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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sneak Peek

Even thought it's a little chilly outside, don't forget about all the winter programs going on from January through March! This upcoming weekend (Sunday, January 13th) TLC is holding a Winter Tree Identification program at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve. Although trees may appear identical and slightly lifeless in the winter, they are secretly thriving with unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.

Lets take a White Oak for example since we have wonderful pictures of the enormous and beautiful one located on TLC's Stateline Woods Preserve.
The White Oak (Quercus alba) is easily distinguishable from other oaks in the winter due to its flaky, light gray colored bark. After observing the bark, hone in on the top of the tree to see if the twigs and branches are alternating or opposite. A White Oak will have an alternate arrangement (the branches are NOT across from each other) as seen in the picture below..

The terminal buds (largest bud at the very end of the twig) of a White Oak are clustered, blunt and tend to be a red(ish) brown color, as opposed to Black Oaks (which also have flaky-like bark) that have sharp and pointed terminal buds.

Another simple way to identify trees during the winter is by looking at the ground cover; what types of leaves surround the tree? It may be hard to tell in the middle of a forest, but if the tree stands alone, only its leaves will be on the ground below. For example, White Oaks can be confused with Swamp White Oaks; but, the difference lies in the leaves covering the ground. Swamp White Oaks don't have deeply lobed leaves like White Oaks posses.

Swamp White Oak

White Oak

If you find this information interesting and/or helpful, sign up for the Winter Tree Identification THIS WEEKEND! You can register by clicking HERE. Share your tips for identifying white oak trees in the comment section below!

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