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Tree Friends

Hello everyone it feels good to be part of such a remarkable organization that is welcomes any being who is interested in native trees. Traveling around the country sometimes it can be hard finding people who are really conscious and passionate about trees and ecology in general; this site makes me feel like I have hundreds of tree friends from all around the world!
I am a 28 year-old student of life with a strong passion towards forest ecology and horticulture. I have been living in northern California for the past two years working for Redwood National Park as a forest technician monitoring Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum). This year I am fortunate enough to be working in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park fighting the hemlock woolly adelgid. I have worked in numerous nurseries and have personally grown thousands of native trees propagated personally from seed/cuttings I have collected from the wild.
Some of the photos yall have been posting are really beautiful. I really enjoy them. I look forward to talkin tree talk with any of you fine folk or if you are in the Gatlinburg TN area I would always love company botanizing in the woods.

Devin
by Devin
Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:06 pm
 
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Re: Happy Little Trees

Best road sign ever... RIP Bob
by Devin
Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:27 pm
 
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Pinus monophylla wood burn

Thought someone might enjoy my latest wood burn. Its a single-leaf pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla) that I picked up while I was traveling through the Great Basin in Nevada. The wood its burned on is western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis).
by Devin
Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:36 pm
 
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EAB plot study

GSMNP in cooperation with Arborjet has started a plot study of 40 ash trees in the roaring fork area of the park to determine the most effective systemic chemical towards managing EAB.
Three chemicals being tested:
Tree-age- active ingredient Emamectin Benzoate
Azasol- active ingredient Azadirachtin (water soluable neem-oil)
TreeAzin-active ingredient- Azadirachtin A + Azadirachtin B
The application of TreeAzin was only approved through the use of the Eco-jet system, and application rates proved to be impracticable, taking about 5 hours to treat 4 trees. Transpiration rates and formula viscosity may have something to do with the very slow up-take. The other two chemicals were used with the Arborjet injection system and application was successful. Untreated control trees were implemented as well and holes were drilled into the bole without applying chemical.

It looks like EAB has been in the park for quite some time; many trees around the greenbrier area, roaring fork area (behind Bales cabin), and along route 321 have been infested for many years. Beetles have been collected from trees in the roaring fork area. Many of these trees have dwarfed chlorotic leaves, major dieback, and epicormic sprouts; some are already dead. Unfortunately the cost to treat these trees via these chemicals is extremely expensive, about 500 dollars a liter! Back country ash trees and notable specimens may be soil drenched with imidacloprid as a more practical measure. The park cannot afford to lose another tree species, hopefully we can get these beautiful specimens treated before their demise!
by Devin
Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:21 am
 
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Forest treats of smoky mts national park

Attached is a rough draft of what mushrooms I was able to document this season in the park. The cover artwork is by Alexander Viazmensky.
by Devin
Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:49 am
 
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Caledon State Park, VA

Caledon State Park is about an hour from Washington, DC. It is mature beech/oak forest that is adjacent to the Potomac river. I decided to write this post for anyone interested in fall color photography or pleasure. In a couple of weeks this forest will be golden. If your nearby its worth the drive and it also has some good size poplars for the size-oriented folk.
by Devin
Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:42 pm
 
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Bonsai at National Arboretum

The National Arboretum located in Washington DC is one of the best in the country. Some of the gardens/collections include: Asian Collections, Azalea Collections
Dogwood Collections, Fern Valley, Friendship Garden, Gotelli Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifer Collection, Holly and Magnolia Collections, National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, National Boxwood Collection, National Grove of State Trees, National Herb Garden, and Perennial Collections. Anytime of year is good but the azalea gardens in spring is immaculate.

Here is the website
http://www.usna.usda.gov/
by Devin
Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:00 pm
 
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Klamath/Siskiyou Mountain Diversity

I have noticed lots of redwood talk on this site, and though rightfully deserved, I thought I could make a post of the nearby Klamath and Siskiyou mountains.

