Two Winter Trees to Identify
February 11, 2011 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Identify these two trees in Winter? For planning a spring landscape.

My tree identification skills are very bad when Winter rolls around. Here are two species on a lot that I will be helping to organize a community beautification project this coming spring and summer, and it would be nice to know the species that are currently present. But without leaves or fruit I need some help in confirming them.

First tree is single trunk, 15-20 ft tall, the bark makes me think locust but i couldn't see any obvious thorns. Pics in album here:

Second tree is multi-trunking, large bush-like, and I really don't know what it is at all. Maybe a serviceberry or something similar. Pics in album here:
posted by franklen to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IANAB or a G, but...

For the first tree, when you say Locust I am presuming you mean either Honey Locust or Black Locust. But the buds seem large, I don't think either of those trees have large buds that noticeable in winter. There *are* thornless honeylocusts, don't know about the black. With both locusts, you should see the pods, honey locusts pods are very distinctive, looking almost like carob.

I was going to say for the first tree horsechestnut since the large buds look like it, and on one branch, it looks like a few the buds are opposite each other. It would be good if we can get larger pics. I up much on Photobucket. But from what I can tell the general form doesn't scream locust.

The second one looks to me like a species of Hawthorn judging by the leaf. I don't think Serviceberries have that leaf structure (but they are related to hawthorns)

There you go, am waiting to be made fool of.
posted by xetere at 8:27 AM on February 11, 2011

OK, this answer is based on my knowledge of the two lone large trees in my backyard. The first one does not look like my locust (which I think is a black locust). The shape just isn't the same, and the bark looks different. (Mine is way bumpier.) Also, mine doesn't have those buds.

On the other hand, my cottonwood (the male, the kind without the cotton) does have those buds. And it's the same shape, though mine is tremendously large (my house is over 100 years old, and I presume it's at least that age ... it's certainly taller than my 2-story house). The bark is ... similar, from memory. Overall it's kind of light in color.

I only answered because the first one is so coincidently dissimilar/similar to the two trees I know best. ;)

(Second one, no idea. Good luck!)
posted by iguanapolitico at 8:45 AM on February 11, 2011

It's really difficult to make accurate identifications of dormant trees or shrubs. Can you find another matching tree in the neighborhood that is a known species?
posted by X4ster at 11:13 AM on February 11, 2011

Tree identification can definitely be done using buds and leaf scars, you just have to know what to look for.

The first looks like some kind of buckeye (aka horse-chestnut) (Aesculus spp.) perhaps Ohio buckeye? Props to xetere. I am basing this on the buds, opposite branching pattern, and look of the bark.
Buckeye bark varies with age, this one looks young, hasn't formed circular divots yet.

The second looks like cottonwood (Populus deltoides). iguanapolitico is so close, yet so far away. I am basing this on the long, narrow buds and that one lonely leaf, which has a long, flattened (I'm guessing) petiole and a triangular blade with serrated edges. A hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), in contrast, is going to have small, rounded buds.

For both, I could be a lot more sure with good close-ups of lateral buds and leaf scars. I'm guessing you live somewhere in appalachia.
posted by procyon at 1:29 PM on February 11, 2011

Looks like we've narrowed down the large tree to a species of the genus Prunus (due to the presence of the black knot fungus) and the smaller tree to a species of the genus Amelanchier.
posted by franklen at 8:14 PM on February 15, 2011

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