Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Meet the "Tree of Tule" or "El Arbol del Tule" - Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca Mexico

"The Tree of Tule" or "El Arbol del Tule" as it is called in the Mexican state of Oaxaca where it is located, is among one the the largest trees in the world. It is a Montezuma Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum), which was once very abundant in Mexico. Montezuma Cypress are closely related to the Swamp and Bald Cypress.  It is said to be large enough to shelter upwards of 500 people and requires 30+ people with hands outstretched to circle the trunk. 

Image Citation: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

The Arbol del Tule has the stoutest trunk of any known living tree in the world. The trunk when last measured in 2005 had a circumference of an astounding 137.8 feet and a diameter of 46.1 feet. The trunk is heavily bustressed which makes it very hard to get an accurate measurement. The height of the tree has been measured at 115-140 feet depending on the type of measurement used. At one point it was thought to be multiple trees that had grown together, though a DNA test proved it is only one tree.   The estimated age of the tree is somewhere between 1200 and 3000 years old.     In 1990, there was a report released that showed the tree is slowly declining because of the heavy pollution and nearby traffic that travels over the roots daily.  The Arbol del Tule is simply put a living & growing wonder of our world!

Image Citation: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

The tree was once guarded heavily by the Government and was considered a natural wonder in the early 1900's, however security for the tree is now more relaxed.  The tree is located on the Church grounds in the town center of Santa María del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.  It is a very popular tourist attraction and the fee for entrance to get a "closer' look is 10 pesos.  Young children are often used as mini tour guides to help point out the many animal shapes "seen" in the trees extremely rigid and textured trunk.  Santa Maria del Tule can be reached by car by traveling east on Highway 190 from Oaxaca, Mexico. Tour buses travel round trip from Oaxaca to Santa Maria del Tule seven days of the week. Local residents celebrate the famous Tule Tree on the second Monday in October, which was set aside as a holiday to celebrate this amazing tree, the celebration is often said to be as large as the tree itself.  Though the Arbol del Tule tree is the most famous because of it's size, there are actually 7 other large Montezuma Cypress growing in this one town that also deserve a visit (if you are in town)!  Learn more or plan you visit at:

Image Citation (Church/Town Center Historical Plaque): Santa Maria Del Tule - Asociación Mexicana de Arboricultura,

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Tree Farms - Maryland - Just in case you need a last minute tree!

Just in case you are looking for that last minute tree for your holiday celebration, here is a quick list of some local Tree Farms in our area.

Dent Creek Farm -
Churchton, MD.          410-867-2438

Friendship Trees -
Friendship, MD             301-855-5756. or  301-641-9403

Greenstreet Gardens -
Lothian, MD              410-867-9500

Hill Top Farm -
Lothian, MD. Phone: 301-855-8431

Modlin's Tree Farm
Lothian, MD 20711. Phone: 301-643-3147

Shoo Fly Farm -
Pasadena, MD 21122. Phone: 410-437-5251

Y Worry Pumpkin Patch & Christmas Tree Farm -
Davidsonville, MD 21035.

Blue Heron Tree Farm -
Centreville, MD         410-758-0405

Davidson Christmas Tree Farm -
Upperco, MD             410-239-6556

Gaver Farm -
Mount Airy, MD             301-865-3515

Linden HIll Christmas Tree Farm  -
Upper Marlboro, MD              301-520-3127

TLV Tree Farm  -
Glen Elg, MD          410-489-4460

Chapel Hills Farm & Nursery -
Perry Hall, MD             410-256-5335

Doyle's Choose and Cut -
White Hall, MD

Feezers Farm, LLC -
Marriottsville, MD            410-461-5654

Frostee Tree Farm
Perry Hall, MD              410-391-5113

Martin Tree Farm -
Baltimore, MD              410-374-2226

Mt.Carmel Tree Farm -
Parkton, MD                410-329-8032

Pork 'N Pine Christmas Tree Delivery Service - Precut Christmas trees, trees tied,
Federal Hill, Baltimore, MD                  410-292-1111

Stansbury Christmas Tree Farm -
Jacksonville, MD                         410-666-2531

Weber's Cider Mill Farm -
Parkville, MD                    410-668-4488

Wild West Corn Maze -
 Baldwin, MD                             443-356-5245

Wind Swept Farm -
Upperco, MD                          410-833-7330

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ohio Buckeye Trees - (Aesculus glabra) - Ohio State University

The Ohio Buckeye- Aesculus glabra - is a medium sized rounded crown Deciduous tree. Growing to only 20-40 feet tall at maturity, it has a moderate growth rate.  It is the most widespread of all of the Buckeyes in North America. It's range is on mostly mesophytic sites through Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Southern Michigan on West to Illinois and Central Iowa, extending South to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Central Texas; East into portions of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama. This tree thrives best in moist locations and is most frequently found along river bottoms and in streambank soils.  It has been planted frequently outside of it's native range in Europe and the Eastern United States.  Different from the other Buckeyes because of two main features, first the leaflets have barely any visible stalk and second the husk of the fruit has short spines.  The Ohio Buckeye is sometimes referred to as the American Buckeye, Fetid buckeye, and Stinking Buck-eye, the last because of the foul odor emitted when the leaves are crushed.

