Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trees of the 1995 planting

I took some time in the past week looking at trees planted in 1994 and 1995.

Silver maples: These are quite a few fast growing silver maples. They have multiple trunks, but typically only one or two survive. The others as well as the lower branches die off and are easily broken off. The tree cuts off circulation to the branch at the trunk and after a year or two the branch is completely dry. The bark breaks apart and the branch will snap cleanly off with only a slight tap.

White Ash: These are also a common part of the overstory of the forest. They are more often a single trunk with multiple branches sweeping up. Their branches do not cleanly break off unless they have dried out completely after several years, otherwise the dead branches will remain flexible and on the tree. The bark on the tree trunks are only begining to become mature crevised bark. The bark on the branches is smooth redish brown.

Trembling Aspen: This short lived tree is already dying except at the edges of the forest. They spread by suckers and are expanding into the 2010 planting area through suckers.

Eastern Cottonwood: These fast growing trees are about 50% taller than the rest of the trees. They are already large trees, with one or two thick trunks. The branches of this tree are upsweeping, the bark readily falls off the dead branches but they don't break cleanly off until they have rotted out. Some of these trees have already died but the ones that remain have thick substantial trunks. These trees are already suckering into the new planting area.

White willow: This sickly bushy trees is growing on the forest edge but has died out in the interior.

Staghorn Sumac: The far south-east corner of the berm area is a sumac bush that is vigorously suckering into the grass area. The mower keeps it in check but it has also come up in the new bush area.

White spruce: There a few of these trees from the original planting. They are overshadowed by the deciduous trees except where they are on the edge of the forest.

White pine: A few of these straggly trees remain from the original planting, but they haven't been able to keep up with the other trees and are slowly being crowded out by the taller trees.

Red Oak: A couple of these trees are poking out from the edge of the forest.

Hawthorne: The hawthorne is on the east side north of the sumac bush. There are a couple of different hawthornes growing there.

Serviceberry: a few of these are on the eastern side by the Hawthorne. Most of the leaves seem to fall off in high summer.

European buckthorn: This is growing vigorously in the understory all over, especially on the north side.

Honeysuckle: This is also growing in the understory but grows best at the forest edge.

elderberry: a single elderberry (probably from the original planting is growing iin the northeast corner.

Sugar maple: There seems to be a few sugar maples growing although it is not as common as the silver maple

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New resident? Groundhog

I think this is a new groundhog who has taken up residence in the holes on the east side of the berm. The holes had seemed disused for some time but this little guy was out there the other day making himself at home.

I saw some scat the other day that looked like it was perhaps from a coyote. It was black and full of fur and about the size of a dog's scat. I saw a coyote a couple of weeks ago not a mile west along Huntclub so they are certainly about. Hopefully they come by and take a few of the meadow voles. I have caught glimpses of the voles too often to not be sure that they are plentiful. I don't often get a good view of them though , I just see the little brown ball streaking across a bit of ground before it disappears into the grass. I learned though that the voles can be vocal. They make a high pitched squeek when they are disturbed by something. The other day I heard this high pitched squeek in the grass as I was walking through the square, when I came back to investigate I found a ball of grass about the size of my palm that turned out to be a nest of mice. There were 5 mostly hairless blind voles in the nest. Three of them came away in the covering when I removed the roof of the nest. I put them back and they seemed to be ok. 3 of them squiggled into the grass and the remaining 2 seemed to be asleep. When I came back a few hours later they were all gone. hopefully the mother had made a new nest for them.