Archive for trees

SCOD Flora Survey Project

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2019 by Drogo

Volunteer efforts to make a ‘Washington DC Metropolitan Area’ survey map of identified flora species will be documented by SCOD over the course of several years, starting in a few local areas the team can access easily. Frederick and Thurmont are the first areas we are beginning with because of access and pre-existing information by naturalists.

Methodology:  Data Collection (field & archives); Digitizing Process; Database Analysis for Uses (historic land use, planning, locating existing species)

The SCOD Frederick Area Flora Species Mapping project has begun! Node 1a Block 1 of Spiral 1b is surveyed in my notebook. It will take several years to complete the region map, but more than 3 people will be working on it (Drogo, Christine, & Drumwise), and will focus on trees and shrubs estimates, but will include any info donated.

Please contact Drogo Empedocles, Chris Drumwise Ousse, or Christine Maccabee if you are interested in helping or contributing to our project. We are searching for partners to help us with GIS about trees and other plants. Find us on Facebook or leave a comment below. Thanks for your support!

References so far include: Frederick County MD Property Explorer, Arbor Pro USA, Science Direct Procedia, MD Department of Natural Resources, MD Forest Service, Garden Clubs, Nature Clubs, Park Groups, …

Arbor Pro USA – urban forest management for municipalities, universities, and you. 15 years of GPS tree inventories for risks and planning. Team members: Scot, William, Jeff, Ken

Science Direct – Procedia social and behavioral sciences: GIS for benefits and hazards of urban trees.

Tree-Keeper GIS for Frederick, MD – PDF11,158 Calculated Trees; Total Yearly Eco Benefits = $692,169

Frederick City of MD, Park Division Urban Forestry Program – Arborist

Maryland Manual On-Line: Plants & Trees

Frederick County Government, Maryland – GIS / Public Safety

Maryland I-Map – Mapping & GIS Data Portal

Frederick County, MD – Parks & Recreation Locations

Frederick County, MD – Property Explorer

 

Frederick County GIS Data [from email]:

  1.       We have Forest Polygons, they are available here:  https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/5969/Download-GIS-Data

The latest Forest Polygons are from 2017, we have and will update them about every 2-3 years, we started in 2005.

  1.       We have a Forest Canopy layer, made in 2011 by NASA and U of MD.  It is available for everywhere in the State of Maryland, https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=f70ada30bd29428395186ce5f3a618c5 .  I have a copy of the data if someone needs a copy of the GIS files feel free to send them my way.

 The County Tree Canopy Report can be downloaded by the link below  There are others for example Frederick City and Brunswick available here: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/urban/utc/pubs/ .  I also included in the download a map of our Green Infrastructure.  If you have further questions feel free to reply or email me. Download Link:  https://frederick.sharefile.com/d-s13e6f8f52834481a

Mary McCullough – GIS Analyst / Interagency Information Technologies

Frederick County Government Office: 301-600-2324

Website: Frederick County GIS

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Evan Keto  – Maryland Licensed Tree Expert #2221, ISA Certified Arborist SO-6594AM, and Owner / Fruitful Trees and Gardens, LLC  240-763-0764

The options are limitless, although resources always are. Personally, I think a handful of people in Frederick could have the greatest impact by plugging data into existing systems, like this map where you can document edible plant species: https://fallingfruit.org/

Even if you only focused on public areas where foraging would be allowed (or at least not prosecuted), documenting all the walnuts, hickories, persimmons, pawpaws, blackberries, serviceberries, etc. would still take quite a long time. But by trimming your plants list, geographical area, and eliminating the technological issues, you could just start creating a very valuable map, and perhaps get other people on social media to volunteer to add to your efforts. In the end you’d have a resource that would help increase environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Just one of many ideas.

