Unique Facts About Trees.
Knows Kit Brings you some Unique Facts About Trees:
• Trees are among the oldest form of life on earth.
• The oldest tree is Methusela, a bristlecone pine almost 4900 years old, living high in the mountains on the Nevada/California border.
• We literally could not live without trees–they take carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen.
• Trees stop soil erosion by their long root systems.
• Trees that grow in cities have a concise life, on average living approximately eight years.
• Trees lower the air temperature.
• Wildlife need trees for food and shelter.
• One of the fascinating tree facts is a tree in Australia whose root system takes up an acre of ground. It is 236 feet high.
• The annual oxygen produced by one tree is 260 pounds.
• Tree facts applied to house sales indicate that trees can increase a house’s value by 10%.
• The tallest tree in the world is a redwood in California, which is 360 feet tall.
• 4000 lbs of wood are produced annually by one acre of trees.
• Trees make water cleaner by filtering rain.
• Tree rings indicate the age of a tree.
• The name of the science that studies tree rings is dendrochronology.
• Unique facts About Trees reveal that trees have psychological benefits. Both blood pressure and muscle tension drop when people are shown or placed in a tree environment.
• If you want to save on air conditioning costs, plant trees. They can cool a building by up to 20%.
• It is trees that absorb the carbon dioxide produced by motor vehicles.
• Trees protect people and property from rain, hail, snow, and ice.
• Trees provide jobs in many different industries.
• One of the most impressive Unique facts About trees is that there are 5.2 million trees in New York City.
• A healthy birch tree can make up to as many as one million seeds every year.
• Trees evaporate water in their leaves, which causes air cooling.
• An acre of trees can produce 4000 pounds of wood every year.
• Houses with trees sell quicker than houses without trees.
• The value of a full-grown, healthy tree can fall between $1000 and $10.000.
• 34-36 million Christmas trees are produced in the U.S. each year.
• Every year, one single tree absorbs 10 lbs of pollutants.
• Trees provide us with goods, such as fruit, nut and paper products.
There are many different causes of tree diseases. Still, most fall within fungus, bacteria, viruses, or other organisms, including pests. When a healthy tree does become diseased, there are usually many elements that factor in, including soil problems, growth deformities, or weather problems, such as too much or too little moisture or damage from winds and storms.
Identifying tree diseases can sometimes be a difficult task. The same types of conditions often affect both forest trees and backyard trees. But while spraying of a few trees might be deemed feasible, this would be cost-prohibitive in forests. Exceptions to this rule are large Christmas tree farms or nurseries, where livelihood is dependent on the trees, and there is some hope of controlling the spread of the disease.
Fungi are the number one cause of infectious diseases in trees. Even a healthy tree can succumb to this type of infection. A fungus grows from tiny spores that are too small to see, and these spores are carried from one place to the next by the wind, rain, and even insects, who often have them from one tree to another.
Rust fungus is a good example. It is aptly rust-colored or reddish-orange and travels from one live tree to another. The fungus will die with the tree, but chances are, it has already spread to other live trees nearby. Another destructive fungus that causes tree diseases is wood decay fungus. While this fungus can help rid the forest of down and dead branches, it can also attack live trees. These fungi grow through damp wood and sometimes even hollow out tree limbs and trunks so that the inside of the tree is destroyed, but it’s not noticed on the outside until the tree is dying.
Canker fungus is another of the most stubborn tree diseases to eliminate. A tree can be infected by a broken branch or a cut that left the tree’s inner part exposed. The fungus then starts to kill the tree bark, and it takes for itself vital nutrients that the tree needs to live. Eventually, the leaves will begin to die over time, producing more and more bare branches each year. This type of tree disease can be caused by a cut from an automobile hitting a tree or a scratch from lawn equipment causing a wound.
Different forms of root rot cause many other tree diseases. There are all kinds of insects that intend to destroy trees–worms, caterpillars, beetles, and moths, to name a few. Some tree diseases are also introduced into North America by infected plants being imported–perhaps the chief of these was American Chestnut Blight, which was imported from Asia but has destroyed just about all of the American Chestnut Trees.
