Got Nature? Blog

In this edition of ID That Tree, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee introduces you to chestnut oak, sometimes called rock chestnut oak. It is an oak species commonly found in the southern part of the state on high dry sites. It has small, very rounded lobed leaves and strongly ridged, very dark bark.

If you have any questions regarding trees, forests, wildlife, wood products or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Chestnut Oak, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue – Fort Wayne
Quercus Montana, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


treeInDec

Surviving winter actually begins in fall when leaves turn color and drop to the ground.

Purdue Landscape Report: So, what do trees do in the winter? Do they freeze up like unprotected water pipes? Or burst when it gets below freezing? Yes, the below-ground parts of a tree are kept insulated by mulch, soil and a layer of snow, and that is important to survival, but the exposed parts of a tree are not protected.

Deciduous trees, like maples and oaks, have a lot of water inside their trunks and branches. Water is the single most important substance for tree life, comprising nearly 80% of tree material. Although there is a little less inside the tree during the winter, if the temperature drops low enough, the water in even the most cold-hardy tree will freeze. Broadleaf, deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter to reduce water loss inside the trunk and branches. Most needle-leaved trees, known as conifers, which include pines and spruce, retain needles year-round – with exceptions of some deciduous evergreens such as larch and bald cypress– only losing older, or damaged needles. Needles are better at retaining water than broadleaves due to their small surface area and waxy outer coating limiting water loss to transpiration, the evaporation of water from leaves. A hard freeze or poorly timed drop in temperatures can be devastating to living tree cells since ice crystals can shred cell membranes, leading to dead leaves, branches, and even whole trees. Most trees live through the winter despite prolonged exposure to brutally cold air and wind and snow, with special strategies and planning.

Dormancy of trees can be divided arbitrarily into three phases: early rest, winter rest, and after-rest. Each of these phases is marked by a distinct set of physiological processes. The transition between the three phases is gradual and there are many metabolic and developmental processes going on in the buds and twigs. A tree begins its preparations in late summer as day length shortens to survive winter temperatures. Cold acclimation occurs gradually and fall color is a sign that the process is in place and pre-dormancy is beginning.

evergreen

Evergreens are a little different and have a special waxy covering to reduce water loss during the winter.

When the tree enters the winter rest stage, research suggests three basic ways in which a tree prevents freezing. One is to change their membranes, so the membranes become more pliable; this allows water to migrate out of the cells and into the spaces between the cells. The relocated water exerts pressure against the cell walls, but this pressure is offset as cells shrink and occupy less space.

The second way a tree helps prevent freezing is to thicken the fluids within the cells. When days begin to get shorter, trees convert starch to sugars, which act as a natural antifreeze for the plant. The cellular fluid within the living cells becomes concentrated with natural sugars, which lowers the freezing point inside the cells, while the water between the cells is allowed to freeze. Because the cell membranes are more pliable in winter, they’re squeezed but not punctured by the expanding ice crystals.

The third mechanism involves what has been described as a “glass phase,” where the liquid cell contents become so viscous that they appear to be solid, a kind of “molecular suspended animation” and mimic the way silica remains liquid as it is supercooled into glass. This mechanism is triggered by the progressive cellular dehydration that results from the first two mechanisms and allows the supercooled contents of the tree’s cells to avoid crystallizing.

All three cellular mechanisms are intended to keep living cells from freezing. That’s the key for the tree; don’t allow living cells to freeze.

A tree doesn’t have to keep all of its cells from freezing, just the living ones which are primarily the phloem cells. This is significant, since much of a tree’s living trunk is made up of cells that are dead, such as xylem cells. These dead cells can and do freeze, but even the lowest temperature doesn’t have an adverse effect. While a majority of a tree’s above-ground cells do indeed freeze regularly when exposed to subfreezing temperatures, the living cells remain unfrozen and active on a reduced level. There are living cells in the trunk that remain unfrozen even though they are right next to – and at the same temperature as – dead cells that are frozen solid!

frostTree

Some trees like many birches can survive temperatures well below -100 F

This seemingly mystical combination of pliable membranes, natural antifreeze, and glasslike supercooling, with frost on the outside and viscous dehydration on the inside, helps trees avoid freezing injury to living cells. Trees are the largest, oldest living organism on our planet and don’t grow older and larger without having very specific strategies for survival.

However, sometimes, trees aren’t able to withstand extreme conditions, especially if nature provides an unusual change.  While trees have evolved amazing strategies for withstanding the winter cold, sometimes it gets so cold that trees can explode. During spells of extreme cold or especially when trees haven’t had time to acclimate before the cold arrives, the life-sustaining sap inside a tree can begin to freeze. Sap contains water so it expands when frozen, putting pressure on the bark, which can break and create an explosion, so to speak.