A map of trees and shrubs in Frederick or the greater DC area would take dozens of volunteers years to complete. For example, Casey Trees has been working on a map of the trees in DC, and that has taken many volunteers many years, and as they keep it updated, it will never be finished:  https://caseytrees.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=932aa4d49bfa45b39ecf3321cbb6cdbc

Eventually, hyper-spectral satellite imaging will be able to tell us what every tree is by its unique light signature. That way, we could instantly identify each tree species for an entire region, but that’s not going to be available for a while: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40490-018-0123-9

For instance, if you wanted to ask, “What species of trees and shrubs are growing in the DC area?”, that could be more of a list than a map, and can be compiled by cross referencing multiple resources, including – The City of Trees:

https://www.amazon.com/City-Trees-Complete-Washington-Center/dp/0813926882/ref=asc_df_0813926882/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312065538926&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4121470300927145656&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007790&hvtargid=pla-493397652405&psc=1

Maryland Champion Tree Listing

http://www.mdbigtrees.com/view_tree.aspx

C&O canal species lists: https://www.nps.gov/choh/learn/nature/plants.htm

 (Monocacy battlefield, National Capital Parks, and other NPS units would also likely have species lists)

Towson Arboretum: https://www.towson.edu/campus/landmarks/glen/trees.html

National Arboretum: https://www.usna.usda.gov/

University of Maryland campus arboretum https://arboretum.umd.edu/

In the end, I think you’ll find hundreds of different species of woody plants, as I learned 200+ and those were just on the UMD campus. If you widen your interest to all plant species, then be prepared to learn to identify thousands and thousands of potential species in this area: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderProfileResults.aspx?z=7 

Or, if you did want to create a map, you might want to focus on a particular geographic area, such as some of the local parks, and perhaps with focus on the largest and most interesting trees. It might be worth contacting the city’s Sustainability Coordinator and the County Forestry Board, who may already have some items mapped and/or resources to help:

http://www.cityoffrederick.com/891/Sustainability

https://sites.google.com/view/fcfcdb/bigtreeprogram#h.p_vluyI_xWVRDU

Also, you might be interested in seeing the USFS iTree Tools suite, which is all free:

https://www.itreetools.org/

Hope this helps,

Evan

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Frederick County Planning Dept. – Tim Goodfellow (600-2508) spoke with me on the phone and mentioned more contacts:

DNR MD Forest Service, Local Forester at Gambril Park – Mike Kay

DNR MD Wildlife & Heritage Service

Frederick County – Office of Sustainability

Frederick County – OSER (Office of Sustainability) Shannon Moore SMoore@FrederickCountyMD.gov

Tom Rippeon – Arborist, Parks & Recreation, Frederick MD – 301.600.1233; C 240.409.4410

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SCOD Flora Project will be updated here as more data is processed.

To be continued…

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SCOD Site Tree Journal

Posted in Environmentalism with tags , , on April 1, 2015 by Drogo

Existing: Maple, Box-elder, Sycamore, Oak, Elm, Ailanthus, Sumac

Recommended: Ginkgo, Willow, Apple, Walnut, Catalpa, Beech, Holly, Pine

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Maple: Acer; Common (Norway), Silver, Sugar, Red; leaves deciduous broad palmate 3-5 lobes toothed; bark smooth-furrows; flowers tiny hermaphro, hetero, or bisexual; fruit paired wings (samaras); used for hard wood, sap (Sugar has most 32 gallons = 1 gallon of syrup = 4.5 pounds grain sugar).

Sycamore: Platanus; Occidentalis; leaves deciduous broad 3-9 lobes toothed; bark unique smooth but peeling brown-white patches; flowers tiny hermaphro, male stamin, female pistils; fruit 4 hairy nut-balls; used for hard wood, leaves similar to Common Maple (Plantanoides) but thicker and pointier.

Oak (Acorn): Fagus Quercus; English (Robur), Red (Rubra), Black (Veluntina), White (Prinus Rock Chestnut), Live (evergreen), Pin (Palustris); leaves deciduous alternate simple most toothed or lobed; bark rough furrows or scaly; fruit acorn nuts, white acorns and wood best; hard wood, nuts crushed and strained for Indian bread, yellow dye from bark powder, druid medicine.

Beech: Fagus Grandifolia; leaves deciduous simple single point, saw-toothed edges; bark smooth light grey; flowers – male hairball, female hairy red scales; fruit beech-nuts prickly burs; beechnuts edible, Beech is Saxon German for ‘book’; Oaks are in the same family, but far more common.

