Chinkapin oak

Here are a few of my favorite trees

Lexington is home to an astonishing number of very large, very old trees. Many of these trees were here before the city was settled and represent the original vegetation of the Bluegrass. As the city grew, the native woodland pastures were cleared for development, but the finest trees were often kept in yards, parks and […]

Photo by Flickr user Torbakhopper

Trees in the Eclipse

The total eclipse of August 21 is rightfully attracting huge attention. Towns along the totality band will be flooded with people anxious to experience this rare event. Most of us, wearing our eclipse-safe glasses, will be looking upward to watch the complex but short-lived changes in the sun as the moon passes over.  But you […]

The Sensory World of Trees

Spring is the time when trees compel our attention. With buds opening, leaves growing, flowers emerging, trees seem to call out to us, even if we ignored them all winter. Trees have also been very much in the news in the last few years for three main reasons: 1) the continued loss of forests in […]

Photo by Katherine Williams Shaw

Blue Ash and the Emerald Ash Borer

Until recently, we have been telling you that blue ash, Fraxinus quadrangulata, appears to be resistant to emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis. This is important because blue ash is the most abundant ancient tree in our woodland pastures. The emerald ash borer is devastating our white and green ash trees. See our previous story about […]

Persimmon fruit

Gender identity and the mystery of the persimmon fruit

What does gender mean? We know that human gender is a broad and fluid landscape within which people choose to identify themselves. This is increasingly recognized as a healthy and welcoming way to think about who we are. Gender fluidity is true in many animal species, perhaps the majority.  But what about plants? The photograph above […]

Tree with Treegator bag

Water your young trees!

We are having a spell of beautiful weather – not too hot and with low humidity.  This weather may be fine for people, but it can be stressful to trees.  Trees lose more water from their leaves when humidity is low. I If the soil is dry, the trees may soon wilt or die back. […]

The second flush of growth

We think of summer as the “growing season” and we are used to our garden plants growing all summer. For most trees, though, growth takes place mostly in the early spring. Most trees in temperate regions produce a single flush of growth – the bud opens, leaves that were formed the previous year expand to […]

Old oak tree

How Old is that Tree?

Everyone wants to know how old a particular tree might be. We will discuss this complicated and important subject in two stories. This month we will talk about unitary trees, and next month we will tackle the complex problem of aging clonal trees.   A unitary tree is like a person – a single, integrated organism. […]

Bur oak leaves

A Deep Green Autumn

A deep green autumn is rare in Kentucky. By this time of year, our trees usually look forlorn and bedraggled. Dry summers, high temperatures, insects and diseases all take their toll.  Not in 2015, though. Our frequent rainfall and cool temperatures have allowed many trees to maintain lush green leaves and to continue growing. Some […]

Quercus sumatrana in Sumatra

How many trees species?

When I worked in Borneo, I was fascinated by the immense diversity of trees in the jungles where I worked, even though I could only identify a few species. I did not even know how many different trees I was seeing. They look so much alike, with some exceptions, that I could walk by a […]

Great Trees of the Bluegrass

Today, we are launching a new project “Great Trees of the Bluegrass” to locate and identify important trees in our region. We have a new Facebook Group: Great Trees of the Bluegrass for you to contribute your own observations, and we are also creating a new web-based identification and mapping tool for your use. The purpose of […]

Favorite Tree Books

What is your favorite tree book?  We are creating a list of all the best books about trees.  Whether field guide or fiction, art book or paperback, tell us what tree books are important to you.  We will accumulate the list from your Facebook comments (you can post to Facebook by scrolling down on this […]

The Sap Is Rising

“The sap is rising” is an often heard description of early spring. If you cut into the stem or branch of certain trees – sugar maple, birch, hickory, walnut, or sycamore – on a cool spring day, you may see sap dripping from the cut end, or an icicle of sap forming.  The sap is slightly […]

Early Spring Trees

You may feel we are in the throes of winter, but for many trees, it is already early spring. How can that be? In the late summer, trees begin to enter a stage of deep sleep called dormancy. They don’t stop growing because it is cold, they stop growing because a combination of long nights […]

Blue ash tree

Left-behind Trees

A left-behind tree is our term for woodland pasture trees that are left behind as lone individuals when farmland is urbanized.  You can help us find them. Woodland pastures are part of the original presettlement vegetation of the Bluegrass.  As some areas, especially in Fayette County, were urbanized, most of the trees of the woodland pastures were […]

Dead trees and what they can tell us

Dead trees are fascinating because they provide us with a permanent record of their lives. The annual rings that record the tree’s experience with drought, nutrients and temperature are familiar to most of us.  Somewhat less familiar, but easy to see, is the record of all the insults, accidents and stresses of life as a giant, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Friday Tree

Friday Tree

The Friday Tree for this week is either dead easy or very difficult – let’s find out, shall we?  What tree is this?   Place your comments below.

Leaves

What, if anything, is a species? Part 1

Two trees grow next to each other in a woods in the Bluegrass region of Central Kentucky.  Can you identify them?   Are these two different species or one?  Post your answers in the comments below or on Facebook, then tune in for a discussion of these pictures tomorrow.  Over the next couple of weeks, […]

Friday Tree

Friday Tree May Stump You

The Friday Tree for this week may stump some of you, but it is not really very hard. Give it a try in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. (click for a much larger picture)

Canopy shyness

Canopy shyness

Canopy shyness is the tendency of trees to reduce competition between adjacent trees by maintaining a space between branches. It is easy to see in tropical forest canopies. which tend to be flatter than temperate canopies. Looking up into a tropical forest canopy (in this case a lowland forest in Peninsular Malaysia), you can see […]

Picture of a Friday Tree

Friday Tree Followup

Friday tree followup – Several people got this. Although the bark is unusually pale, this is a common persimmon, Diospyros virginiana.  Persimmon is a common tree in Kentucky and is interesting year-round.  The bark, resembling alligator hide, makes it easy to identify. In late fall, after a few cold nights, the fruit is ripe and […]

Picture of a Friday Tree

Friday Tree

Here is the first Friday Tree. Each week, we will post a picture of a tree and see who knows what it is (on our Facebook page). When you post on the Facebook Page, tell us a little bit about your own experience with the tree. Then, once we have some good choices, we’ll provide […]