The top twenty-five most common tree diseases in the United States are American Chestnut Blight, Armillaria Root Rot, Anthracnose Diseases, Annosus Root Rot, Aspen Canker, Beech Bark Disease, Brown Spot in Longleaf Pine, Canker Root, Commander Blister Rot, Cronartium Rusts, Diplodia Blight of Pine, Dogwood Anthracnose, Dothistroma Needle Blight, Dutch Elm Disease, Dwarf Mistletoe, Elytroderma Needle Cast, Fusiform Rust, Laminated Root Rot, Littleleaf Disease, Lucidus Root & Butt Rot, Mistletoe, Oak Wilt, Scheroderrus Canker, Sudden Oak Death, and White Pine Blister Rust.
The World’s Oldest Tree
If you are looking for the oldest tree in the world, you are going to have to travel to the White Mountains on the California-Nevada border, where at an elevation of 10,400 feet, a tree named Methuselah grows. The Methuselah Tree is a Bristlecone Pine that is estimated to be 4,844 years old. Among living trees, it is the oldest in the world. It was discovered in 1957 by Edmund Schulman.
There is some controversy as to the world’s oldest tree. What is thought to be the oldest was another Bristlecone Pine, Prometheus, that grew on Wheeler Peak in bordering Nevada. This tree was killed in 1964 by a graduate student who, in failing to core the tree successfully, used a chainsaw instead and hauled away slabs from the middle of the tree. This caused considerable controversy, and now all of the Bristlecone Pines are protected by U.S. law. The actual location of Methuselah is not public knowledge and is only given out by the U.S. Forest Service to select scientists who continue studies of the tree. The age has been determined by tree ring analysis.
In April 2008, news reports worldwide announced that a tree older than Methuselah had been found in Sweden. Some people consider this Norway Pine, estimated to be 9,550 years old, the new oldest tree. Many people, especially scientists, don’t. That’s because the actual tree growing on the spot is young in tree years at only a few hundred years old. This tree is a clone of the original tree. What is said to be almost 10,000 years old are the tree roots–cones and pieces of wood from underneath the tree were carbon dated and determined to be in the range of 9,550 years old. The tissue in the living tree itself is not from the parent tree.
So, is it the oldest tree? That’s for each person to decide for themselves. Some people have already updated books and websites to include this newcomer. However, among scientists, Methuselah is considered the real thing. In some texts, wordings are revised to say “oldest non-clonal organism,” which refers to the Swedish tree as “oldest clonal organism.” There are aspens (also a clonal tree) with roots as old as 10,000 – 20,000 years.
Methuselah, at almost 5000 years old, is still a living, healthy tree. You can see it if you should hike the four-mile Methuselah Loop Trail in Great Basin National Park–the only thing is, you won’t know exactly which tree it is as that remains a secret. However, you will see Methuselah and many other spectacular trees in this grove, and they are all within the same sort of age range. The Bristlecone Pine here has adapted to a harsh environment where nothing else survives. It grows incredibly slowly, not more than an inch a year. At this high elevation, the climate is dry, cold, windy, and precipitation is only 4-12″ each year, usually from the snow.
If you decide to visit the grove with the oldest tree, remember that it and even pieces of wood and cones on the ground are protected by U.S. law. Hopefully, the experience of 1964 will never be repeated.
The Japanese Maple Tree
The biological name of the Japanese Maple Tree is Acerpalmatum, meaning “Bloodgood.” It is a trendy tree in its native Japan, and North America, with between 800 and 1000 different varieties thought to exist. These are not indigenous varieties but cultivars that have been bred through grafting. It is a popular ornamental plant with many collectors, and it is well-suited to bonsai. The Japanese prefer green colored leaves, which change to red in the fall, while in the United States, there is a preference for red leaves and other colorful varieties.
