New iPhone App Makes it Easy to Identify North American Trees

The Arbor Day Foundation has developed a new application to make identifying trees even easier for iPhone and iPod Touch users.

 The new application is called Arbor Day Tree Identification Guide: What Tree Is That?, and it’s based on the Arbor Day Foundation’s acclaimed tree identification guide, What Tree Is That? The new application is simple to use helps people identify the species of trees in just minutes. By identifying a few basic characteristics of a tree, such as leaf size and shape and branch structure, iPhone users will be able to determine what type of tree is in their backyard, neighborhood, city park or just about anywhere.

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Announcing the Tree Campus Photo Contest Winners

This isn’t one of our normal topics, but since so many of you voted for this contest you are probably curious to know who won. Today the winner was announced and the picture above was the winner.

Congratulations to Kaylyn Sawin-Johnson, at the University of Colorado – Boulder, for winning the Arbordaynow.org Tree Campus Photo Contest!

Look at the Top 3 Winners.

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Bone Up on Your Evergreens!

It’s easy to ignore evergreens when the yard is loaded with flowers. Often called the “bones” of the landscape, some evergreens are about as sexy during the summer as just that — bones. The “flesh” draws all the attention when times are good: flowers, bolder and more sensual, steal the show while warm winds blow.

But when Old Man Winter arrives in the North, blowing icy gusts that chill us to the bone, we rediscover our admiration for that mousy little Blue Star juniper over there in the corner. It’s not that the evergreen, itself has changed; it’s just that the deciduous flowering plants around it have been deprived of foliage and flower alike. Evergreens have become the only game in town, a rare commodity. Suddenly, their stock price soars. Read more…

How Far do Tree Roots Grow Down

A recent blog published on Deeproot Urban Landscape looked at the depth of roots for several different types of trees.  They compared several different research papers to debunk a common myth about tree roots.  This group was interested in learning the answer to this question because they are focused on the improving green infrastructure through street trees.  As a home owner or landscape designer the study does have several relevant implications.

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The Immortal Evergreen

How are the plants in your yard looking these days? If you live in the North, as I do, your deciduous trees and shrubs are probably looking pretty bare. My sweetgum tree, viburnum shrubs and spirea shrubs were some of the last holdouts. Even my neighbor’s Bradford pear tree, always one of the last to give up the struggle, has shed the remainder of its tardy but oh-so-brilliant fall foliage.

But not all is lost — well, not if you’ve had the foresight to plant evergreen trees, that is. They just keep chugging along, oblivious to the changing seasons. Even that Grim Reaper of the seasons, winter, fails to stifle needled evergreens. Old Man Winter meets his match in this Old Man River of the plant world.

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Tree Photos: Vote for Your Favorite

Arbordaynow.org asked students around the country to submit photos of trees on their college campuses. They asked them to help show the valuable role that trees play in our daily lives. From energy conservation to wildlife habitat, from storm water runoff to simple beauty, we wanted them to capture the emotional and historical presence that trees hold in the lives of the many students and community members that pass through their campuses every day.

Help chose a winner. Voting Ends This Friday: December 10, 2010

View all photos

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Hickory, Chicory, Dock

Think for a moment about the origins of the various culinary and medicinal purposes to which plants have been put over the millennia. For every fruit, nut, leaf, berry, etc. that became food or medicine for us at some point in history or prehistory, somebody initially served as the “guinea pig.” That is, somebody in a particular tribe was the first to try ingesting taro root, for example (better known as elephant ears). Said guinea pig survived (in this case), and others followed suit. Through a less fortunate guinea pig, people learned that foxglove didn’t make for a very good snack! Read more…

Why Leaves Change Color?

Scientists don’t yet fully understand all of the complicated actions and interactions that produce the spectacular displays of autumn leaf colorsBiological illustration of a leaf's color change that are a highlight of the fall months. Although not fully understood, several factors affect when and how tree leaves change color and the hues they produce. These factors include:

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Smoketree

If you should ever find yourself luxuriating in the French Riviera, and in the unlikely event you grow tired of the sand and sea, a walk in the hills will introduce you to the unique woodlands of the Mediterranean.   There, among the scrubby oaks and umbrella pines you will find a familiar bush or small tree, the European smoketree – in its native environment.

There are only two species of trees in the genus Cotinus.  One is the American smoketree, the other is its close relative from Europe.  For both, their claim to fame is the wispy clumps of filaments that look all the world like smoke.  The mirage has given rise to other names such as mist tree, cloud tree, wig tree, and Jupiter’s beard.  By whatever name, the site of this tree is what Minnesota garden writer Don Engebretson has called “one of the most arresting shrubs available to…gardeners today.”
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Trees That Attract Honeybees

Q: What trees attract honeybees?

 This is a good question, especially in light of the struggle our industrious little friends are having just to exist in our ever-urbanizing world. 

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