Located roughly from southern Oregon down to northern California, these mountains have some of the highest conifer diversity in world, with the "miracle mile" located in the Russian wilderness hosting 17 species of conifers in one square mile. The botanical diversity is a result of a moderate climate that receives influence from the pacific coast, lack of major glacierization, and a unique topography that harbors many different and variable microclimates. Serpentine soils, which lack much needed macronutrients but are high in calcium and magnesium, create a frugal way of life only certain species of plants can evolved with. Finally, because of the relatively inaccessible terrain, many areas were never heavily logged or never logged at all.

I know the happy camp fire this summer burned up a large chunk of the Marble Mts wilderness, including one mountain ridge over from the miracle-mile at sugar creek, which has so much fuel on the ground it wouldnt stand a chance.

In terms of size, no doubt there are some unrecognized champion species in there. If there are any NTS folk looking for champions, I would skip the redwoods and head a bit east.

Notable mentions:
Hancock lake, Marble Mt wilderness-Hosts most southern population of silver fir DSC03582.jpg DSC03585.jpg
Bear lake, Trinity wilderness-Massive ponderosa pines (dont know if they are record holders) DSC03659.JPG DSC03660.JPG
Devils Punchbowl, Siskiyou Mts- Most southern pop of Alaskan yellow cedar
Mt. Eddy, Shasta-Trinity Mts- Large population of foxtail pine, most eastern population of Port-Orford cedar DSC03702.JPG DSC03729.jpg
by Devin
Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:07 pm
 
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Hemphill Ash

Been slowly organizing my photos and came across these. Immediately thought of youse folk.

I know personal at GSMNP has mapped at least portions of this grove, but was wondering if anybody at NTS has measured these beautiful specimens. For white ash, these are huge! Many dominant the canopy like a poplar would. Besides a nasty hog infestation the area is beautiful, and is in wake of EAB. Sorry if this has been done, but does anybody know if this place has gotten any recognition?
by Devin
Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:09 pm
 
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Historical logging photos

These interesting photos came from:
Encyclopedia of American Forest and Conservation History. Volume I and II. 1983. Editor Richard C. Davis.
Looking for Longleaf: The fall and rise of an American forest. Lawrence S. Earley
by Devin
Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:31 pm
 
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Guadalupe Mts National Park

Guadalupe Nat Park is located in very western Texas on the border with New Mexico. The terrain is very diverse, ranging from desert chaparral to douglas fir (and supposingly engelmann spruce) forest at 8500ft. The area is part of the Capitan reef formed 250 million years ago and is one of the worlds most preserved fossilized reefs. In general it was still pretty wintery, especially once you got to higher elevation where there was still snow. The tree species I was able to recognize aren't rare or anything, but in general were new to me as I dont get out west as much as I use to. Very interesting to see a Madrona in the middle of the desert, and it beared quite a resemblance to the Pacific Madrona, though not nearly as large. Tried to find some Engelmann but didnt see any, prob isolated on a north slope somewhere.
by Devin
Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:49 am
 
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Microscopic pollen

Some attempts at capturing this years invasion of pollen. I am assuming pollen distinction is unique upon genera, not species. Pine by far has the largest and most abundant pollen, with weird bug eyes. Dandelion was surprisingly unique and spikey, as well as mayapple and sweetgum with bulbous protrusions. Interestingly the wind pollenated plants have roundish, smooth pollen. I would have guessed more appenditures or wings for longer sailing, compared to tropical species which in general are insect pollenated. Maybe smooth is good? Nice time I will do a little research before hand for unique species and hunt for the particulars.
by Devin
Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:59 pm
 
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Sky Lake Mississippi

I had the pleasure of visiting sky lake, near Greenwood MS the other day. Sky lake was once part of the ms river and now is a oxbow lake. The area was high graded in the past but still has some ancient, gnarly relics. The kiosk there said that these trees were some of the oldest bald cypress that exist on the planet. It was a beautiful spring day and the water was maybe 3-4 feet deep? There is an impressive boardwalk that extends about a quarter mile into the swamp. The area was privately owned but donated to the state for preservation. The forest consisted of cypress and water tupelo with water elm (Planera aquatica) underneath. Buttonbush and water locust were spotted, but in general the forest was dominated by three species. I was curious to what kind of herbacious, or even shrubbery could tolerate the severe flooding. The trees had high watermarks on them. It would be interesting to go back in a drier month and see what grows on the floor. Prob just a bunch of cane grass.