The Japanese Maple Tree comes in many different sizes and colors, and they do well in diverse settings. Sometimes the leaves have what we think of like a maple shape, but they often do not. Colors range from light to dark green and every shade of red–light, bright, medium, burgundy, and blackish. There are also several shades of purple leaves. The Japanese Maple Tree is fragile and is considered a hardy tree that grows well in a wide variety of environments. These trees very rarely have any damage from pests.
A Japanese Maple Tree can be tiny, such as the size you might want to grow in a pot on the deck or very tall, as in a 20-foot shade tree. Japanese Maples like fertile soil that is a little on the moist side. In arid areas, they should be planted where they will get shade in the afternoon. It would help if you also waited to plant in the spring until there is no more frost danger. Growing is best in zones 5-8. Young trees should be staked because a Japanese Maple Tree has extensive foliage that can bend the branches. Pruning is no problem, and you can prune to whatever size or shape you like or is most convenient. Although it is possible to start a Japanese Maple tree from seed, grafting is best done. It can take up to three years for a seed to sprout. The trees themselves also grow slowly–usually under a foot each year.
Being of the ornamental variety and quite colorful, Japanese Maple Trees are springing up all across America in front yards and landscaped gardens. If you think you’d like to plant one or several in your yard, don’t let the number of varieties scare you off. Talking to the folks at a local garden store or nursery can give you an idea of which ones might be best planted in your area.
There are around 25- 35 varieties of the Japanese Maple Tree readily available at nurseries and gardening centers or on the internet. Among the most popular ones is the “Butterfly,” which has light green leaves with white edges and can turn to pinks or red colors in the fall. It is of the shrub variety, growing only 4-5 feet tall. “Fireglow” and “Emperor One” are newer varieties, both of which were cultivated for their fiery, dark red leaves, which are even more beautiful in the evening light of sunset. Another Japanese Maple Tree that is now often seen in yards is the “Corollonim,” known for its spring leaf color–a remarkable orange-pink.
Known for its bright yellow fall colors, the aspen tree is one of the most popular trees in North America. The quaking aspen is the most-planted variety and is so named because its flat branches shimmer in the wind. If you think of Colorado when you hear the words aspen tree, you’re not alone. Colorado and Utah have the distinction of having the enormous numbers of aspen trees in the world. An aspen tree likes to live at 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level.
The aspen tree is cloned, meaning it reproduces exact specimens on top of the same old roots. These are called suckers when they start, and they can eventually spread over a large region. The aspen tree is usually the first growth after a fire because the root system is protected, being so far under the ground.
The aspen is a hardy tree and is relatively easy to grow. It does like lots of sunshine and needs quite a bit of water to thrive. Since they grow at such a high altitude, this moisture can be provided by snow. An Aspen tree can grow five feet each year, usually to a height of around 50 feet. The width span can be up to 25 feet. It grows best when cultivated from root cuttings.
The aspen does not like to be a solitary tree. Because they grow naturally in stands with many trees atop the same expanding root system, producing just one aspen tree can be difficult. Aspen trees are particularly vulnerable to disease when alone and also in stands when trees begin to age. Fire is integral to the survival of the aspen tree. It slows the growth of softwoods, which will stifle and drown out the aspen trees if allowed to grow continually. Aspens need open spaces for their suckers to grow.
Aspen is an important tree for wildlife habitat with more than 500 different creatures depending on it. These include elk, deer, bears, rabbits, and smaller animals, such as mice and beaver. All aspen types allow more sunlight to reach through the branches to the ground than other trees, creating all different plants and shrubs on the forest floor. These include chokecherries, serviceberry shrubs, grasses, and beautiful collections of wildflowers.
Birds like the variety of shrubs within aspen stands provide ample food, and the tree branches itself, which can shelter and protect. The fact that they provide suitable bird habitat is also a consideration for many people who love them as backyard trees–this, and of course, the knowledge that in the fall, an aspen tree is one of the brightest and most colorful to be found. While the Eastern U.S. abounds in hardwoods whose leaves change to spectacular colors, the West does not need the aspen tree to lend color, especially at higher elevations. There is no denying the beauty of an aspen tree.