Elm: Ulmus; White (American), Hackberry (Celtis); leaves deciduous elliptical pointed saw-toothed rough (Hackberry has warts); fruit flat seed key (samara), Hackberry berries are edible and can taste sweet like dates. hard wood

Willow: Salix; Weeping (Chinese), Pussy (Discolor); leaves deciduous narrow pointed, edible; Weeping Willow have long catkins; Pussy Willows have fuzzy frons; bark rough furrows, makes an aspirin; soft wood soaks up water.

Poplar: Aspen Poplar (Salix Populus), Cottonwood (Salix Populus Aigeiros), Tulip Poplar (Lirio); Aspen and Cottonwood leaves deciduous simple broad triangular to circular or (rarely) lobed, breezes cause Aspen and Cottonwood leaves to flutter, giving the whole tree a ‘shimmering’ or ‘twinkling’ look; Tulip Poplar leaves are larger wide 6”, 4 lobes, ovate (heart-shaped); Aspen Poplar flowers are catkins; Tulip Poplar flowers are big yellow-orange with cones; Aspen Poplar fruit seeds are long hair tufts that float on wind; Tulip Poplar fruits are samara carpels; Tulip Poplar hard wood is the best Poplar wood; Aspen Poplar is soft wood; Cottonwood is so soft it does not even make good fire-wood. Tulip Poplar is not in the same DNA family as the other Poplars, and it also should not be confused with Tulip Magnolias (Magnolia Lili), whose deciduous leaves and flowers resemble evergreen Magnolias.

Walnut: Juglans; Black (American), English (Persian), White (Butternut), Hickory: (Carya), Pecan (Carya); leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; bark 4 types – Black has dark rough furrows, English has gray smooth with some rough furrows, Hickory has many deep furrows, Pecan flaky; flowers tiny hermaphro; fruit Nut large round green husk over brown shell; used for oil, decorative soft wood, nuts are food, ink and dye from nut husks, herbicide. Carya nuts (drupes) are food, nut husk conveniently splits, pecan nut fruit is similar to Walnut but skinnier.

Chestnut

Sumac: Anacardia; Rhus (Red), Toxico (White); shrub-tree; leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; staghorn fruit (drupe) conical clusters, Red is edible, White is poisonous with allergen urushiol; related to poison ivy and cashews. Soft short narrow wood, stems have soft pith hollow for pipes. Notes: often seen growing around rock out-croppings in fields or highway exit ramps.

Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven): Asian Altissima; leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; bark smooth to textured; flowers pungent odor, pollen; fruit long showy green-brown; soft wood, grows fast anywhere, toxic when burned or near water.

Catalpa (Indian Bean): Bignonia; Speciosa; leaves deciduous big ovate (heart-shaped) lobe, soft pale fur under; flowers big white fragrant; fruit long narrow bean-pods; soft ornamental wood, twig branches make pipes; Native American: Ca – head, talpa – flower.

Princess:

shells used for packing cushion; soft wood, grows fast anywhere,

Ginkgo (Maidenhair): Biloba (Chinese Fan); leaves deciduous small clustered fans, yellow in Fall; bark grey rough deep furrows; fruit round pink pungent pulp; related to conifers; disease resistant; Asian ancient sole survivor species.

SCOD Site Flora

Posted in Environmentalism with tags , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2015 by Drogo

The trees (20-70 years old) form woods that follow the rolling hills. Often the woods are sparse, but thorns and shrub bushes make dense thicket patches. Spiral trunks occur on one young tree per acre (apx.). Spiral trees seem to result from the influence of parasitic vines, like honey-suckle, but some trees out-live their vines. There are more young trees than old trees on the site. Although it is difficult to tell the age of a tree from the outside size, inside trunk rings are more accurate because growth rates vary.

Ideally trees provide shelter, food (fruits and nuts), and fuel for cooking and heating our fires. In turn humans should plant, care for, cultivate, and protect trees. Failure to look after each-other results in us cutting too many trees down, using poisons that hurt every-thing, and trees falling on houses and branches and sap falling on cars. Increased awareness of our trees is phenomenological respect for life. Respecting trees has a beneficial effect on our ecology. Sages know the wisdom of tree stewardship. Some trees have been alive for thousands of years. Fire-wood should be gathered mostly from dead-fall logs, branches, and twigs. Reducing dead-fall on forest floors can reduce wild fires.