Image Citations (Photos 1, 2, & 3): T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, 

Ohio Buckeye is polygamo-monoecious, meaning it bears both bisexual and male flowers. The leaves are made up of unevenly toothed leaflets that all grow from the same point on the stem, they are green during the growing season and turn an almost grey when shifting finally to wyellow in the Fall.  The flowers are a yellow-green with prominent stamens growing as upright spikes. The bark is dark grey with shallow but coarse fissures leading into square scaly plates. It flowers in the Spring and fruits from summer to fall.  This tree also produces small, shiny, dark brown nuts with a lighter tan patch

"Buckeyes" has been the official Ohio State nickname since 1950, but it had been in common use for many years before.  According to folklore, the Buckeye resembles the eye of a deer and carrying one brings good luck.

Recommended for Hardiness Zones 3-7, Buckeyes are found in larger nurseries within their growth range. 

Meet More Trees on our website  or on our blog 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Meet The General Sherman - The Largest Living Thing on Earth (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Within Sequoia National Park in California there is a Forest of Giants.....trees that is!  The most notable of all the trees in the Forest of Giants is the General Sherman.  A Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), that is currently the largest living thing on planet Earth.

Image Citation: Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service,

The General Sherman is not the tallest tree on Earth, that honor belongs to Hyperion (Coast Redwood also in California), nor is it the widest, or even the oldest, but it is the largest!  The General has a combined estimated bole volume of 52,513 cu ft.  It is 274+ feet tall, 102+ feet in circumference at the ground, 36 1/2 feet in diameter at the base, with a crown spread of 106+ feet.   It's age is estimated to be between 2300 and 2700 years old.  There have been others that have live before that are recorded to have more volume but the General Sherman remains, standing proudly within The Forest Of Giants.   Named in 1879, after the American Civil War General William T. Sherman by Naturalist James Wolverton who had served under him as a Lieutenant.  

Pictures will never do justice to a tree such as this one, this is a must see in person Giant!  Plan your visit to see this National Treasure in person at: 

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Meet The "Major Oak of Sherwood Forest" - (Quercus Robur)

There is a very unique English Oak tree (Quercus Robur) growing in Sherwood Forest near the small village of Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, England which is rumored to be where Robin Hood and his men would hide out, in it's hollow trunk sections. It is called the Major Oak and is estimated to be between 800 - 1000 years old. In 2014 it was even crowned "England's Tree of the Year", because of this honor it will represent England in the running for the "European Tree of the Year" against entries from both Wales and Scotland.

Image Citation:

Major Oak was not always the name this tree was called. It has also be recorded as the Queen Oak, and the Cockpen Tree. The current name "Major Oak", originated from Major Hayman Rooke's very popular book about the ancient Oaks of Sherwood Forest from 1790.

Estimated to weigh around 23 tons, it has a diameter of over 33 feet and a crown spread of 92 feet - it is claimed ot be the largest Oak tree in all of England.  The Major Oak has been in a conservation status since the early 1900's. When visiting the tree today you will find a fence surrounding the base of the tree which serves as protection for it's roots and truck from foot traffic. During the Edwardian period there were chains used to support the branches and lead sheets around the trunk, these were replaced in the 1970's by wooden supports, which were replaced by the steel support rods that remain in place today.

From the Sherwood Forest Visitor Center you are a 10-15 minute walk from this Majestic Old Major Oak. The visitor center is open daily (the hours vary by season) and allows you to explore not just the Major Oak but the 450 acre forest that is home to an estimated 900+ veteran Oak trees. If that is not enough to draw you in there is also an Annual Robin Hood Festival in August that celebrates the Legendary Home of Robin Hood and his Men.