I was able to get a quick video of the area, the birds were feisty that day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBYxhGtjE3w&feature=youtu.be
by Devin
Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:38 pm
 
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Re: Sky Lake Mississippi

Bbeduhn- After becoming inspired about cypress I did a little research and found this great publishing. It mentions the Four Holes swamp as having "giant columnar trees", and one of the few virgin stands that actually had desired timber. It goes into detail on how the trees location affects its growth form, and thus its marketability. Obvious with terrestrial trees (biggest trees usually on sheltered alluvial flats), but I never thought about "water trees" and their relationship to water depth, salinity, dissolved oxygen etc.

http://www.uark.edu/misc/dendro/PUBS/2012-Stahle-QSR.pdf

Larry- Just getting a taste makes me drool over what the south was originally, especially the longleaf and cypress in Louisiana.

Matt- Smartphones do make it easy, once you have pano'ed a tree you never want to revert to normal again. I need to get a phone necklace for mine when shooting though, especially over water, darn things are so smooth feel like I am gonna drop it at any moment.
by Devin
Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:31 pm
 
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The fungal relationships of trees

Mycorrhizal fungi are extremely beneficial for trees, and in most instances are required for the tree to prosper. Mycorrhizae allow trees to absorb more water and nutrients, notably phosphorous from the soil. Additionally, mycorrhizae help defend trees against pathogens and nematodes, can suppress competing organisms, boost regeneration survival, and even allow trees to communicate to each other during times of distress. The type of mycorrhizae depends on the plant. More info if interested:

http://mycorrhizas.info/index.html
http://mycorrhizae.com/wp-content/uploads/Types-of-Mycorrhizal-Plants.pdf
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12115/abstract

Ectomycorrhiza and the willow oak
Willow oak.jpg
This willow oak first stood out to me last fall when I noticed Pisolithus tintorius, a very useful generalist ecto underneath the tree. Since then I have revisited the tree a handful of times. I have observed ~12 different ecto species associated with it, along with 3 saprobic species on its roots/fallen branches, and one foliar rust. Macro fungi found on the surface is usually only a fraction of the total population, making me speculate how many mutualistic partners this one tree really has.

Ecto species - (Genus is correct, species may not be)
Amanita flavorubescens
Amanita vaginata (grissete)
Boletus ornatipes
Cantherellus minor
Hygrocybe marginata (role unknown, could be saprobic)
Lactarius allardii
Lactarius sanguifluus
Pisolithus tintorius
Russula spp. 1
Russula spp. 2
Russula virescens-like species
Scleroderma polyrhizum

Saprobic species
Daldina concentrica
Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)
Meripilus spp.

Foliar rust
Cronartium quercuum

Amanita flavorubescens.JPG
Boletus ornatipes.JPG
Cantherellus minor.jpg
Hygrocybe marginata.JPG
Lactarius sanguifluus.JPG
Pisolithus tintorius.JPG
Scleroderma polyrhizum.JPG
Cronartium quercuum.jpg

Endomycorrhiza and the dogwood

Additionally I wanted to see how many endo partners a tree may have. Endo fungi produce spores in the soil so no mushroom is produced. To observe endo species you must collect soil from around the roots and sieve/decant to isolate the spores for observation under a microscope. Identification is extremely difficult, with the majority of species not even described to science. I chose a tiny dogwood sapling in the forest to dig up, curious to see how many associations it may have. There were a lot. Each unique "planet" is a different species.