The Redbud Tree
The redbud tree is a spring favorite throughout the Eastern United States. There is nothing so beautiful after a long, hard winter than this small, hardy tree just covered from top to bottom with pinkish flowers. It’s not big as trees go, only 20-30 feet tall, with beautiful spreading branches that are 15-20 feet across.
You will notice a unique thing right away with the redbud tree because the flowers seem to explode right out of the trunk. The tree has heart-shaped leaves that are green in summer and change to yellow in the fall. Each limb has the smaller branches growing in what appears to be a zigzag pattern.
At the Arbor Day Society, the redbud has made it the shortlist of those to be considered a national tree. It is native to North America, and early American settlers have used the redbud’s flowers in salads. The bark has been used for medicinal purposes. The tree can be found up and down the East Coast and West to the plains, growing best in zones 4-9. The redbud tree has also always been known as the Eastern Redbud, but now a smaller tree has taken on the California redbud.
The redbud tree is called “the Judas Tree” because history has it that the redbud is a relative of the type of tree on which Judas Iscariot hanged himself. Folklore suggests that it is now a deciduous or a softwood tree with gentle branches not to be strong enough for someone to turn themselves on it again.
If you are thinking of planting a redbud tree, you should do so in well-drained soil. The tree withstands summer heat but is best placed where it can have afternoon shade. The tree needs to be pruned regularly–the best times being in the fall or the spring after it has lost its flowers.
Another interesting fact about the redbud tree is that it uses nitrogen from the air as a nutrient and may have antioxidant properties. It is, surprisingly, a member of the bean and pea family. It has also been cultivated to have 4-5 different varieties now available. One of the most popular is the “Forest Pansy Redbud,” which has scarlet flowers and red leaves in the spring turning more burgundy in color in the fall. . Another type, “Cascading Hearts,” was patented in 2008 and is described as being a “weeping plant” with “densely foliated growth.” It has reddish-green leaves that are dark green in summer.
The redbud tree is bothered by several kinds of insects and plant diseases. Pests to watch out for are treehoppers, scale insects, and spider mites. The most common infection is a canker, which is caused by a fungus. It affects around fifty different types of trees and is spread by wind and rain. It enters the tree through a wound or dead branch. The bark of the redbud tree is fragile and easily damaged, so you have to be careful not to make a wound yourself. Other redbud tree diseases are leaf spots and verticillium wilt.
Weeping Cherry Tree
The weeping cherry tree is best known for the beautiful pink or white blossoms it has every spring. A weeping cherry grows to 20-30 feet tall with almost equal width of 15-20 feet across a trendy landscape tree. It adapts to most soils, no matter whether clay, loamy, or sandy. It does like well-drained soil and be planted in a sunny location. It is a tree that is meant to be showy and is magnificent when in bloom. The downside is that a weeping cherry tree does require higher than average maintenance to stay looking healthy and attractive.
Weeping Cherry Trees are best grown in zones four to eight and can be seen in the most significant quantity throughout the south, where they thrive in the warmer temperatures. It is also one of the many varieties of cherry trees that shows off its foliage with other types of cherry trees at the annual Spring Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. The trees are known for their heavy vegetation and are usually grown along walkways and front lawns. Two popular varieties of the weeping cherry tree are the Weeping Higan Cherry Tree and the Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry.
As for maintenance, it is necessary to prune a weeping cherry tree regularly. They will need strong leaders to hold the weight of the weeping branches. These branches can droop very close to the ground. So, leave the vigorous shoots growing from the top pretty much alone. Mulch is advised underneath the tree to be left with no need to be mowed. Make sure to prune the first time when the tree is still young. The best time to prune is in the fall or late summer. You should remove the suckers and water spouts. If you intend to let the tree droop to the ground, the best thing is not to prune the branches’ ends. If you have planted one of the varieties, the Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry Tree, most people prune it very little, leaving it with have a natural look.
