Camilla Cook: Tree Inventory Update #4

On Tuesday, I went and inventoried Block 8 and Block 9. On Block 8, there were only two trees on the west side of the block (Tioga and Braddock). Of the two, I identified an Acer saccharinum (Silver maple). Since I divided Block 9 into three portions, I will discuss each separately. On Block 9, there is a mix of species – definitively an Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum tree) and several Taxodium distichum (Baldcypress). The Liquidambar styraciflua is interesting – when you pick a leaf from the tree, it gives off an interesting and fragrant scent, which most likely explains the origin of its name!

On the north side of Block 9.1 (along Hamilton Avenue and Hale Street), there was a Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum tree). Liquidambar styraciflua is interesting – when you pick a leaf from the tree, it gives off an interesting and fragrant scent, which most likely explains the origin of its name!

On the east side of Block 9.1 (Rosedale Street), the possibilities are: Persimmon, Blackgum, Umbrella Magnolia, and PawPaw trees. Due to the age of the trees, they haven’t bloomed flowers or grown fruit for better identification. The similarity between the Persimmon, Blackgum, and Umbrella Magnolia is that they all have alternate branching and the leaves cluster in fours around the bud of the branch (adding to difficulty in identification). However, the interesting aspect of the four trees planted on the east side of Block 9 (along Rosedale) is that they are planted in stone pits to help mitigate stormwater in the area. Since Rosedale is a street that “flows” downwards, including this infrastructure during the planting of the trees has helped capture water that otherwise would have flooded the sewers or homes in the area.

On the south side of Block 9.1 (Tioga Street), there are six trees near the Bethany Baptist Church and Center. Three of them are unidentifiable to me at the moment, but the other three were the Taxodium distichum (Baldcypress) conifer (very exciting for me since every tree surveyed so far has been deciduous). In terms of condition, the three unidentified trees along Cora Street had discolored and “sad-looking” leaves even though their trunks were in good shape. Further, the three Taxodium distichum trunks were heavily scarred with basal sprouting and the trees themselves had discolored leaves as well (i.e. natural T. distichum leaves are yellow-green – some were red to orange). In addition, a woman walking by told me the church planted them a year ago. I believe based on the trunk issues (see in photos) and the discoloration of the leaves, the trees were incorrectly planted and have experienced urban stresses – potentially from the volume of traffic along this street as people visit the church and center.

On south side of Block 9.2 (along Susquehanna Street), I identified several trees as Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) in the park. Even though the Cornus florida trees are well established and “healthy-looking,” there were two noticeable aspects of them that suggest otherwise: first, all three had major trunk scarring and two, I found insect exoskeletons on a couple leaves. The trunk scarring (photos below) are very significant and indicates that they experienced trauma from either insects, disease, and/or human error while younger.

Finally, on the north side of Block 9.3 (along Susquehanna Street), there were several trees planted outside from what I have determined from google maps as the Urban Tree LLC Furniture Store. Anyway, I believe these trees to be Persimmons or the Beech variety due to alternate branching and clustering of leaves in 8 at the bud of the branch. In terms of condition, all the trees had trunk scars and/or poor trunk stand (i.e. the photo below that shows a curvy trunk). Further, some of their leaves were purple and wrinkly, indicating insect or disease.

Overall, I am almost complete with Block 9.3 (still have a few more on the north side), which would complete Cluster 8. Woo!

As for community interactions, they were pleasant while walking around on Tuesday! I ran into a man feeding his kitten and older cat in the street, and another man in the park of Block 9.2, where he asked me what I was doing (I said a tree survey of South Homewood) and he said, “That’s different, I like different.”

Note: Photos will be posted in their own media post.

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