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Remember: The Coming Riparian Buffer: Part One

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Coming Riparian Buffer: Part One

The new riparian buffer at Cedar Beach will be composed of all different sorts of trees, plants and shrubs. Today I will be introducing you to these new species in advance of the spring. When the snow melts, I will be following all these plants as they grow. Here is part one:

All descriptions come from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Silver Maple

Acer saccharinum L., silver maple is one of the fastest growing deciduous trees of the eastern and midwestern forests. Also called river maple, this name derives from the common occurrence of the species along our river systems. Silver maple shares many of its sites with red maple, but the two species are easily distinguished. Silver maple is typically a much larger tree with a much larger fruit (called a samara), but the two species are the only native maples with spring seed dispersal. The leaves of silver maple are often larger and more deeply fissured between lobes than those of red maple. Silver maple can grow 3-7 feet per year.

River Birch

River birch is native to the eastern United States; south to Florida, north to Minnesota and west to Kansas; it is restricted to stream banks and other moist places. The tree can grow as tall as 40 to 70 feet and 15 to 30 inches in diameter. The bark is exfoliating; gray-brown to ivory or copper colored. The leaves are alternate, simple, 1-3 inches long, and oval-shaped with serrated edges; they are green above and whitish underneath. Flowers are inconspicuous. The winged fruit is small, brown, and borne in clusters in the spring. River birch bears an average of 375,000 seeds per pound. Root crowns and roots survive fire and sprout vigorously. The growth rate of river birch is typically 1.5 to 3 feet per year.

Green Ash

Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh., green ash, is a deciduous, medium-sized tree with an open, irregular crown reaching about 50 feet in height. Native to eastern North America and is fairly common west to Wyoming and Colorado along plains watercourses at elevations below 6,000 feet. The tree is fast growing on moist bottomlands, and is extremely hardy to climatic extremes once established.
Fruits are straw-colored, one-seeded, winged (samaras), 1 to 2 1/2 inches long, borne in dense branching clusters; flowers are inconspicuous, without petals, borne in dense clusters (panicles) near the ends of the twigs, male and female flowers on separate trees; leaves are opposite, pinnately compound, 4 to 6 inches long, 7 to 9 leaflets, narrowly elliptical, long-pointed, entire, bright green above, paler below; stem straight, bark thin with network of interlacing ridges, brown to dark gray, twigs smooth; roots are shallow, wide-spreading.

Swamp White Oak

General: Beech Family (Fagaceae). Native trees commonly growing to 15–20 m, sometimes to 30 m, the lateral branches relatively persistent (slow in self-pruning), with an open, irregularly shaped crown; bark dark gray, scaly or flat-ridged, often peeling off in large, ragged, papery curls. Leaves are deciduous, alternate, obovate to narrowly elliptic or narrowly obovate, (8–)12–18(–21) cm long, (4–)7–11(–16) cm wide, usually with regularly spaced, shallow, rounded teeth, or toothed in distal half only, or moderately to deeply lobed, upper surfaces dark green and glossy, lower surfaces lighter green to whitish, softly hairy. Male and female flowers are borne in separate catkins on the same tree (the species monoecious) on the current year's branchlets. Acorns maturing the first year, ovoid-ellipsoid or oblong, mostly 1.5–3 cm long, single or clustered in groups of 2–4, on a stalk (peduncle) 3-8 cm long; cup enclosing 1/3–1/2 of the acorn, scales closely appressed, finely grayish tomentose, those near rim of cup often with a short, stout, irregularly recurved spinose tip. The common name is from its typical habitat and its membership in the white oak subgroup.

Pin Oak

Pin oak is a moderately large tree with normal heights ranging from 70 to 90 feet with diameters between 2 and 3 feet. Trees reaching 120 feet tall with 5-foot diameters are occasionally encountered on good sites. The bark of this tree is smooth, reddish to grayish-brown during the juvenile period, becoming darker and shallowly fissured as the tree growth slows with age. The lower branches of pin oak are prostrate to descending, with smooth, slender, reddish-brown twigs. Clusters of pointed buds are located at the tips of twigs. Three to five inch alternate leaves have 5 to 7 points or lobes with bristled tips and deep C-shaped sinuses. The leaves change in color from a dark green to a deep scarlet red in fall. The leaves are deciduous but will usually persist on the tree into winter. The flowers of pin oak emerge soon after new leaves unfold in spring (April to mid-May). The acorns that develop are roundish, short stalked, 3/8 to 1/2 inches long, and capped with a thin and shallow saucer-like cup. The acorns will take 16 to 18 months to develop from pollination to maturity. When mature the acorn turns light brown to reddish-brown, and will drop from September to November. In 30 to 35 year old stands of pin oak, 4,000 to 20,000 sound acorns per acre yields have been documented. There are 410 acorns per pound. Pin oak is often confused with scarlet oak (Q. coccinea) due to similar appearance. Scarlet oak is an upland species that prefers soils with good drainage on dry sites.

American Sycamore

General: Planetree family (Platanaceae). Monoecious, native, deciduous trees with an open crown, among the largest of Eastern deciduous forests, reaching heights of 18-37 meters, and the greatest diameter of any temperate hardwood tree -- the largest known range 3-4 meters d.b.h.; twigs zig-zag, with only lateral buds, these completely covered by a single scale within the petiole base and not visible until after the petiole detachment; bark of upper trunk exfoliating in patches, leaving areas of inner bark exposed, a patchwork of browns, yellows, and greens against a background of white, the darker bark with age falling away in thin brittle sheets, exposing younger and lighter-colored bark. Leaves are deciduous, alternate, 10-35 cm long, palmate-veined and roughly star-shaped, with 3-5 sharp lobes, the blades often as broad or broader than they are long, truncate to cordate at the base, on petioles to 12 cm long; a leaf-like stipule at the petiole base is persistent during early growth. Staminate and pistillate flowers in separate, tightly compacted, ball-shaped clusters. Fruit is single-seeded and indehiscent (an achene), 8-9 mm long, with a ring of bristles at the base, numerous achenes in a pendulous, ball-shaped fruiting head 2-5 cm in diameter, the individual achenes drifting in the wind if the head breaks up on the tree. Common name apparently borrowed from the European sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.), which has similar leaves.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally weak, Kleiner.

February 14, 2010 at 12:00 PM  

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