A weeping cherry tree is susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases. Aphids, borers, tent caterpillars, and spider mites are among the insects to look for that like to feed on its leaves and branches. The most common disease for the tree is cankered, which is a fungal infection. Leaf spots can be a problem, and bacteria cause these. Black knot, a condition that causes little raised black bumps on the branches, is a possible problem for this tree, as is powdery mildew, covering the leaves a powdery white coating.
Overall, the beauty of a weeping cherry tree will far outweigh the attention it requires. If you plan on planting one, head to the garden store or nursery early in the season as it is such a popular variety it usually sells out quickly.
A bean tree can refer to many trees that produce pods that resemble beans or contain beans. One such tree is the Catalpa tree, which is often referred to as the Indian Bean Tree. There are northern and southern versions of this tree, and both are native to the United States. The north catalpa tree had heart-shaped leaves, white flowers, and long, slender pods, for which it received the bean tree name. The southern version of the Indian Bean Tree is smaller, and it has light purple flowers. It is the best choice if you want to use the Catalpa as a landscape tree. Native Americans used the bark and leaves from the tree for medicinal purposes.
Another type of bean tree is the Tonka Bean Tree. Most North Americans are unfamiliar with this particular tree. That’s because it is a tropical tree that grows in South America and produces pod-type fruit. All of the pods have black seeds commonly used for flavoring.
The Carob Bean Tree might be a tree that has been heard about by more people. That’s because carob beans and carob products are available in most health food stores. It is often called “the healthy person’s chocolate. “The carob bean tree is a member of the legume (pea) family of plants. It produces no fruit for the first fifteen years, but it has pods for the rest of its life.
Carob pods look like broad green beans when growing and then turn a shiny brown color when ready to harvest. They are between four and ten inches long and weigh three-fourths of an ounce to an ounce and a half. Every pod contains four series of holes that have seeds. The carob seed looks similar to a watermelon seed, and each pod can have up to fifteen roots. Both seeds and pods can be eaten. It is the ground-up seeds that are used for a chocolate substitute.
Pods from the carob bean tree are sweet, so they require less sugar in recipes or used as a sugar substitute. They also do not have caffeine or theobromine–stimulants found in chocolate. Carob powder is used as a food stabilizer and as a thickener, known as locust bean gum. And that leads to another exciting association–the carob bean tree has grown for centuries in the Middle East and is also known as the locust bean tree. Another name for the carob pods is St. John’s Bread because Biblical scholars believe that it is the food that sustained John the Baptist in the wilderness.
People who prefer to stick with real chocolate can have their bean tree too. The tree from which chocolate is produced is known as a cocoa tree or a chocolate bean tree. The chocolate bean tree requires hot temperatures and is only grown in Africa, Asia, South America, and Central America, close to the equator. It can grow to be as tall as 50 feet but usually is underneath the cover of much more towering trees–200-foot hardwoods. The cocoa bean tree requires lots of shade to produce fruit, but it can produce up to 150 years once it has.
The fruit of the tree is long oval pods that can grow up to fifteen inches long. They have a football-type shape, and they grow directly on the trunk of the tree, not on stems or branches like apples and oranges.
There are not many bean trees because most beans grow on bushes, poles, or vines. But, bean trees will always produce a pod with some edible fruit as a legume family member.
The serviceberry tree is native to North America, although it falls into the “is it a tree or a bush?’ category. Usually, the serviceberry is considered a small tree that can grow up to forty feet tall with a span across that is around 15-20 feet. However, with 45 varieties, you can find one just the right size no matter which you prefer. Such names also know as juneberry, Saskatoon berry, shadbush, or shadblow. It is in the Rosaceae family.
The serviceberry tree welcomes spring with a multitude of beautiful clusters of white flowers. In the fall, the tree also turns with foliage from yellow to red. Bluish-black berries are produced on the plant and are edible for both humans, birds, and animals. The fruit is very much like blueberry, and early settlers used the berries for jams and pies. It takes approximately two years for a tree to produce berries.
The serviceberry tree grows well in zones 4 through 7. It likes soil that is moist but well-drained. It doesn’t do well in arid conditions and may need to be watered during a drought. Both full sunlight or partial shade is sufficient. When you plant a serviceberry tree, make sure to make a hole that is 5-6 times wider than the ball of roots as it likes to spread out. However, the origins are not invasive, and if you have a small yard, you don’t need to worry about planting close-by.