To learn about other Destination Trees visit our website or our blog

Friday, May 1, 2015

Seven Sisters Oak - Mandeville, Louisiana

Estimated to be around 1500 years old, The Seven Sisters Oak not only a Louisiana state champion but a National Champion Live Oak as well.  This tree is the largest Live Oak in the Country- with a circumference of 467 inches, a height of 68 feet and a very large crown spread spanning over 139 feet.  This tree is the only recorded champion with a crown spread that is nearly double the height of the tree itself.  It has held the title of National Live Oak Champion for over 30 years.
Image Citation: Chuck Cook, | The Times-Picayune archive

Contrary to many beliefs the tree was not named for the Seven main trunk sections of the trees but by a former owner, who was one of Seven Sisters.  This tree is registered with The Live Oak Society, who's members are only Live Oak Trees.  Since 1968, The Historic Seven Sisters Oak has remained the President of this unique society, becoming president when the Society's first President The Locke Breaux Live Oak died.

Image Citation:

Located in Mandeville, Louisiana, the tree resides in the front yard of a private residence, but still draws many visitors.  It is located in the quiet historic neighborhood of Lewisburg, just North of Lake Pontchartrain.  Because of it's sheer size it is said to be not well represented in photographs as the sheer size is hard to judge from one single angle.  This one surely calls for an in person visit next time you are in Louisiana!

Learn More About this and Other "Big Tree Champions" at:

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Big Cypress National Preserve - Florida, USA

Big Cypress National Preserve is located in Southwest Florida.  The preserve houses some of the most diverse land in the region, it is made up of 729,000 acres of freshwater swamp ecosystem.  All plants and animals residing/growing in the area are protected from unauthorized collection. The preserve was officially named/organized in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, to protect the wildlife, the water quality, natural resources and the ecological integrity if the area.  This preserve helps to support the health of the neighboring everglades and marine estuaries along the Florida coast.
Contrary to it's name, there are very few "Big Cypress" growing in the preserve, the name actually references the "big expanse" equaling hundreds of thousands of acres of cypress forest growing within the preserve.  The preserve is a mixture of both temperate and tropical regions-each having it's own "residents".  The preserve is home to many unique species of plants that remain protected by the natural habitat and stable ecosystem, such as the Red Mangrove, The Cardinal Airplant, The Ghost Orchid, and of course the Cypress for which it was named.  There are also a very diverse group of animals (from feathered, to furry, to scaled) that call this area home.  They include, The Mosquito Fish (I wish they lived here), Wood Storks, Anhingas, Egrets, Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Bobcats, Black Bears, Florida Panthers (highly endandgered), River Otters, Big Cypress Fox Squirrels, Florida Manatees, Pythons, Water Mocassin, and the American Alligator.
The park offers guided tours from November - April, however you can plan an adventure on your own anytime.  There are many self guided viewpoints, designated boardwalks/hiking areas and even scenic drive routes available year round. Due to it's very remote areas and sheer size the preserve does have limited cell phone reception so be sure to plan ahead!  Currently there is no fee for entry, however there is a fee for off road vehicles, backwoods permits, research permits and some camping areas
Image Citations (All Photos): Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, - Node Affiliation: Bugwood - UGA  : Big Cypress National Preserve

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Lone Cypress - Pebble Beach Golf Course - California

The Lone Cypress - A Monterey Cypress is often said to be the most photographed tree in The United States. Estimated to be over 250 Years old the tree is located within the grounds of The Pebble Beach Resort in California - Arguably one of the most expensive and beautiful Golf Courses in the US. The tree has been injured over the years by fire, winds and storms but remains held in place by an intricate system of support cables.  The Monterey Cypress only grows naturally in a two areas of Monterey County, Del Monte Forest and Point Lobos Natural Reserve-but is planted widely as an ornamental.

Image Citation: "Lone Cypress" by Sharashish - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia -

You do have to pay to see The Lone Cypress in person by entering the scenic "17 mile drive", but don't worry it is just $10 a car!  This 17 mile scenic route includes some of the most beautiful coastline in California and runs between the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Cypress Point Golf Course through the gated community of Pebble Beach.  Also along this scenic route is Bird Rock, Spanish Bay, Spy Glass Hill, Point Joe and the 5300 acre Del Monte Forest.  
Image Citation : Pebble Beach Golf Course-Public-Wikipedia Page 

This tree is so famous it has been featured in The LA Times - Postcards from the west series-

This link will take you to an interactive map of "17 Mile Drive",-121.936913&msa=0&spn=0.127779,0.195007&mid=zhQ13I4PkLug.ku_kKxBy09XM

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oklahoma City's Survivor Tree, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Meet Oklahoma City's Survivor Tree

An American Elm that is approximately 90 years old. It is located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. It survived the bomb attack on the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. This boming was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil before September 11, 2001, the bombing killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Before the bombing, the tree provided the only shade in the building’s parking lot. It is said that people would arrive early to work just to be able to park under the cooling shade of the tree’s branches. After the bombing, the tree was partially cut down to recover pieces of evidence embedded in it from the force of the devestating bomb. Investigators were successful in recovering evidence from the tree’s trunk and branches.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum was created to honor “those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever” by the 1995 bombing. Hundreds of community citizens, surviving family members who lost loved ones, survivors, and rescue workers came together to write the mission statement for the memorial. It was decided the “one of the components of the Memorial must be the Survivor Tree located on the south half of the Journal Record Building block.” The Memorial design was unveiled in 1996 with prominence put on the remarkable elm. With this, the Survivor Tree has become a symbol of human resilience. Today, as a tribute to renewal and rebirth, the inscription around the tree reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us."


