Wednesday, November 2, 2011

pics from a morning stroll

I decided to take my camera along for my little walk and errand running this morning. Even though just a Hosta in this small cement urn I couldn't help but like the way the sun was hitting it from behind.
Everywhere in my neighborhood you see these small herbaceous plantings, such as these mums, peaking through the chain link fence in search of the sun. Get it, kids!
I could create a whole blog that was just old dilapidated laundromat signs from around the city. There is something about each sign and storefront that makes it unique, like the funny crooked ampersand.
People do some fabulous container gardening here in Astoria, land of the Greeks. Here they started with tall, narrow pots planted with red Mandevilla, a great flowering vine of an annual, and trained it up to create this whole elaborate trellis you walk under when coming or going. ...pretty fabulous.
Then I had to get stuck looking at all the new street trees. The Parks Department is about halfway through the planting efforts associated with their Million Trees NYC initiative which means over 500,000 trees have been planted in the last four years or less. As an arborist it's great because I never have to go far to find myself noticing new trees, eagerly trying to identify each one.
I am guessing that this new addition is a young black oak, Quercus velutina. Many oaks within the red oak family can look alike so often you have to carefully examine other parts of the tree in order to make your best educated guess. You need to look at things like the buds the trees set in fall that persist through winter.
In some cases you need to take into consideration the bark.
In both cases the buds and the bark seem closest to a black oak, though most of the black oaks I know are much older so there is some difference in their appearance. The reddish buds with their gray pubescence and gray bark with hints of a more yellow inner bark tend to make me think it is Quercus velutina over the other usual suspects like northern red oaks, pin oaks, and scarlet oaks. But again, just a guess for now.

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