Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Trees of Eaton Rapids, Part 1

Some trees just make you go "Wow!"  All pictures can be clicked on to embiggen.
I intend for this to be the first of a series of essays on the trees growing in, and near, the city of Eaton Rapids. These essays will be picture heavy.

White Oak (Quercus alba)

227 State Street, the house is bracketed by a couple of White Oak trees.

Plains Highway, just east of the high school.  Want to leave a legacy?  Plant a White Oak.  These are probably about 150 years old.  Quercus alba does not like sites that flood.  Q. macrocarpa and Q. bicolor are better choices for those sites.
Eaton Rapids was originally Oak Savanna.  White Oak was one of the major components of that habitat.  White Oak is very comfortable and happy in Eaton Rapids.  To minimize risk of Oak Wilt and other diseases that might spread via root grafts, it is best to limit oak's total share of the canopy to 20%.  In general, "White Oaks" are more resistant to diseases than "Red Oaks", so they can be planted closer to that 20% number.  The "Red Oaks" should probably top out at 10%.

One easy rule of thumb is to NOT plant an oak tree if there is another oak tree within 100 paces of where you want to plant.  Landscape architects dislike this approach because it does not meet their aesthetic standards.  They snidely comment that this approach produces a random "bowl full of jelly beans" look.  That is, as if the planting was not designed by somebody who was trained in aesthetics.

Frankly, I am fond of good jelly beans.

American Sycamore (Plantus occidentalis)

Sycamore is a "Hey, look at me!" tree due to its interesting bark.  These trees are next to the spillway at the mouth of Springbrook creek.

Miller Dairy on East State street.  The drive is lined with sycamore. They are very tall, lithe and slender.  They remind me of a family of tennis players.
Sycamore comes in two flavors:  American and "London".  Both quickly grow to be massive trees.  Continued plantings of Sycamore have a place in Eaton Rapids if not done with a heavy hand.  Sycamore (also called "Plane trees") like moist, fertile soil.

Twin exclamation points

This is what you will see if you enter Eaton Rapids from the North.
Same trees, slightly different angle.  The tree on the right, the one with the "Hallelujah arms" is an Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus).  The slightly taller one on the left with the flabby arms is a Norway Spruce (Picea abies).  Both trees are probably over 100 feet tall.
Bill Botti told me that nurseries used to send traveling salesmen door-to-door in the early 1900s.  They often threw in a couple of bonus evergreens with each order of fruit trees.  That may account for the many, old farm houses with a Norway Spruce and an Eastern White Pine growing side-by-side.  The fruit trees are long gone.

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

On the floodplains behind the old, Horner Woolen Mill.
107 King Street.  This tree looks splendid next to this style of house.
Bald Cypress gets two thumbs up from ERJ.  This is on my OK to plant list.

 American Elm (Ulmus americana)

517 McArthur River Drive.

Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria)

221 McArthur River Drive.  Oak trees that retain their leaves can provide "white noise" all winter long.  The downside is that retained leaves makes them more vulnerable to ice damage.
Three nice specimens in somebody's back yard on Marilin Drive across from Family Fare.
Shingle Oak is in the "Red Oak" family.  The leaves do not look much like Oak leaves.  They have no lobes or sinuses.

Shingle Oak appears to be one of those species that does well growing in very moist spots and very, very dry spots.  It is a shy producer of acorns which is important to some people.

Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

Cottonwoods have reverse snob appeal.  They come in both male and female versions.  The male versions produce pollen.  The females produce seeds that can clog air conditioners.  On the plus side, they grow like a house afire, are surprisingly ice resistant and produce a light shade that gardeners can work with.  This tree can be found at 411 West Broad Street.
Most Cottonwood trees are volunteers.  They were allowed to live because they were in the right place to solve a problem and they had good enough form to be attractive.  I think there is nothing wrong with 1%-to-5% of the trees in Eaton Rapids be Cottonwood.

Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

I am not an accomplished enough of a photographer to capture the three dimensionality of this old Catalpa tree trunk.  Therefore, I shot some video of a walk around.

This tree makes me think of book covers for novels by Ursula Le Guin and Anne McCaffery.  Frothy surf crashing into sheer cliffs.  Caves with hooded entrances.  Castles.  Dragons.  Treasure.

Not bad for one tree.

This tree lives at 416 Broad Street.



    227 State Street = 266 State Street on google street view. Lovely trees

    1. I will double check tomorrow. I went by the numbers on the house but I may have screwed up.

      My Lyzdexia yam be gnitca up.


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