My favorite habitat for walking is woods. The Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District just had its annual tree sale at the Frank W. Bratt Ag Center. Such good deals. Maybe you can get on their mailing list for next year. I bought a lot of native trees for my small field behind the barn.
The American elm, 100 feet tall and 4 feet across, was nearly eliminated by the Dutch elm disease. Its saw-toothed leaves, darker green on top than underneath, are unequally sided at the base. The light gray bark has deep ridges. In May, the half-inch long-winged seeds ripen.
The laurel family's sassafras tree has three differently shaped leaves on one tree. There's the plain one, mitten-shaped one, and my favorite that looks like three friends, the tallest in the center surrounded by two of different heights. Its deeply furrowed bark is a little browner than the elm.
The sycamore is one of many trees native to Chautauqua County.
Photo by Ann Beebe
The sycamore tree is easy to identify, even from a distance. Its bark has brown, green and gray blotches. The large leaves have from three to five lobes.
The walnut family's butternut tree can grow 40 to 60 feet tall and 12-24 inches in diameter. It has 2 foot long, saw-toothed leaves that have 9 to 17 leaflets, with no stalk between the leaf and the stem. The light gray, smooth bark turns rough and furrowed as the tree ages.
The rose family's American small mountain-ash can attain a height of 12-23 feet and 4-10 inches in diameter. Its compound leaves, from 6-10 inches long with 13-17 leaflets, are green above and paler below. The smooth or scaly bark ranges from light to dark gray. Its creamy white flowers, in clusters of 3-4 inches wide, bloom in May.
The beech family's large white oak grows from 70 to 90 feet tall and 24 to 48 inches in diameter. Its dark red leaves in autumn have rounded lobes, about 9 inches long and often stay on the trees in winter.
The large burr oak can attain 60 to 85 feet and 24 to 48 inches in diameter. Its rounded leaves, six to 10 inches long, are darker on top than below. The large acorns, from 1 to 2 inches long, are mostly covered by cups with fringe at the ends. You would usually find it along streams, but it will do well in dry clay soils.
This year, the alien, invasive tartarian honeysuckle will all be cut down in my yard. Replacing it will be spice-bush, button bush, high-bush cranberry and shadbush.
The laurel family's smelly spice-bush, four to 12 feet tall, likes wet feet in woods. The smaller, smooth shoots of the branches change from bright green to olive green or gray, and finally to grayish brown. The alternative leaves are three to six inches long, 1 inch wide. The flowers appear before the leaves in March and April.
Buttonbush, in the madder family, up to three feet high, likes water - either along streams or in swamps. The smaller branches change from brownish green or reddish brown to pale brown to dark gray. Its opposite leaves, three to six inches long, turn dull yellow or not at all in the fall. Tiny white flowers form globes at the end of the branches.
The honeysuckle family's highbush cranberry, also a lover of streams and swamp edges, grows from four to 10 feet high. The leaves, two to five inches long and 1 inch wide, and its twigs are hairless. It blooms in May and June with three to four inch-wide clusters of small white flowers. The birds do not like its bitter fruit. However, humans love their flaming red color in the fall.
The shadbush or June-berry, in the apple family, likes wet feet in swamps or river banks. It can grow to 40 feet tall and a foot wide. The simple leaves, 2 inches long, have a sharp point at the end and toothed edges. The bark is dark reddish-brown and has wide ridges. Its white flowers appear in April and May.
Jamestown Audubon has an arboretum. Helpful labels for each tree and a booklet in the center are available to guide you through the area.