The tulip poplars are blooming now (mid-May), and they have really beautiful flowers that fall on the forest floor. the tulip poplar is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Most tulip poplars (also known as tulip tree, American tulip tree, tuliptree, whitewood, fiddle-tree, and yellow poplar) grow quite tall, with very few branches until the top quarter of the tree. It grows quickly, and very straight and tall (said to be the tallest hardwood on the east coast), and as such is a valuable timber tree.
Dunn Woods has several tulip poplars, and they have done a good job of seeding the open areas in the woods left by the big winds of 2011. The few maples that survived have also produced quite a few seedlings, followed by locust and redbud.
Tulip Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera
From Wikipedia: “Liriodendron tulipifera is generally considered to be a shade-intolerant species that is most commonly associated with the first century of forest succession. In Appalachian forests, it is a dominant species during the 50–150 years of succession, but is absent or rare in stands of trees 500 years or older.”
So it is not a surprise that it is, along with the maples, it is among the first hardwoods to show up in the forest succession.
I took a walk through the woods today, and noted that the maples are about 50% of the new tree growth. The other three in order were, tulip tree, redbud and black locust. I saw no beech saplings, but I am sure there are some there, just not near the paths. I think it would be a good piece of research to catalog the numbers and approximate locations of the saplings emerging in the woods and follow the succession year to year, decade to decade.
Sometime this winter, I think in February, these bird and bat houses appeared in Dunn Woods. Hope someone decides to make these their homes, but I fear the night sounds emanating from Bryan Hall may keep some potential residents away. Also, when I looked up bat houses online, one of the main points about placement that trees are not good due to the shade, as well as access for predators.\
I found a large grouping of gum ball pods in the woods in April 2015. It looked unnatural in the forest, so I questioned whether the grounds crews were allowed to dump organic waste in Dunn Woods. I got the response that of course they do not dump material in the woods. So I questioned this pile of sweet gum balls (Liquidambar styraciflua) that I found in the woods, and was told that they must have been blown there by a strong wind. So I am not a sceptical person by nature, but this seemed to be coloring way outside the lines.
Anyone who has tried raking them up knows how difficult they are to move, even with a lot of effort, their little hooks grab everything. It would seem their hope for dispersal of the pods is through hooking onto a mammal’s fur, not by flying through the air, especially as a group. The seeds inside are tiny, and are dispersed by the wind, but not the pods. Look around town at the plantings of gum ball trees, the pods are all right there underneath the trees. I suspect someone collected this grouping from the trees in front of Poplars Garage, and threw them into the forest rather than take them to a compost pile So I call bull**** on the wind theory. But at least now they know someone is watching and caring what happens in the woods, and I hope that will keep this from happening again.
Gum Ball Pods-Liquidambar styraciflua
Gum Ball Pods-Liquidambar styraciflua
Sweet Gum Tree in People’s Park, the closest tree to Dunn Woods, the pods have been raked around the trunk, they did not fly in the wind.
Last night’s (May 25, 2011) storm brought down a second round of large trees in Dunn’s Woods, at least 10 percent of the large trees are down, many more are damaged.
On Monday, straight line winds knocked down a dozen large trees in Dunn’s Woods, all the paths were blocked were blocked by trunks or large limbs from nearby trees. I was happy to see that the Cooper’s Hawk nest had not been blown down, and the maple tree was somewhat protected on the east side of the woods. Two years ago a big storm had caused the parents to abandon the nest after the chicks had died. They moved the nest to the east side of the woods last year.
I have been watching the nest, and saw the mom get up and resettle in, while the dad flew from tree to tree around the nest.
We live just a few blocks from the woods, and last night’s storms were loud, but nothing we had not seen before. So I was surprised to find just as many trees and limbs down in the woods today as from the storm on Monday. To my dismay, the large maple with the hawk’s nest was down. I climbed through the limbs to where I had remembered the nest to be, and found it with 2 baby hawks dead just a few feet from the nest. If they had not died from the impact of a 60 foot fall, they would have died of exposure as they had no feathers at all. One was much larger than the other.
I took these pictures, and then as I was climbing out from the limbs, I heard one of the adults call out (to me?), and then call again, I am sure they knew I was visiting the chicks. The other signaled from farther in the woods, it was a heart rending call of bereaved parents.
Sometimes when walking the paths in Dunn Woods, I encounter a squirrel or three, and occasionally I have a peanut to toss them. This guy grabbed his and scooted up a nearby black locust tree which was colonized by the heartwood parasitic fungi, Phellinus robiniae, which unfortunately speeded up the demise of this tree in Dunn Woods. But before it fell, it provided a perfect ledge for this squirrel to sit and enjoy his unexpected snack.