Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winter Tree ID with Flo Chaffin compiled by Kathy Stilwell with Jean Hunnicutt and David Fann

"What a pleasure to see the magnificent trees on the UGA campus!  Once again Flo has opened our eyes - this time to the intricacies and beauty of trees and shrubs in winter.  I hope we can arrange a return visit in spring / summer to see the campus in full leaf  - and revisit Flo's nursery."

You might think temperatures in the high teens and low 20’s would be a deterrent to our winter Tree ID program at UGA however, that was not the case.  The day was cold but the atmosphere was warm and friendly as a group of us bundled up and met Flo Chaffin at the Arch on 1/22 to partake in a wonderful presentation on trees and how to identify  them in the winter.  UGA is a splendid location for such an event because they have such a diverse collection of native and non-native trees in relatively close proximity and they are magnificent in their age and beauty.  

Flo took us on an informative and lively discussion of the various types of trees and how to identify them.  The ink in my pen froze so I was unable to get the notes I wanted and am relying mainly on my memory so this report won’t come close to doing justice to the day.  See below for a book that might be helpful on your own identification efforts. Here is a link to Flo's Blog and her description of our tour:

One highlight for me was the Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)which Michael Dirr says is the one he would choose if he could only have one tree.  Other highlights were the 
Lacebark or Chinese Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia), the Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum), yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea), (photinia serrulata) and a very large and non invasive privet (Ligustrum lucidum).  We also saw some of the very early Bradford Pears (Pyrus calleryana).  I was stunned at how different they look after they have some age on them!  (Rather like us humans!) 

Here are some photos from the day followed by a list of the trees from the tour.  

Flo's recommendation for field reference

Lacebark or Chinese Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

Lacebark or Chinese Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)


Parrotia persica (Persian ironwood

The following photos were contributed by David Fann.