A serviceberry tree’s bark is thin and can easily be damaged, so care needs to be taken if mowing near the tree. The serviceberry has multiple trunks, but you can prune them to grow with a single box.
There are a variety of pests and diseases that can attack this type of tree. Cambium miners can cause lines in the tree bark but are not damaging to the tree itself. Leaf miners will mine the leaves. Of particular concern are two insects that attack the leaves. One forms cocoons on the leaves’ underside and scrapes off the tissue so that the leaves appear to have windows. The other is the pear sawfly, whose larvae attack the leaves. These will appear to be greenish-black. Skeletonized leaves will die and drop off. Also, watch out for spider mites and aphids.
A typical plant disease knows as witches’ broom affects serviceberry trees. It attacks the ends of the branches where there is new growth, forming a stems cluster, which is the “broom” part. At the same time, you may notice black fungus on the undersides of the leaves. Prune off the brooms, and the tree will survive.
Some people call sumac a sumac tree, and some call it a sumac bush. Either can probably suffice as there are both short and tall varieties. The sumac also has another stigma to overcome. Many people have heard of poison sumac, and not so many have heard of a non-poisonous sumac tree.
Still, if you are looking for a relatively small tree that is spectacular at foliage time, the sumac might be just for you. First of all, you should learn about poison sumac so that when neighbors or relatives ask how you know it’s not a poison sumac tree, you can explain it to them. By the way, Poison sumac gives a skin irritation to those who touch it, much like poison ivy. Poison sumac like very, very wet soil, soaked that they grow mostly in swampy areas. On the other hand, a sumac tree likes its soil to be very well-drained and is likely to be found in a dry place. If it’s in the fall, there’s an easy way to tell the difference between them. The poison version will have white berries that hang down toward the ground. The sumac tree will have red berries that grow upward toward the sky.
The sumac tree is native to New England but can be grown in other areas with the same climate. Two popular ones are the staghorn sumac tree and the smooth sumac tree. The staghorn extends to what most people think of as acceptable tree height, 20-35 feet. The smooth sumac is shorter, more in the 8-12 foot range. Both of the trees have brilliant foliage and bright red berries. These red berries stay red even after the snow flies, making a stark contrast with the white on the ground.
Because the berries last a long time, they will attract birds. However, the birds will devour another foodstuff first, leaving the berries till later in winter when the snow is too high to make lower foraging possible. Birds attracted to the bright red berries are chickadees, blue jays, crows, grouse, pheasant, wood, and hermit thrushes.
A sumac tree does have a failing that might deter some prospective tree planters. It is an invasive plant, but it is a native invasive plant. The rhizomes are prolific spreaders, and if you aren’t careful, you could soon have sumac trees where you don’t want sumac trees. If you are the type of landscaper that doesn’t want to be bothered with pruning or plant care beyond the initial planting, then maybe the sumac isn’t right for you. But for anyone who enjoys working with plants, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
A sumac tree has many great qualities to offer. Native Americans used the bark for tanning and used the seeds to make a lemonade-type drink that was very high in Vitamin C. Ground sumac seeds are also used as a spice in several cultures, said to give food a tart, zesty taste. It is often used with fish and meat, salads, rice, potatoes, and onions.
The Red Maple Tree
The red maple tree is one of the most beautiful during foliage season, known for its bright scarlet leaves. It is one of the most common trees up and down the East Coast of the United States. It grows from Manitoba and Newfoundland down to Florida and can be found west as East Texas.
The red maple tree’s wood is soft and used to make lower-cost brands of furniture and small wooden items. The tree can be tapped for syrup but will produce much smaller quantities than sugar maple. It is an ideal landscape tree planted in front and backyards and along streets and walkways. It is a beautiful shade tree.
