Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Butternut Tree

After discovering the 'Loose and Leafy' blog, I've decided to follow a single tree for a year, and check it out every month.  In fact it sounds like such a good idea for photography, I may follow several trees, at least seasonally.  The tree I've chosen first is a Butternut, Juglans cinerea, growing right in our old stone fencerow, past the garden shed.

The Butternut tree is uncommon, but it is found along the Niagara Escarpment here in southern Ontario so it's not surprising to find it here.  But it's rapidly succumbing to the Butternut Canker disease, so rapidly in fact that it's been named an endangered species here in Ontario.  The search is on to find individuals who may be immune to the canker.

It's a fairly coarse branched tree, here with branches reaching wide because it's growing in the open along the fencerow, but in a forest it grows tall and straight to the canopy.

I chose this tree to follow because I'm worried about it.  Several branches have died since we moved here, and it just doesn't look healthy.  I'll probably have to trim more branches next summer, but if it does have the canker, it's only being affected very slowly. This picture was taken in the fall.

This is a good look at the bark, which consists of coarse vertical ridges that wind a little, joining and separating as they go.  This trunk is about 16" in diameter.  As part of following my Butternut, I'm going to find out how to recognize the canker so I can monitor that.  I think the small black patches may be the start.

The branches are quite coarse too, with no fine little twigs here.  The trees (and leaves in summer) branch out alternately, and the leaves are compound with numerous leaflets, forming a leaf up to 15". long.

Here's a close-up of a twig, taken earlier this fall.  It shows the coarse texture, and several alternate bud scales.  The tree bears an oval nut similar to the round walnut, and this tree bears well.  We have dozens of small Butternut seedlings popping up around our meadow.

The Butternut often shows up in my sunrise shots, taken from the window where I'm having my morning coffee.  It's the left-hand taller tree, just to the right of the shed, and this is what the yard looks like today!  About 20" of snow and -21°C. temperatures!

Lucy's 'Loose and Leafy' blog provides a place to record your following an individual tree for a year, so this is my initial post.  I'll be expecting to make one a month for the next year.  Check it out and visit dozens of trees around the world!

Linking to Tree Following:

27 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very worthwhile project and I'll look forward to following along with you. It seems that every time you check one tree species or another is threatened by serious disease. Good luck with this tall Butternut.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like the textures of the bark. I know of one blogger out in Scandinavia who occasionally photographs the same tree as part of an ongoing series.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful tree - I do hope it survives. I'll be watching for the progress of the seasons.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Furry....
    What a lovely yard...and a handsome tree....
    We have a Beech Tree at the cottage....and apparently the oldest tree on our property....but certainly not the largest!
    Hope your tree survives....strange diseases now,eh?
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

    ReplyDelete
  5. that is a beautiful tree
    and a wonderful idea!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a beauty. Hope it survives for many years.

    ReplyDelete
  7. They are pretty trees ! We have a few down here in our valley forest and thank fully the seem to be pretty healthy . Lovely photos but that last photo is awesome ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like a great idea, following the tree's progress and documenting the year of a tree. Lovely images.. Have a happy day!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am going to enjoy watching this tree change over the year. This is a great idea and I just might do something similar myself. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's a good idea you have - to follow this tree through the seasons. I'll be enjoying watching it through your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's a great idea. We have lots of tall Douglas Firs here in Oregon. I love your last photo of the sun peeking through the snowy trees.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I must check out this blog, thanks for bringing it to our attention.
    We have planted 7 butternut trees which were grown from butternuts, in my side yard. So far they seem to be very hardly. They have survived the great ice storm of 1998, the drought of 2012 (lost all their leaves and grew more!). We keep them watered and protected so I hope they grow to be big sturdy specimens.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love to see snow on bare branches. Nice pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  14. That meme sounds really interesting and I will check it out. Butternut trees grow here in NB. My mother grew up in a place called Butternut Ridge! It's now part of Havelock, NB but the butternut trees were very plentiful a long time ago there. Friends near us have a row of butternut trees planted along their driveway and they are also plentiful on the islands in the St. John River below the Mactaquac Dam. Other friends collect the butternuts and make home made ice cream with them in it. Yum! I will be interested in following your tree through the year. Beautiful snowy photos!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have a birch tree that would work great for that. I tend to take shots of it a lot anyway because of its beauty. I will check it out. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Whoa! It's cold there!! That's a beautiful tree. I hope you can find a way to help it hang on.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice idea to follow the tree. Look forward to future pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is one beautiful tree, I hope it escapes the canker. I am not sure what the canker looks like:(

    ReplyDelete
  19. Very interesting. They are pretty rare here, although I grew up with many in NY. I'll look forward to this feature.

    ReplyDelete
  20. its a beautiful tree and a great idea, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Your garden is beautiful in the snow, and that tree is majestic. I especially love the first photo. Looking forward to learning about the butternut in the months ahead, because I know absolutely nothing about it except what you have shared with us today. I do hope the canker is stopped before they all disappear.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Interesting to follow a tree, fine! I already Facio, I follow my cherry wood Nelka my floor garden. I think so often and every time I go I admire the majesty and grateful pe rla his presence!

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's a beautiful tree, your Butternut. I've not heard of one before so am looking forward to learning more about it. I find parallels with the tree I'm following too - I chose it because it seemed in danger and its bark is beautiful.
    Your bark is familiar though. I think I saw something similar in a botanical garden last year. It seems unlikely given your location but I'll go back through my photos and see if I can find the one I mean. So pleased you are joining in .

    For other commenters who are interested in this project. This is the link where you can find out more.

    http://looseandleafy.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-is-tree-following-and-list-of-tree.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. Such an imposing, architectural tree! I just love how all trees look in the winter time, revealing all their detail branching, buds... I didn't know the butternut has become endangered - one more reason to follow it!

    ReplyDelete