Glomeromycota.jp.jpg
c1150512_013.jpg
spore diversity.jpg
spore close up.jpg

The symbiotic diversity just around these two trees is remarkable. So which one came first, plants or fungi? Plants are autotrophs, while fungi are heterotrophs, so you think plants were independent and fungi jumped on board at a later date. Yet vesicle structures have been observed in 400 million year-old fossilized roots from the very first vascular plants. Many gymnosperms, especially in the family Pinaceae, are obligate hosts to EM fungi, suggesting that the fungi was present during evolution. Additionally, by the time angiosperms evolved fungi had been around for a long time, surely attributing to the present mycorrhizal mutualism found in over 90% of flowering plants.

So, are plants or fungi “the mothers” of the forest? Many people believe trees are the mothers, and in some ways they are, as their physical dominance creates the environment for all other life to flourish. But would that old-growth tree still be there after centuries of abuse from abiotic and biotic influence without any help? Would the seed of that tree even have germinated way back when with such little energy reserves and leached soil nutrients? Would that species even be in existence? In most instances probably not, leading me to believe that all life, including us, is dependent on mycorrhizae, the true mother of the forest.
by Devin
Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:00 pm
 
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Green swamp preserve, nc

Hi all,
I had the chance to visit the green swamp preserve the other day in southeastern North Carolina. About 14,000 acres is managed by the Nature Conservancy. The area has been periodically burned and is a beautiful longleaf savanna with lots of regeneration. Multiple species of pitcher plants (Sarracenia perhaps) were flowering. Flytraps and sundews were spotted. Overall a beautiful area worth some recognition.

Cheers
by Devin
Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:06 pm
 
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Red maple

One of my favorite trees in Congaree National Park
by Devin
Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:36 pm
 
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Tree galls

Hi all,
A picture collection of different tree galls. Many of you are probably familiar with them. I find this symbiosis fascinating. The fact that the tree produces the gall for the successful reproduction of the organism demonstrates the remarkable evolution between plants, insects, fungi, and bacteria. Many species of plants are obligate hosts to their gall-inducing organisms. Cynipidae gall wasps produce an array of beautiful and diverse galls. Blue oaks (Quercus douglasii) in California develop very unique galls. In general, identification is difficult...if any of you have insight towards identification please enlighten me.
by Devin
Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:21 pm
 
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Re: East Coast Albinos

Wow very cool, on the east coast I can only recall seeing variegation on broad leafs, usually because of a virus. Those shoots look like some legit albinos.

This paper mentions, along with genetic factors, cooler temperatures and reduced light induced albinoism in oats and barley. I wonder if that is true with these conifers on the east coast, which in general are restricted to cooler temperatures, heavier cloud cover, and shorter growing seasons.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234520615_Albinism_in_Plants_A_Major_Bottleneck_in_Wide_Hybridization_Androgenesis_and_Doubled_Haploid_Culture
by Devin
Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:48 pm
 
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Maymont Park, Richmond VA

Hello ents,
Over the holidays while visiting family I walked around Maymont Park in Richmond Va. This 100-acre arboretum is one of the pride and joys of the city and is a must see for any tree enthusiast. It was built in 1893 by philanthropist James Dooley and his wife Sally, and after their death was converted into a public garden. Mrs. Dooley was into horticulture and planted over 200 trees from all around the world here. As an unfortunate consequence, this is the epicenter of the Hemlock woolly adelgid, which was introduced into America from a tree here carried over from Asia. To this day the property contains a beautiful mansion, animal farm, nature center, Japanese gardens, and Italian gardens.

More info here:
https://maymont.org/
by Devin
Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:33 pm
 
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Re: South Ms Black Creek Wilderness Trail

Nice tulips and big leaf. Being from more northern eastern coast I really recognized the difference between the prevalence and size of poplars when I lived in MS. NWR, Tombigbee, and to some extent Delta Nat. are the only places I have seen them exceed 20" dbh down there. When you live in the mountains (and even the piedmont) they are practically weeds and you almost cringe on the site of a pure stand. You take for granted their existence along the entire east coast and it is only when you move to the deep south do their habitat and phenology become special again.
by Devin
Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:12 am
 
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Virginia longleaf conservation

An interesting article on longleaf restoration sites in Virginia.

http://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/blackwater/longleaf-pine-restoration-d2-1.pdf

Very cool project and I hope funding for these projects continue. Wow only 200 truly native long leafs left in Virginia, from the historical estimate of hundreds of millions.

