The Old Schoolhouse Oak

The Old Schoolhouse Oak in the news again

Tom Eblen has a fine article in today’s Lexington Herald-Leader about the Old Schoolhouse Oak  and the commitment of Ball Homes to preserve the tree in a new housing development.  By my count, this is the 14th Herald Leader article about this splendid tree You can read the article at the Herald Leader or on […]

Going out in flame

Winged sumac, Rhus copallinum, has to be one of our most beautiful small trees.  Also known as shining sumac and flameleaf sumac,  winged sumac is a modest plant most of the year, often in the understory of dry woods or on the edges of forests. In the autumn, winged sumac goes out in a blaze […]

The Old Schoolhouse Oak Has Babies

Bur oak in the Bluegrass reproduces only rarely. Although it is a prolific seed producer, there is very little suitable habitat for young bur oak trees. While inspecting our preservation work on the Old Schoolhouse Oak with Tom Eblen of the Herald-Leader, we noticed several vigorous young bur oak seedlings. These trees are just outside […]

Good Urban Forestry For Resilient Cities, Part 1

A healthy urban forest is important as the world warms and cities become increasingly hot. The effects of climate change are exaggerated in cities due to the urban heat island effect. In a new article at Planet Experts, I begin a new series of articles on urban forestry and climate change.  The first installment is […]

Giant Cane in the Bluegrass

Giant cane, Arundinaria gigantea, was abundant in the Bluegrass before the area was settled. Bison herds maintained cane, grazing on it but then leaving for long periods, allowing the cane to recover. When bison were replaced by cattle, sheep and horses, the cane quickly disappeared. Natural stands of cane are today quite rare in the […]

A farewell to the autumn colors of ash trees

Ash trees, especially white ash, are among our most reliable and beautiful trees for fall color. White ash shows rich shades of red, purple, yellow and green, all within the same trees and the Biltmore ash variety is cloaked in yellow and orange hues. Green ash takes on an astonishingly bright yellow hue. Sadly, the […]

Leaves in a Warm Autumn

In a warm autumn, as we are having in 2016, leaf color change is slowed down. Instead of a quick display of color, we often see slow development of color, muted colors, and mottled colors within a single leaf. We had the same conditions in 2014. Trees use photoperiod, or day length, to determine when […]

Sassafras albidum in autumn

What is your favorite autumn tree?

What is your favorite autumn tree? Mine changes on a daily basis, but my current favorite has to be sassafras, Sassafras albidum. I like trees like sassafras and sweetgum that display many colors in a single tree. Sassafras is a great urban tree in fairly large spaces such as parks. It reproduces from root sprouts, […]

Ginkgo Trees Are Lovely – Let’s Stop Planting Them

Cities are heating up because of a combination of climate change, the urban heat island effect, and a loss of urban tree canopy cover. We can mitigate some of these effects and increase the resilience of urban environments  if we plant more trees. The wrong choice of trees, though, can reduce urban biodiversity and may […]

thousand canker disease

Death by a Thousand Cankers

We have posted a new article at Planet Experts, Death by a Thousand Cankers, about the tragedy of a new disease of black walnut.  Although not yet in Kentucky, is it present in surrounding states.  The disease is new and began in the western United States, where black walnuts have been introduced as ornamentals.  Since […]

bur oak

The Trees of Horse Country

The Inner Bluegrass has long claimed the title of Horse Capital of the World.  Early farmers found that our water and soil produced the ideal conditions for raising horses. Today, there are over 400 horse farms in the area. Many of the most distinguished farms have been in the same families for generations.  For these […]

Fixing Our Urban Tree Management Problems

At a workshop at Bell Place Park in Lexington last Saturday, we made considerable progress on improving urban tree management in  Lexington.  Although the weather was poor and the turnout small, some key people were there.  In addition to several citizens from the neighborhood, we were joined by LFUCG Council Member Steve Kay,  LFUCG Deputy […]

