Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Backyard Trees

First off, what is a backyard?

For some people this is easy to define--it's the yard around their house. But what if you live in an apartment in the city on the twenty-eighth floor? If there's a nearby park, you can call that your backyard. Or your friend's yard out in the suburbs. Or the greater area. You can decide what to call your backyard for the Biodiversity Challenge.

So have you figured out what trees are in your yard? I was a little surprised when I listed mine: ash, elm, two different looking junipers, catalpa, apricot, peach, Lombardy poplar and white poplar. What surprised me? There are quite a few different species of ashes, elms, and junipers, and I'm not entirely sure what we have. I'm going to have to take a closer look.

That might not be the easiest right now, given that the trees have no leaves on them, but there are clues. Last year's leaves, the bark, the height, the shape, and more can be very helpful. Or I can just wait a few weeks!

Are the trees in your yard native? From a biodiversity standpoint, that's the best. Sadly, none of the trees in my yard are native. The only native trees around here at this elevation grow next to the creeks. If there isn't water, we don't have trees, we just have shrubs or grasses or other plants. I think it's very important to find out if species are native or not, so I encourage you as you make your list to put asterisks next to the species that are non-native.

Okay, I want to find out more about what's in your yard! Please leave a comment about the trees you find there, or what tree you would like to plant in your yard and why.


jendoop said...

Strangely enough, the one tree in our yard known to be a native is the one that is doing the most poorly. It's a pin oak. An aborist told me that even though it's native, it never thrives. (We're in Eastern PA.)

Other than that we've got pines in the back, one of which died and another is dying - not sure why. We've got a Macintosh apple tree that rarely produces apples (bad pruning?). We have several dogwoods which I love. There is a decorative cherry in front which I love also, the blossoms are gorgeous, and the shape it grows is perfect. We have a strange tree that some aborists have told us is a flowering cherry (it does get small inedible cherries which are a mess to clean up) but it isn't very pretty, with tiny yellow flowers and tons of overwhelming sprouts at the base of the tree. What can I do to prevent those?

Ipomopsis said...

I just have several elms where I rent. I think at least some are Siberian (Ulmus pumila). They all flower in the spring. None are native, of course.

Anonymous said...

Great idea on the backyard biodiversity challenge! We have mostly a mix of maple, spruce, elm, pine, beech, sassafras, and oak trees.

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