Proper winter care is critical to protect your trees with mulch and water to help trees make it through the winter months. For more information on winter tree care, check out this publication: Winterize Your Trees.

Resources
Purdue Landscape Report, Website
Winterize Your Trees, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Defect Identification, The Education Store
Forest/Timber, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel
Urban Forestry, Purdue Extension – FNR playlist
Winter Weather Tree Tips, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Tree Wounds and Healing, Got Nature? Blog
Water Now to Minimize Winter Injury, Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


In this edition of ID That Tree, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee introduces you to a native Indiana tree sometimes called the Indiana banana. Meet the pawpaw, a shade-tolerant, fruit-producing, simple-leaved species.

If you have any questions regarding trees, forests, wildlife, wood products or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Pawpaw: The Midwest Banana?, Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture
Growing Pawpaws, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Unexpected Plants and Animals of Indiana: Pawpaw tree
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


In this edition of ID That Tree, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee introduces you to the chinkapin oak, a member of the white oak family that has leaves that appear sharp like red/black oaks, but really are not. Learn more inside as well as other easier to identify characteristics.

If you have any questions regarding wildlife, trees, forest management, wood products, natural resource planning or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Chinkapin Oak, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Quercus muehlenbergii, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
White Oak, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources Playlist
A Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


In this edition of ID That Tree, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee introduces you to a rebel of the oak family, the shingle oak. Unlike its relatives, the shingle oak’s shiny leaves do not feature any lobes and have a complete margin. Learn more about this oddity and other ways to identify this species inside.

If you have any questions regarding wildlife, trees, forest management, wood products, natural resource planning or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Shingle Oak, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Quercus imbricaria, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources Playlist
A Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


In this edition of ID That Tree, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee introduces a whole family of trees, the red oak group. He identifies four common species and shows how to differentiate between them as well as how to keep the red and white oak groups separated.

If you have any questions regarding trees, forests, wildlife, wood products or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Red Oak, The Education Store, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
FNR Hardwood – Red Oak, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
Red Oak, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue – Fort Wayne
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Did you know that pecan is a relative of the native bitternut hickory? Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee shares more about this species, which features relatively narrow leaflets, strong sulphur yellow colored elongated bud and a tight light gray colored back with small interlacing ridges.

If you have any questions regarding trees, forests, wildlife, wood products or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Carya cordiformis, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
Hickory and Pecan Species, Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Bitternut Hickory, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue – Fort Wayne
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


ForestryWorkshop

Do you want to learn how to manage and keep your woodlands healthy and prosperous? A new online offering from Purdue Extension will offer the chance to do just that from the comfort and safety of your own home or computer screen.

Join Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee on Tuesdays from March 2 to April 13 for a virtual Forest Management for the Private Woodland Owner course. Online meetings will take place from 6-8 p.m. each Tuesday on zoom.

Registration is available online (https://www.cvent.com/d/2jqlz6) through Feb. 23 and is limited to the first 300 applicants. The cost of participation is $10. All presentations and supporting materials will be supplied electronically.

“This course is designed for woodland owners who may be wondering how to manage their woodlands to promote good health, sustainability, and to meet their ownership objectives,” Farlee said. “We will examine the biology of woodlands, basic management planning and practices, and where to go for additional information and assistance.”

Schedule of events:
Tuesday, March 2 – Tree identification techniques and resources
Tuesday, March 9 – Forest history and ecology
Tuesday, March 16 – Forest management planning
Tuesday, March 23 – Forest management practices
Tuesday, March 30 – Considerations for selling timber
Tuesday, April 6 – Forest economics and taxation
Tuesday, April 13 – Resource and assistance for woodland owners and course wrap-up

Contact Lenny Farlee with any further questions or needed accommodations at lfarlee@purdue.edu.

Resources
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners, Purdue Extension – FNR playlist
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension – FNR playlist
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Resources and Assistance Available for Planting Hardwood Seedlings, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Some trees just don’t follow the rules. Case in point, the alternate leaved dogwood. As Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee explains, this native tree has an alternate leaf arrangement unlike its dogwood cousins in North America, which have an opposite leaf arrangement. It is still recognizable, however, by the venation running parallel to the outside edge of the leaf, and very large, egg-shaped leaves. It also has clusters of small white flowers in the spring.

If you have any questions regarding wildlife, trees, forest management, wood products, natural resource planning or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Cornus alternifolia, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources Playlist
A Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


In this edition of ID That Tree, we introduce you to the cucumber magnolia. This native Indiana species is much like other members of the magnolia family, except it has green cucumber like fruit and a unique bark. Learn more from Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee.

If you have any questions regarding wildlife, trees, forest management, wood products, natural resource planning or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Resources
Indiana’s Native Magnolias, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Cucumber Magnolia, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Magnolia Acuminata, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources Playlist
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resource


Got Nature?

Archives