Friday, July 29, 2011

New Information on the American Elms and Genetics

Seems the USDA Research team is finding out more information on the genetics on the American Elm.  From the research we have learned that American Elms come with different numbers of chromosome's.  Some are tetraploids (4) sets, triploids (3) sets and diploids (2) sets of chromosome.  It is inside these set of chromosome that give certain American Elms thier resistance to the DED (Dutch Elm Disease). 

What was not known was what stands of the American Elms in the wild are.  Alan Whittemore and Richard Olsen, both with the USDA have tested native blocks of the American Elm and have found many to be diploid's.  This was interesting because to get a triploid, you needed a tetraploid and diploid as parents.

There is too much information and detailed to go into here, but you could go to the ARS (Agricultural Research Serivce web site and read more.  This story is developing further this summer as both scientist continue to look into the diploid genetic American Elm. Very Exciting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

American Elms in Edmonton Canada - Oh The Feeling they Create!

Thanks to our Friend Nick L. From Edmonton, a fellow American Elm nut like myself, we have some great pictures of some 100 year old American Elms from the Edmonton area.  These are true beauties and lend us to a time past when the American Elm ruled the streets of the US and Canada.

Most of the areas in the US do not have this extensive of an Allee of the American Elms as we used too.  Edmonton has been spared the sever outbreak of the DED fungus and you can see from the streets, what the American Elm can do for the atmosphere of the area.  I am sure the residence that live under the elms consider them a crucial part of their daily lives and a huge value to their way of live and property.

I know many of us when planting a tree will never see its ultimate shape and benefit it provides, but I hope we have the forethought to continue to plant for generations ahead of us, that they may enjoy and benefit from the trees we planted.

Okay, I will stop typing and just post some pictures from Nick.  Enjoy and feel free to email me your photos.  Thanks!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Economy Plays Havic with Shade Trees, Princeton Elms as well!

Allee of Princeton Elms, Washington Road, NJ

The Economy is playing Havic with the Tree Market.  Shade Tree sales are down over 50% from last year and not a popular item as construction across the nation is slow.  Growers from around the country have been dumping trees at extremely depressed prices and there is no change in sight.  The only trees that seem to be selling are the smaller ornamental (Blooming or colorful leafed) trees in sizes down from previous years.  These are the home owners going out and buying a 7gal or 10gal Redbud tree or Crapemyrtle. 
Growers alike are not planting like they have in the past years.  If a company spent $20,000.00 on new liners each year, they may be spending from $0 to $5000 at the most.  This is a sad state of affairs. 

The Princeton American elm has not been immune to this either.  Since the Princeton Elm is a shade trees, sales and new liners in the ground has dropped off.  Even with the need of DED resistant Elms and the Emerald Ash Bore Spreading to more and more counties and States, the Princeton Elm sales are flat.
City and Park budgets have been cut with the taxes coming in less which means less projects for the cities.
Home Owners have had to buckle down and put off buying a new home and renovations have been minimal.  The Commercial construction sector has also be hit hard and large Shade trees where installed on most all of these type of projects. 

Another component that affects the Princeton Elm is the Education factor.  With less people needing shade trees overall, less people are researching or looking for the tree.  This is industry wide from the Landscape Architect to the Landscaper, Grower and the Home owner.  

What is ahead of us???

No one really knows, but I am sure in time the Princeton Elm and other shade trees will be back in full force.  I just hope it is sooner rather than later!   

Monday, May 3, 2010

Other American Elms in Washington DC Area!

What a Spring we have had.  John from Maryland recently visisted the Washington DC Mall looking for Cherries in Bloom for his wife.  Well, they could not find the Cherries, but did bump into these large American Elms.  John here pictured next to a nice specimen.  Notice the diameter of the trunk in relationship to John!

Classical American Elm arching canopy creates wonderful shade for people and pets alike. 

We thank John from Maryland for his photo of the American Elm and sorry he was not able to show his wife the cherry blossoms, but not all was lost.  "I took her to see the Capitals play hockey afterwards" John tells making up for the missed Cherries!!

Thanks to John and others who have sent in thier stories and pictures!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Herbie the 212 Year old American Elm

Herbie in the Snow on his final day!
For many of us, we will never have a story like this with a tree.  We could only wish we had a realationship with a tree in our town that touched so many over the years as Herbie did, but Herbie is a unique story and can only be told by someone who was there, who knew Herbie like Frank Knight and Phil Norris did. So here is thier story. Enjoy.

Herbie as he begins to Fall!

