Help with Maryland Tree Id's

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Mark Collins
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Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Mark Collins » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:31 pm

Hi NTS,

I recently moved to my home state of Maryland from California and I'm trying to familiarize myself with the trees here. There is such a variety that I feel overwhelmed trying to figure out what's going on in the woods. Now that the leaves are popping out, can anyone help me begin identifying some of the trees around here? Here are just 3 types I picked out from today's hike. I think the first is a type of oak but I can't tell which kind. Thanks!!!!


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Tree #1 (above 2 pics)


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Tree #2 (above 2 pics)


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Tree #3 (above 2 pics)

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:57 pm

Welcome back east! Spring's a good time for learning hardwood species.

Your first tree is indeed an oak- almost definitely Northern Red (Q. rubra). A good trick for sorting oaks is that sharp things make you bleed blood, which is Red- and sharp points at the tips of leaves identify species in the Red oak group (also includes scarlet, black, pin, blackjack, willow, shumard, and many other oaks). On the other hand, there are many fluffy, rounded objects that are White- clouds, marshmallows, pillows. Leaves from species in the White Oak group (including white, swamp white, chestnut, bur, laurel, and many others), likewise, have rounded tips to their lobes.

Tree two is Ironwood (Carpinus caroliniana), also called American Hornbeam (not to be confused with Hophornbeam) or "blue beech" (not closely related to Beech proper). Their sinuous, sometimes almost muscular-seeming trunks and smooth grey bark make them pretty distinctive.

Tree three is Box-Elder (Acer negundo), a species of maple in which the typical palmate lobes of maple-species leaves seperate into three leaflets bearing a close resemblance to poison ivy. This species rarely grows into a nicely-formed large tree like sugar, red, or silver maples can but an occasional individual will grow surprisingly nicely. It's actually not uncommon in many parts of california, with a small native range there and a willingness to spread in developed areas.

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Mark Collins
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Mark Collins » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:27 pm

Thanks for the descriptive reply Erik! I have never heard of that "tip" to identify oaks, very helpful! I saw a lot of Ironwood near the creek, and thought the trunks looked a lot like strained muscles. Thanks again...

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Mark Collins
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Mark Collins » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:35 am

Hi NTS,

Here are three more trees I would appreciate any help identifying. Please forgive me as this is all completely new to me right now, it's nice to get confirmation from the experts! It's very exciting to finally "see" the trees I grew up with for the first time...

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Click on image to see its original size
Tree #1 (two pics above)


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Click on image to see its original size
Tree #2 (two pics above) Is this the chestnut oak?


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Tree #3 (above two pics) Small twisting tree with soft, fuzzy leaves

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Will Blozan
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Will Blozan » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:27 pm

1) River birch
2) Chestnut oak
3) Hard to tell. Green stem suggests sassafras (smell a leaf). Bark picture would help.

-Will

MarkGraham
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by MarkGraham » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:31 pm

Hi Mark

For your second set, would say probably (and appropriately) river birch for #1. For #2 can't disagree with chestnut oak. I don't know about #3.

The mid Atlantic forests are great. No redwoods but the changes from season to season are good to follow and the mid Atlantic forests certainly have 100 times more fall color than northern California.

Mark

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Rand
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Rand » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:24 pm

In regards to chestnut oak. After awhile you'll notice that the open understory, with a little moss and Mtn Laurel is almost as diagnostic as the tree itself. In SE Ohio its very common for the steep edges of ridgetops to be like this. As you walk downhill, the usual pattern is to notice more white oak, and then a few hickories will appear, then red & black oaks displace the white oaks, before the tuliptrees take over the moister slopes.

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Mark Collins
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Mark Collins » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:37 pm

Excellent, thank you Will and Mark!

Will, here is another photo I have of the third tree, don't know if this shot helps. I've been seeing several of them on my hikes, and they are all short, skinny, with wild twists and curves. Maybe they also grow taller and fatter, but I haven't noticed yet. A really cool looking tree.

Mark, after spending all that time in the redwoods I thought the mid Atlantic forest was going to be a real let down. At first I was really depressed and unimpressed on my first few hikes, but the more time I spend in the forest, the more I'm beginning to love it. There is such a nice variety of tree species, plant and bird life. The red oak is really growing on me lately. There are strange similarities to the redwood forest as well at times, just smaller scale. At the same time, I really, really miss the redwoods.


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Devin
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Devin » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:25 pm

Mark,
I definitely can relate. I worked as a tech in redwood national park for years and then moved back to the east; its a pretty brutal contrast. But what the PNW lacks (besides small inland patches of conifer heterogeneity), is diversity. As you know, once a redwood dominates, it DOMINATES. Nothing, besides scattered doug fir, grand fir, sitka spruce, cedars, bay, and maple will grow underneath. The east is full of surprises. Yes much of the east has historically been abused by mankind, but the vegetation communities that have persisted and regrown is incomparable to any other forest on earth. Its all about the small things. There is so much dimension. The fungal communities in the southern appalachians are just as juicy as the redwoods....and that means a lot. Yes, the east is not as conspicuous as the redwoods, but with a little consideration it can deliver much more gratification towards your soul.

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Will Blozan
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

Post by Will Blozan » Sun May 01, 2016 8:39 am

Yup- sassafras. I find adding scratch-and-sniff to help with ID skills is very useful in the eastern forests.

-Will

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