The red maple tree will grow in more different soil and moisture conditions than any other tree in North America. It can grow in the north or south and the mountains up to an elevation of 6,000 feet. It will grow on dry ridges and southern and western slopes, but it is also prevalent in swampy areas and along streams. In the south, the red maple is known as a swamp tree.
In the spring, the red maple tree is one of the first to flower. Whitetail deer and elk are among the animals that count on red maples for an abundant food supply. Red maples have a short lifespan as far as trees go, living only for around 150 years. It doesn’t reach maturity until it is 70-80 years old.
The red maple tree is susceptible to many different pests and diseases. Most common are trunk rot, fungi, and stem diseases. Six other species of fungi can cause cancer. The tree typically does not suffer from root diseases but is at risk for several different kinds of leaf diseases. Most of these will not kill the tree unless other causes have weakened it. Red maples are so soft that they are easily wounded, especially during bad weather such as a severe ice storm.
Many different insects can cause damage to red maple trees. The worst are borers, including the gall-making maple borer, the maple callus borer, the Columbian timber beetle, and scale insects, such as the cottony maple leaf scale and the oyster shell scale. Your garden supply store can give you help in choosing how to deter insects. Moths can also be a problem. The forest tent caterpillar, which so often attacks trees, do not like the red maple, but you do have to be on the lookout for the gypsy moth, the linden looper, elm spanworm, and red maple spanworm.
The red maple tree is fast-growing and can vary significantly in height. They are hardy in cold temperatures, and red maples in the north usually have the brightest and most reddish colors during fall foliage. Red maples are now being bred to withstand some of the conditions affecting city trees, such as drought, verticillium, and air pollution. If you seek just the right tree for the front or back lawn, you can’t go wrong with red maple. It will grow just about anywhere, and when fall comes, you will be delighted with the brilliant colors.
Red Oak Tree
As one of the most prominent trees in the United States, you will find the red oak tree growing along streets and yards across the country. That’s because a red oak tree can thrive in just about any soil. It provides abundant shade and has intensely bright red fall colors. This tree is also known as a Northern Red Oak Tree, even though it grows in the southern United States. The northern is often dropped from the name to differentiate it from a southern red oak tree, also called a Spanish oak.
The red oak tree can withstand pollutants, so it’s a good tree for both the city and the country. It is fast-growing and can grow up to two feet every year for ten years. It is so hardy it grows well in zones 3 through 8. It is the predominant tree in many old residential neighborhoods, and you will often see its acorns on lawns and streets. The acorns the tree produces are popular with birds and animals, including squirrels, turkeys, blue jays, deer, raccoons, and bears.
Two diseases that affect the red oak tree are oak wilt and oak decline. A fungus causes oak wilt, and in the Eastern U.S., it kills thousands of red oak trees, whether they be in forests or cities. The oak wilt fungus can be carried from tree to tree by insects or connect through root systems. Symptoms of oak wilt include wilting, discoloration, and leaf loss. A healthy tree can die in weeks and sometimes even days after being infected with oak wilt. Oak decline is a much slower tree disease that can take up to five years to kill a tree. It is not just one disease but also several different stresses on a tree, such as drought, fungi, boring insects, or late frosts in the spring.
The most significant pest for a red oak tree is the red oak borer, but it does not kill it. It is the borer’s larvae that first damage the tree by burrowing into crevices in the bark. When they reach adult size, the borer can be one and a half inches long, and they bore more deeply into the center of the tree. It is usually this damage combined with other stresses that kill the tree.
If you are looking for a large, hardy tree shade in the backyard, you couldn’t make a better choice than red oak. The National Arbor Day Foundation has created the oak tree, the American national tree. There are oak trees of all species growing in just about every state. Oaks are the state tree of New Jersey, Maryland. Iowa, Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia.
If you don’t want to buy a red oak tree, you can collect acorns in the fall and plant them the next spring. You should look for instructions on exactly how to store them as they will need to be kept cold over the winter. This could be a great way to get kids interested in trees by having them search for acorns in the fall and help plant them in the spring. In time you could be watching a tree grow into a magnificent mature red oak tree.