1. Persea borbonia, Redbay - Large evergreen shrub/small tree in Athens. The leaves are aromatic when bruised. Blue-black fruits mature in summer. Coastal southeastern United States.
2. Acer rubrum, Red Maple - Excellent shade and street tree. February-March red flowers followed by reddish winged fruits. Vibrant yellow-orange-red fall colors. Georgia.
3. Liriodendron tulipifera, Tulip Poplar - Radially spreading branches, bright green leaves turn rich yellow-gold in fall. A superb native tree throughout campus and Georgia.
4. Magnolia grandiflora, Southern Magnolia - Broadleaf evergreen that serves as the symbol of the South. White, sweetly scented flowers appear in May-June and are followed by fruits bearing red seeds. Georgia.
5. Ilex opaca, American Holly - Common Georgia native with over 1000 cultivars. Species is seldom available from nurseries. Dark green spiny-margined leaves and red fruits.
6. Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgo - Prehistoric tree with bright green leaves turning brilliant yellow in fall. Female tree produces fleshy coated seeds that become stinky with age. China.
7. Quercus prinus, Chestnut Oak - Great native species for bold-textured leaves and bronze-red fall color. Common in north Georgia where it grows on mountain ridges. Large acorns provide food for wildlife including black bear.
8. Quercus phellos, Willow Oak - The most common landscape oak in the southeast. Dark-green leaves turn yellow to golden-bronze in fall. Tolerates extremes of soil and should be the first choice where a reliable, fast-growing oak is desired. Georgia.
9. Quercus coccinea, Scarlet Oak - A noble tree, pyramidal in youth, massive and vase-shaped at maturity. The lustrous dark green leaves turn scarlet in fall. Leaves similar to pin, red and shumard oaks. Georgia.
10. Ulmus americana, American Elm - The University of Georgia is fortunate to harbor this beautiful specimen. An imposing tree for grace and dignity; note the vase-shaped habit. Once over-planted; many killed by Dutch elm disease. Georgia.
11. Ulmus alata, Winged Elm - Similar to American elm with graceful pendulous branches but with smaller leaves. Prone to powdery mildew that renders leaves grayish. Corky twigs develop opposite each other along the stem. Georgia.
12. Cryptomeria japonica, Japanese Cryptomeria - A revered tree in Japan; planted around temples; also used as a major timber tree. An evergreen that reaches 50’ to 60’. Japan.
13. Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Green Ash - Largest specimen on campus. Not common in Georgia landscapes; found wild along water’s edge. Note textured, ridged and furrowed bark forming diamond-shaped patterns. Native over much of the United States.
14. Quercus hemisphaerica, Laurel Oak - Semi-evergreen oak (drops leaves in February in Athens) that is confused with live oak and willow oak. Grows in drier soils than many oaks. Georgia.
15. Juglans nigra, Black Walnut - Prized for timber and less for nuts. Tree is messy in landscape situations. Georgia.
16. Carya illinoinensis, Pecan - Georgia is the leading pecan producer in the United States. A massive, vase-shaped tree, somewhat messy, the delicious fruits ripen in November. Feel free to sample this delicacy. Not native to Georgia.
17. Quercus falcata, Southern Red Oak - A resilient Georgia native that prospers in hostile cultural conditions. Leaves have a rounded base that sets them apart from other oaks.
18. Quercus velutina, Black Oak - Rarely found in Athens. Unique because of the 1/4” to 1/2” long, 5-sided, sharply angled buds covered with yellowish-gray hairs. Georgia.
19. Populus alba ‘Pyramidalis’, Bolleana Silver Poplar - Columnar in youth, losing the dense form with age. Leaves silver-white below. Bark is cream-white turning dark with age. Southern Europe and Asia.
20. Prunus caroliniana, Carolina Cherrylaurel - Medium sized broadleaf evergreen tree. White, plum-scented flowers appear during March-April, followed by black fruits. Birds eat and distribute seeds. Georgia.
21. Tsuga canadensis, Canadian Hemlock - Remarkable evergreen of great beauty; common to the north Georgia mountains where it prefers moist, cool sites and blends with stands of rhododendron and mountainlaurel. Georgia.
22. Quercus alba, White Oak - One of the most majestic and noble trees; identifiable by the 5 to 9 finger-like lobes. The gray-brown scaly bark is another aesthetic feature. Georgia.
23. Quercus palustris, Pin Oak - This oak, with pyramidal habit and 5-lobed leaves, is the most common oak in the Midwest and East. Does not do as well in Georgia.
24. Ulmus parvifolia, Lacebark Elm - A potential alternative to American elm because of resistance to Dutch elm disease. Smallish dark green leaves and showy exfoliating, lacy, orange-brown bark. Asia.
25. Ilex ‘Nellie Stevens’, Nellie Stevens Holly - Most common of tree-type hollies. Lustrous dark green leaves contrast with the bright red fruits. This is a hybrid between Chinese holly and English holly.
26. Betula nigra, River Birch - Notable for its cinnamon colored exfoliating bark. Occurs naturally along water’s edge but tolerates drier conditions. Leaves turn subdued yellow in fall. The only birch for cultivation in the Southeast because of borer resistance.
27. Ulmus parvifolia AlleĆ©®, AlleĆ©® Lacebark Elm - A selection from campus that is being planted throughout Georgia. Vase-shaped growth with spectacular fluted trunk and jigsaw puzzle-like, orange-brown bark. An alternative to American elm.
28. Cornus xrutgersensis Stellar Pink®, Stellar Pink® Dogwood - Disease resistant hybrid between our native flowering dogwood and kousa dogwood. Vigorous, vase-shaped growth habit, and pink flowers are unique to this cultivar. Bred at Rutgers University.
29. Lagerstroemia indica, Common Crapemyrtle - The major summer-flowering tree in the southeast. Flowers develop on new growth from June to August. The bark is as smooth as alabaster with mottled colors. China, Korea, India.
30. Malus species, Flowering Crabapple - This tree heralds the promise of spring and is often in full flower by mid to late March. Fruits are tart but make excellent jelly. Asia.
31. Quercus shumardii, Shumard Oak - Remarkably adaptable noble native oak! Easily transplanted, fast growing. Lustrous dark green leaves turn yellow-bronze-red in November. Georgia.
32. Cedrus deodara, Deodar Cedar - The grand cedars are found from North Africa to the Himalayas. The 1” to 2” long shiny blue-green needles hold their color all year.
33. Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’, Kwanzan Oriental Cherry - Double rose-pink flowers with bronzy leaves in April and the entire tree takes center stage. Yellow-orange-red fall color and shiny reddish bark make this a tree with year-round interest. Japan.
34. Cornus florida, Flowering Dogwood - This may be the best small flowering tree for landscape planting. Numerous cultivars selected for variegated foliage, pink and red flowers, red and yellow fruits that serve as food for birds. Georgia.
35. Quercus nigra, Water Oak - A large tree common throughout campus. Found in fence rows and waste areas. The species plants itself. Note the 3-lobed leaves and small, striped acorns. Georgia.
36. Acer xfreemanii ‘Armstrong’, Armstrong Freeman Maple - Unique upright columnar growth habit. Hybrid between red and silver maple. Notice trunk damage which is common, although cause has not been established.
37. Crataegus phaenopyrum, Washington Hawthorn - A small tree with white flowers, persistent bright red fruits and orange-red fall color. Not common in Georgia landscapes. Note 1” to 2” long thorns. More than 1000 species of hawthorn classified worldwide.
38. Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’, Bradford Callery Pear - Bradford pear, planted rampantly throughout Georgia, is a short-lived tree popular for its early white flowers and red-purple fall leaves. Fruits are a food for wildlife. Korea.
39. Acer saccharum ‘Legacy’, Legacy Sugar Maple - This selection has greater heat and drought tolerance than the straight species. Beautiful yellow-orange fall color. Successfully used as a street tree in Atlanta.
40. Fagus grandifolia, American Beech - Tree with lustrous dark green leaves in summer, turning yellow-gold-bronze in fall. Smooth silver bark provides winter beauty. To plant an American beech is an act of faith in the future. Georgia.
41. Quercus rubra, Northern Red Oak - Common in north Georgia, Athens is the southern limit for successful garden use. Easy to transplant and grows fast. The 7 to 11-lobed leaves and the large acorns are used to separate the species from other red oaks. Georgia.
42.  Acer palmatum, Japanese Maple - Remarkable small to medium-sized tree from Japan which performs quite well in Georgia. The small, 5 to 9-lobed, delicate leaves range from green to red. Fall color is often brilliant red. Smooth gray bark adds seasonal change. Numerous cultivars are available.
43. Robert Toombs Oak Plaque - Legend has it, Robert Toombs, after being expelled from the University in 1828, gave such an eloquent speech that he drew out the commencement audience from the Chapel under a great oak. The oak was supposedly struck by lightening the same hour of Toombs death. The name stuck and for years the tree’s charred remains were known as “Toombs Oak”.
44. Quercus oglethorpensis, Oglethorpe Oak - Discovered and named by renowned University of Georgia botany professor, Dr. Wilbur Duncan, the species is unique to the southeast. Dark green, elliptical leaves turn ash-brown in fall and persist into winter. Bark is grayish and scaly which is indicative of the species’ position in the white oak group.
45. Taxus baccata, English Yew - A European native, often tree-like, or a spreading shrub on campus. This spectacular specimen descends from General James Oglethorpe’s ancestral home. The species is not well adapted to Georgia and requires shade and well drained soil for survival.