Herbie on the ground, but look for him in the future in furniture and in local art.  Herbie will never really die!

Phil Norris:

Here's my own story concerning "Herbie".

"Nothing lasts forever. He's had a good long life and so have I." So
said Frank Knight, Yarmouth's 101 year-old tree warden as he stood by
the fallen trunk of "Herbie", the largest American Elm in New England
shortly after it was taken down on Jan. 19th. Frank has been watching over the tree for 50 years.

Three of us tree guys had driven down to Yarmouth, Maine that morning in a blinding snowstorm to witness the passing of the behemoth and to
visit with Frank. When we arrived we were met with a media spectacle;
television vans with telescoping booms jutting out of their roofs,
camera crews walking around pointing microphones in peoples' faces,
dozens of cameras on tripods, all focused on a strange sight about 100
feet away. Whitney Tree Service had, over the weekend, removed the
whole top of the tree and what was left looked like a giant saguaro
cactus towering over the nearby houses.

We were warmly greeted by Deb Hopkins, Frank's assistant, who has
already taken over most of Frank's duties as tree warden. Deb and I
had been emailing back and forth for over a month discussing the
capricious nature of elm lumber. The town of Yarmouth wants to do
something special with the wood from Herbie and they had heard about
the elm cutting board project that Blue Hill pioneered in 2002. I had
sent Deb a complimentary Blue Hill elm cutting board and had provided her with photos and a detailed description of how we had cut up and
dried the lumber from an elm tree that had stood in downtown Blue Hill for 190 years.

The air was suddenly rent by the sound of a chainsaw as Matt Whitney
started cutting the notch which would decide Herbie's fate. He was
using a Husqvarna 395, with a 54" bar which he had bought specifically
for this job. The tree was six-and-a-half feet in diameter at breast
height and had stood 110 feet tall in its prime. When the notch was to
his satisfaction he moved around to make the backcut. The tree was
very close to a major trunk of electric wires so Whitney's crew had
attached a stout line to the top of the tree and were using a logging
truck to pull it in the opposite direction. Matt completed the backcut
and signaled for the truck to take up the strain. When they had put as
much tension as they dared on the rope and the tree hadn't budged,
they attached a second rope to the top and pulled that one with a boom truck.

Still no movement. Matt revved the big saw and cut a little deeper
into the hinge. He shut off the saw and stepped back and again
signaled for both trucks to pull. There was a loud crack and light
appeared in the saw kerf and Herbie teetered and then came thundering to the ground.

We all gathered around the stump and Pete Lammert, of the Maine Forest
Service, brought out a whisk broom and cleared the sawdust away so we
could count the rings. He counted the rings on the fallen section
while I counted the rings on the stump. I started in the middle and
worked my way out using a penknife to prick each annual ring. I was
amazed at how far apart the rings were when the tree was young,
indicating rapid growth, but after the first hundred years the growth
slowed and by the time I neared the bark at the outer rim the rings
were no further apart than a millimeter. Pete came up with 212 years
and I counted 215. Pete said that that was OK for a rough count and
that we would do it again when it was warm and not snowing and we could sand the wood smooth.

Frank Knight came around and posed by the stump leaning on a cane and
one of the reporters shouted out, "How does it feel to see the tree
lying there?"
"I always thought I would be the one lying there," replied Frank.
"You won!" cried Pete Lammert.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall starting at White House

Each Year, I get pictures of the Princeton American Elms at the White House in Washington DC.
We also want to thank the Bush family and administration for their forethought on getting these majestic trees back into the Urban Landscape where is does so well.

Here are some pictures taken last week that show the start of the Princeton Elms turning yellow. I hope to see more of these pictures as the fall progresses. Thanks to Craig Shackelford for these photos!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

American Elms in Texas

American Elms once span across the United States. Most have died off with the DED fungus, but there are pockets that have survived.

Here in Travis Co. Texas, there are some lonesome American Elms today! Here is a photo from Neile Wolfe who lives there in Travis County with his family. They spotted this wonderful American Elm and sent me pictures. This tree is right on the edge of a wet weather creek called the Heinz's Branch that feeds a grotto at Westcave Preserve, which is on the Pedernales River in Travis County, Texas

The tree is estimated at 100 years old and is doing very well.
Here are some pictures of the trees bark. What a wonderful pattern the tree naturally has.

Notice the woodpecker holes in the bark.

This is a great photo of the Shape of the Main trunk of the tree. Great photos Neile send and we thank him and his family for sharing.

Maybe you have similar photos you would like to share as well of your Princeton or American Elm. Please email me with those today!