Measuring large oak tree

October Tour of Large Bluegrass Trees

A group of tree enthusiasts from Iowa and Ohio came to Lexington to see some of our largest trees.  The group, Matt Markworth, Landon Smith, and Mark and Rita Rouw are members of the Native Tree Society who love to measure and record very large trees. We took them on a brief tour of some […]

Mower damage, old (O) and new (N)

Reminder – Urban Tree Walk This Saturday, Oct. 11

What: A walk around Bell Court to look at the condition of trees on city land (Bell Place Park). Dave Leonard and Tom Kimmerer will show you what has happened to the trees in this park as a result of poor management practices, and will talk about solutions. When: Saturday, October 11, 10am – 11:30am […]

Blue ash at Runnymede Farm

A Visit to Runnymede Farm

Runnymede Farm in Bourbon County is the oldest continuously-operated thoroughbred farm in Kentucky. Founded in 1867 by Colonel Ezekiel Clay, it is today operated by his grandson, Catesby W. Clay, and great-grandson  Brutus J. Clay III.  As you might expect for such a long-running family farm, the Clay family has taken great care of their […]

Keep Growing Until We Have to Quit – The Yellow-Poplar Strategy

Trees are generally very conservative in their growth habits. They often go to extremes to avoid rare events such as an early frost or severe drought. This is especially true of shoot growth. Although we think of trees as growing all summer, most trees only grow in height for a few weeks. Flowering dogwood sets […]

Ginkgo tree killed by stem damage

Walking Tour of Trees at Bell Court

Many people have expressed concern about the poor condition of trees in Lexington parks.  To help concerned citizens understand the nature of the problem and see some solutions, we are holding a walking tour of trees and tree condition at Bell Place Park in Bell Court, Lexington.   The tour is from 10 to 12 […]

Castlewood Park Blue Ash

Castlewood Park – Home of the Big Blues

While Big Blue Nation awaits another exciting college basketball season, another Kentucky icon quietly stands in relative obscurity – the ancient, big blue ash trees of Castlewood Park and other Lexington urban parks. Successfully avoiding the encroaching development that has threatened ancient blue ash trees in other areas of the Bluegrass, these centuries-old trees inspire […]

Mower damage, old (O) and new (N)

Street tree abuse – Part II

Street tree abuse is our term for management of street trees that results in their death, or in severe damage that shortens their lives. We have previously shown examples of this throughout the Lexington area. Now, we show an egregious example of street tree abuse while it is happening. The scene is the Legacy Trail, […]

Bur oak with lightning scar and lost crown

Lightning and Trees

Lightning and Trees seem to go together. Many fires in the Western US are started by lightning strikes on trees. Here in the Bluegrass and Nashville Basin, we find fire scars on a very large number of trees. Lightning rarely kills our trees, but it is an important factor in their lives. Lightning-struck trees lose […]

Street Tree

Street tree abuse – Part 1

Street tree abuse is all too common in many cities. Here, a tree was planted to high, leaving its roots exposed on the surface. This would not be a serious problem – it is better to plant too high than too low – if it weren’t for subsequent damage by mowers. Every exposed root of […]

Woodland Pastures

Friday Tree – A Woodland Pasture Quiz

The Woodland Pasture, or Wood Pasture, habitat is one of the rarest landscapes in the world. Here are four, in different places. See if you can identify the location. The person with the best answer will get an 8×10 print of a woodland pasture photograph (Note: we will be sending out pictures to donors and […]

Maps and GIS

Maps and GIS are at the core of our work at Venerable Trees, Inc.  A GIS, or Geographical Information System, “lets us  visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends” (ESRI). The usual way of looking at GIS data is by the creation of a map, but that is far from the […]

Friday Tree picture of leaves

Friday Tree – Signs of Autumn?

This week’s Friday Tree is no mystery – it is the same as last weeks Friday Tree.  Do you know it?  This picture reminds us that, for many trees, autumn may already have begun.  What are you seeing where you live? Are there signs of autumn in the trees around you? Over the next few […]