The Bradford Pear Tree
The Bradford pear tree is not a native American tree. It was first brought to America from China in 1908 because most native pear trees were susceptible to fire blight and were dying. The USDA released it for sale in the early 1960s. The Bradford pear is not the best of pear-type trees, but it is vital in urban areas, where it can be planted around parking lots, in the center strip of highways, and other places where many trees would not survive.
The scientific name of the Bradford pear tree is Pyrus calleryana’ Bradford.’ The tree can grow to be 30-40 feet tall and prefers the warmer temperatures of zones 5 through 9A. It is covered with beautiful white blossoms in the spring, and in the fall can have many glorious colors from red to orange and dark maroon. It does well planted in containers. The fruits are not edible by humans but are a favorite of birds and squirrels.
The Bradford pear tree’s biggest problem is that it has many upright branches growing too closely together on the trunk. This makes the plant too breakable, especially in bad weather. The tree can be pruned to reduce breakage risk, but professionals best do the pruning.
A Bradford pear tree will grow well in almost any type of soil and generally is not bothered by pollutants or pests that affect many other trees, especially in the city. It likes to grow in full sun and is not bothered by either drought or too wet soil. In part because of their branch structure, however, the trees start to have wind and snow damage problems as they age. This can cause them to break apart when they begin to be in the range of twenty years old. Be prepared to replace the tree by the time it is twenty-five years old.
The breakage is a problem in many cities where the trees are now reaching this age span. Many cities in the Washington, DC/Virginia area have stopped planting the trees. They have even prevented contractors from growing them in subdivisions. In Baltimore, over 100 Bradford pear trees were torn up for sidewalk construction and replaced with another tree. According to an article in the Washington Post, the Bradford pears were also removed from the National Arboretum parking lot’s sides. They were afraid of limbs from the trees falling onto parked cars. Thorns from spreading suckers have been reported to be so sharp as to pierce the tires on an automobile.
While the Bradford pear trees have some drawbacks, many people still love the tree, especially when they see them during fall foliage. And, with proper pruning, the breaking-apart can be delayed if not stopped altogether. But, if you want to plant a tree in your backyard that will last for a hundred or more years, forget about the Bradford pear tree.
The Royal Empress Tree
The royal empress tree has been in the United States since the 1800s, but most people know very little about it. Now it’s starting to catch on as a landscape tree and beginning to pop up in neighborhood yards because of its fantastic ability to grow fast. It grows very fast, at the rate of 10 to 15 feet each year. A full-grown, mature tree can be as tall as one hundred feet. Not only that, it is practically impossible to kill. The tree will grow anew should any disaster require that it be cut back to its roots.
The tree will grow in just about any kind of soil and is incredibly resistant to pests and diseases. It can be found from Canada to Mexico and is rated for zones 5-11. The royal empress tree does not like to grow in areas that have frost. Every spring, the tree bursts forth with huge purple flowers with a pleasant fragrance. The royal empress tree has large leaves, which make it great for shade, and several of them could shade a house enough to cut fuel bills. The leaves drop off each year and add nitrogen to the soil.
The royal empress tree, as the name might suggest, is native to China and Japan. In these countries, the tree is planted when a daughter is born. It then grows until the child grows up and gets married when cut and made into a wedding chest. Empress wood is revered in many countries, and in the United States, the only cherry is valued higher. The trees can produce 2-4 times as much lumber as other trees. After a royal empress tree is harvested, it will grow back from the stump, and each tree can do this as many as ten times. The roots of the tree can go as much as 40 feet into the ground.
While some people report that the royal empress tree is invasive, with its spreading suckers taking over a yard, others counter that it is not intrusive at all as a hybrid. The plant’s large leaves allow them to take in carbon dioxide at high levels and put it back in the air as oxygen. The root system is so deep that it absorbs toxins and animal waste, thus cleaning the soil.
The royal empress tree has many benefits and is becoming a highly sought after tree. As such, if you wish to plant your own, get to the gardening store as early as possible to obtain one for planting. Soon you will be marveling at how fast the tree has grown.