if all that rich habitat hadn't been claimed for "higher use" (i.e., farming) all those one or two centuries ago. Even people who work around trees for a living might be stumped as to their identity. Very distinct sulfur-colored buds, and a bark pattern that resembles shoe laces lined up on their flat sides. Anyway, these lovely trees were intermixed with black walnuts.
And meanwhile, along Arborview, I had to stop and take a mug shot of this maple. Well, my experience tells me that the browned out section is dead, but I couldn't see any reason for it. I suppose maybe drought-related sudden oak death toxic-shock syndrome. Or something else. At least that. 


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