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Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2015 9:49 AM

Cherry Blossom Tunnels, Bonn, Germany

We have all heard of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, but have you ever heard of the stunning and magical Cherry Blossom Tunnels in Bonn Germany?


For a few short weeks each year the cobblestone streets of Bonn Germany become flower encased tunnels of beauty as a result of the Mature Cherry Blossom Trees flowering season. At the end of this magical time the streets are covered with a "carpet" of fallen petals.

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Angel Oak Tree Park, John's Island, South Carolina

Meet The "Angel Oak" Tree, Johns Island South Carolina


Angel Oak Tree Park is located on Johns Island with no admission charge. The park also has a gift shop and picnic area.
On Johns Island stands the majestic Angel Oak. Estimated to be between 400-500 years old; the tree towers 65 feet high and has a circumference of 25.5 feet. Its area of shade is 17,000 square feet and its largest limb has a circumference of 11.5 feet, and a length of 89 feet.

Live oaks are not particularly tall trees, but have wide-spreading canopies. Only in the very old specimens do you find massive limbs resting on the ground, as you do the limbs of the Angel Oak. The City of Charleston acquired the Angel Oak Park in 1991.

The Angel Oak has come to symbolize Charleston. It is a Southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park, on Johns Island near Charleston. The Angel Oak Tree stands 66.5 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2). From tip to tip Its longest branch distance is 187 ft.

The Angel Oak Tree is thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country. The land where the Angel Oak Tree stands was part of Abraham Waight's 1717 land grant. The City of Charleston now owns the property. The Angel Oak Park is free and the tree should be added to any visit to Charleston, Kiawah or Seabrook Islands.
Thought to be among the oldest living things in the United States of America, the tree stands on land that was part of Abraham Waight's 1717 land grant.

The Angel Oak is located on John's Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The Angel Oak tree is featured prominently in the book, The Locket, by Emily Nelson.

Learn More about this amazing tree or plan your visit

Amy: Posted on Monday, December 15, 2014 9:16 AM

The "Tree Circus" Gilroy Gardens, Gilroy, California

 The "Tree Circus" originally opened in 1947, as a roadside attraction in Scott's Valley California.  Axel Erlandson a bean farmer who pruned, grafted and trained the trees into various shapes as a hobby to amuse himself and his family, went to his grave holding the secrets of his technique. Most of his work was performed behind screens to protect his secret methods from the potential spy!  Since his death in 1964 many have tried to recreate his work unsucessfully, so this method of privacy seems to have paid off.  Sadly now it seems this type of tree "training" talent may never be seen again.

Millionaire Michael Bonfante purchased the trees and transplanted them to his amusement park Gillroy Gardens in 1985, where you can still see them today.  In the winter of 1984 the trees were all carefully hand dug and boxed.  On November 10th 1985 they began their 80 mile journey to their new home a trip that required many permits and the help of 20 local/state agencies to pull off.  Gilroy Gardens is in Gilroy, California and is home to 24 trees from Axel Erlandson's orginal "Tree Circus".

Some of the trees on display are:

The Cage Trees-Crafted of 10 American Sycamore

The Arch-Crafted from 2 American Sycamore

The Basket Tree-Crafted from 6 American Sycamore (and the most intricate of all)

The Chain Link or 3-2-1 Tree-Crafted from a single American Sycamore

The Compound 8-Crafted from a single Box Elder

The Double Hearts-Crafted from what is recorded as a Red Maple (although the species of this tree is often questioned)

The Figure Y-Crafted from 1 Cork Oak

The Four Legged Giant-Carfted from 4 Amercian Sycamore

The Oil Well-Crafted from 4 Box Elders

The Picture Frame-Crafted from a single Cork Oak

The Revolving Door or Compound Square-Carfted from a single Box Elder

The Zig-Zag- Crafted from 1 American Sycamore

Some of the trees formerly on display have been moved to private areas of the park for extra care and attention due to decline.  Hopefully one day we will be able to see them come back on display!

These landmarks are surely on my to do list!