Monday, April 23, 2018

New Street Trees

For several months now I’ve wanted to participate in Lucy’s virtual street plant gathering. But I’ve yet to find any spring growth in urban habitat here at 7200 ft elevation, even though early wildflowers are blooming in the prairies nearby. Then last week, some trees appeared along the new street under construction near my house.

Yes, I’m stretching the definition. These are hardly street plants. They’re not the urban waifs, tough pioneers, under-appreciated photosynthesizers that I admire so much. In fact, these are pampered plants. A landscaping contractor carefully planted them, and installed an irrigation system. But until true street plants appear, these trees will have to do. I took advantage of the weekend (no workers) to meet them.
Tools of the trade.
Each tree has one of these.

I found five kinds—two evergreen conifers and three deciduous hardwoods. I didn’t recognize the long-needled pine; it’s not one of our natives unless it’s a 2-needled cultivar of ponderosa (if such a thing exists). The spruce probably are native—they’re common landscaping trees here.
Among the deciduous trees are maples of some kind. Or so I think, based on oppositely-arranged branchlets and what look like tattered remnants of samaras (keys).
Several trees had early leaves and were blooming—crab apple? It's another of our common landscaping trees.
Crab apple?
The fifth species is pretty much a mystery, except that the bark has lenticels (forgot to take a photo)—possibly birch or alder? The buds are reddish—what does that mean?
Mystery tree for now.

Appropriate to the habitat—riparian/light-industrial ecotone—two honking Canada geese flew overhead as I assessed the latest progress in road construction. The street is due for completion this summer. We’re looking forward to it, it's been badly needed for a long time.

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