I never would have thought that seed from northern long leafs are genetically superior to ones from the south. I would think the best genetics would derive from "the heart" of the species native range, much further south. Maybe the seed sources from the southern long leafs were from defunct stands with weak genes, especially if collected from sites that have historically been abused.

The Johnson et al. 2013 study states the northern source of seed was from only about 10 trees in Virginia. The vigor that these trees exhibited could be purely from the strong genes of that small seed source and might not really be representative of the entire region. Im pretty tired and maybe I missed something but they are planting plots in Virginia derived from one small population by grafting genetically identical scions from trees with superior genes (straightest/resistance to insect/disease) on each rootstock. So this future forest will be comprised of all "meathead" trees that are all genetically identical? Ecologically speaking, arent weak trees in the forest just as important as vigorous ones to maintain proper forest health? Will this evolve into a truly natural forest or some kind of a plantation forest?
by Devin
Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:23 am
 
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Wood burns

Hello ents,
Attached are some recent wood burnings of mine. I hope everyone can appreciate them here as most of them have to do with trees.
by Devin
Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:50 pm
 
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Ramseys Draft Wilderness, VA

NTS,
A couple of weeks ago I made a tangent trip to Ramseys Draft wilderness. The Forest Service has managed the Ramsey’s Draft area essentially as a wilderness since 1935 and much of it has never been logged. This is one of the few places in Virginia where you can find old growth low elevation forest. I hiked the Ramseys Draft trail up to Hiners spring, then connected to the Shanandoah mountain trail and back down to the trail head via the Road Hollow trail. The first several miles there was an old service road and the forest seems like it has been logged in the past, at least selectively. Its not until ~4 miles in you encounter some mother trees.

This area was blasted by HWA around 2000, and is pretty much a hemlock graveyard. I hiked this trail about nine years ago and it was difficult then, but now much more trees have fallen and there are literally about 100 trees to climb over and about 12 stream crossings with in the first ~7 miles. On a positive note, there are still some specimens with apparent resistance, mostly riparian trees, and once you get to higher elevations the scattered ridge-top hemlocks look immaculate.
IMG_2909.JPG
IMG_2925.jpg
About 4~ miles in good-sized white pines start to become abundant and the woods start to get piney.
IMG_2929.JPG
IMG_2933.jpg
IMG_2946.jpg
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Around ~5 miles I came across a beautiful OG tree that I initially pondered as a tulip poplar, but after some speculation noticed the bark looked different and there were no marcescent seed cones still attached to the branches. The branching pattern also appeared opposite and there were lots of abscised rachis, or central leaf stalks on the ground. Wow I am quite confident this is an ash and has to be one of the largest forest-grown ash trees I have ever seen besides the hemphill ash in GSMNP. What do yall think? I need to go back to this tree before EAB hits and treat this beautiful soul.
IMG_2935.JPG
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The right prong of the creek has seen utter devastation, comparable to Cataloochee in GSMNP, with complete canopy loss and dog haired birch filling in.
IMG_2957.jpg
IMG_2926.jpg
IMG_2953.jpg
Before Hiners spring yellow birch becomes abundant with many of them infested with chaga (Inonotus obliquus). While this mushroom is generally uncommon in the southern Appalachians I have noticed it can be locally abundant in birch stands above ~3500ft.
IMG_2963.jpg
Above Hiners spring there is Hardscrabble knob that gives you a view of the watershed.
IMG_2971.jpg
IMG_2969.jpg
IMG_2974.JPG
Shenandoah mountain trail is really nice and easy with some healthy looking stands of hemlock and unique acidic vegetation communities of mountain laurel, white pine, oak, and hemlock.
IMG_2983.JPG
IMG_2984.JPG
by Devin
Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:02 pm
 
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Re: Help with Maryland Tree Id's

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.
by Devin
Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:25 pm
 
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