Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tree Self Education

On the fourth, Byron and I spent the day scoping out our new piece of property and trying to find all of the boundary posts the surveyor established.  There is a total of 21 acres and most of it is densely forested.  Animal trails criss cross the property, and the old logging road that cuts it's way diagonally across it is dotted with their tracks.
In an effort to really get the feel of the land, I spent the day just observing the lay and aspects of the land without making any immediate decisions like,  "Oh, here is where we'll put the cabin!", or "There is a perfect place for a small pasture."   This is more difficult than it seems.  But....the first order of business in establishing a permaculture garden (which I plan to do here since I will not be here that often) is to learn what nature is already doing here.  How does the water flow?  What plants are here?  What animals are here?   How are the hills situated?  What areas aren't easily accessible?  What areas naturally hold water?  etc...

But one thing I really wanted to do was identify the trees that are on the property.  Identifying trees is not one of my strong points....So I set about yesterday with the following book to identify as many trees as possible.  Quite a few of them proved elusive, but many others I've pinpointed with shaky certainty.  If I've made any mistakes please point it out and why.

Here is the book I used.  Needles and leaves were sticking out at all angles by the end of the day!  I find that this book was the most useful one I could find.  It has a really good introduction that explains exactly what to look for when identifying a tree.  It also gave a lot of additional useful information.  Each tree entry has a picture of the mature tree, it's leaves and stem, any flowers or berries as well as it's bark.  The description also includes any particularities of the tree such as branch shape, thorns, smells, etc...  It also has a map showing where they naturally grow in the United States.


We have long leaf pine....betcha don't know how I knew that was a long leaf pine....
Short leaf pine...
Spruce pine....
Laural Oak (not certain on this one)...
Post Oak (used for making fence posts, railroad ties etc...)...
Blackjack Oak  (this is an oak that grows in poor sandy soils.  It's not surprising that they are growing here since the land was clear cut about 8 years ago.  Let the healing begin!)...
Southern Red Oak (the underside of this oak leaf is a rusty color)...
American Crab apple...
Aren't the little apples so cute?!
Looks like a maple leaf...but it's not!  It's a sweet gum.  Ammunition for the kids (they make a very prickly ball seed pod that's great fun to throw at people but not so fun to run across barefoot!)  I've also heard that it's sap is sweet and edible...I'll have to check that to be sure....
Parsley leaf hawthorn...such a frilly and delicate looking tree...
Southern Red Oak...
Red Maple....
Sweet Bay Magnolia....This smells so nice when the leaves are crushed...like...well a bay tree...The underside of the leaf is a blue grey.  A regular magnolia has a furry brown underside....
Winged sumac....
I also identified flowering dogwood...no pic....there are so many more plants there to identify.  This just scratches the surface!  O.K. so did I make any mistakes?  Hope not!

2 comments:

McKenna said...

cooooool! happy fourth!

JeanSkirtGirl said...

glad u had a happy 4 love carmencitatr