Here is a list of local plant and tree types, most of which can be found on the SCOD Thesis property site. All the families listed here are at least currently regional, if not native. Obviously not all types of vegetation are listed here, but it is a reasonable list: maple trees, box-elder trees, sycamore trees, oak trees, ailanthus trees, mulberry trees, apple trees, evergreen trees, elm trees, willow trees, catalpa trees, princess trees, ginkgo trees, walnut trees, beech trees, sumac trees, mosses, mushrooms, shelf-fungi, lichen, herbs, vegetables (wild leafy-greens and planted crops), berries, roots, vines, grasses, shrubs, ferns, thorns, nettles.

Savannah, Georgia

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Historic Architecture, Organic Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Drogo

Historic Architecture, Environmental Landscape, and Urban Social Art

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Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. From sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).

According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.

From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).

There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).

Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging roaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.

Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

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Julia Butterfly Hill

Posted in Recommendations & Tributes with tags , , , , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Drogo

From 1997-1999 Julia Butterfly Hill lived in a 1500-year-old Redwood Tree named Luna. Her “tree-sitting” was part of the California logging protest movement. She has also written books and lectured on environmental subjects.

I met Julia at a lecture when she came to the Shepherdstown Nature Conservancy. I was very impressed with not only her ideas, but also her personality. I wrote her an email recently to try to reconnect, and she wrote back promptly and personally, with this…

“I am so glad to hear you are putting your care for the Earth into Action!!!

And i am blessed that my talk in WV resonated with you.

All the very, very best in your life and life’s work. – julia”

Juliabutterflyhill

Landscaping with Cut Branches

Posted in Organic Gardens, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2011 by Drogo

Cutting Branches, breaking them down, and reusing them!

How to prune trees and use the branches for landscape

Types of trees have different rates and patterns of growth. A pine tree, for example, prefers to retain a center trunk; while others like a maple tree are content to have several branches shooting off and up from a low trunk. For this article I will use a Crepe Mrytle tree cluster.

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Maintaining architecture and landscape often means removing trees or branches before or after they break and damage property, views, paths, people, etc…

Crepe Mrytle do not die in the Winter in the DC area (although they do in more Northern climates). They do lose their leaves though. They are one of the fastest growing trees in our climate, so they provide a good example of a renewable landscape resource. Most people only know them for their beauty.

Crepe Mrytle’s by a porch are destructive to the architecture. They need cutting because their leaves and seeds clog up the roof gutter (even with gutter guards) and downspout, causing water damage to the wooden porch. When it rains during the summer, the thick foliage tends to retain moisture against the porch, which flakes the paint and rots the wood much faster than leaving the porch exposed to let the wood air out, and the sun dry it.

For a more natural type of architecture, pruning is less necessary. But most modern houses do not want leaking roofs, moldy wood, or animals nests in the framework. Although every owner is different too!

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If cut before new Spring leaves come out, there will be no leaves to deal with. Leaves have a faster rate of decomposition and burn. After cutting the selected branches, it may be necessary to drag them from the original location as soon as possible to keep a path clear etc..

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After dragging the branches to a selective, collective location, you can work on them with least interference regarding the functionality of the property.

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Sometimes (as with these) small branches can be broken from the main branches by hand (and foot) if they are dry enough. Although often the branches will tend to bend and not crack off; so axes, machete, and clippers are needed.

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Begin breaking and cutting branches into smaller pieces that fit their next use; longer ones for fences, walls, structures, poles, etc… and shorter ones sized to fit into fireplaces or stoves.

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Already many of the small branches are removed and the body of the larger branches can be seen more clearly

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A pile of small branches or twigs begins to form, as the larger branches are rolled back and forth to strip away all lesser branches for a middle pile

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3 piles: Large branch poles, middle sized branch sticks, and small brush twigs from the outer-most young branches

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You can use branches for landscape structures, boundaries, and follies!

English Walnut and Crepe Mrytle Teewam

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0109131641aEagle Nest of random fallen or cut branches

 

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SCOD Thesis 2000 Spiritual Phases

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by Drogo

music by Shepherdstown Band:  BRUHA