We think this is likely a flowering quince, rather than an ume. We do not see much of the branches, but quince is noted for gnarled, twisted branches and bark. These twisted branches are as much of an indicator as the leaves, which are green above and whitish beneath. Fruit is large, yellow when ripe, a bit fuzzy, and can't be eaten raw; it's too astringent. But it has one of autumn's best fragrances, cooks into wonderful jellies, and is great combined with apples in pies if raised organically. Be sure to have this id confirmed locally and in-person before you eat! To confirm its identity, you might ask the school if you could take a cutting so that you can show it to a horticulturist at your local garden center such as Berkeley Hort or botanic garden.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:02-07:00 April 2nd, 2016|Trees|0 Comments

Maple Issue

Without seeing it in person it is difficult to diagnose problems. Some suggestions are that when you transplanted the tree, you may have buried it too deep causing the tree to be starved for oxygen. The root flare should be exposed. That is the part of the trunk where the tree starts to widen at the base. You could have too much mulch on it like those mulch volcanoes we see too often. It could have verticillium wilt which is a soil borne disease and can cause loss of vigor. Any number of insects could be enjoying the tree but we would need to see one for ID. We suggest since these are problems that need to be seen in person, call Lehigh County Extension's office or a local certified arborist service. Usually a diagnosis is free from a tree service, treatment is not.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:03-07:00 March 29th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments


This appears to be a Catalpa tree, native tree to the eastern and mid areas of the U.S. Catalpa that grows 40-70 feet with a broad crown of large light green leaves. In the spring it bears clusters of large white flowers with purple speckled patterned markings in the flower throats. It is the host for the caterpillars of the catalpa sphinx moth, also known as the Hummingbird Moth, and may do considerable damage when feeding on the leaves, but does little damage to the tree overall and is considered a valuable pollinator of many other plants and flowers. It was often planted nears homesteads in the south for its flowers and to use the caterpillars as fishing bait. There are two catalpas native to the U.S. This is the hardier of the two species.

By | 2016-03-29T09:11:57-07:00 March 29th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments

Laceleaf Maple

This could be a Acer japonicum rubrum, or an Acer palmatum dissecgtum - both species, japonicum and palmatum come in varieties that are "shredded leaf" or "fern leaf" as the one pictured. There are cultivars that stay under 4 feet tall and others that grow 6 feet plus tall and wide. Some people prune them so that they look like bushes with foliage from ground to top (Cousin It!) and others prune them so that they are more like little umbrellas.

A couple of growing tips for these maples: Don't plant them too deeply! You'll want to see the "root flare" (Google Image it) above the soil line. Secondly, water them deeply once a week in dry weather so that they don't get leaf scorch. These small trees grow best in part-sun to part-shade.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:03-07:00 March 28th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments

Chinese Banyan

A common indoor plant, the Chinese banyan can be used as a tree in mild Mediterranean climates as well as in subtropical and tropical climates. It has shiny, small leaves, pale bark, and pendulous branch tips. In humid, warm areas it becomes a very large tree with aerial roots that develop from the branches; many of these will root into the ground and become trunks, producing a thicket-like effect. Roots in the ground can appear on the surface, expand far from the base of the tree, and become invasive. In drier desert and Mediterranean climates, the tree can be an elegant addition to the landscape, much more modest and neat in its growth habit, although roots can still become problems for pavement, sewer pipes, and water lines.

By | 2016-03-27T20:26:10-07:00 March 27th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments

Coccothrinax Palm

Coccothrinax is a genus of palms in the Arecaceae family. There are more than 50 species described in the genus, plus many synonyms and sub-species. Many of the Coccothrinax have silver or thatch, or both, in their English common names. In Spanish – speaking countries, guano is a common name applied to Coccothrinax species. The species are native throughout the Caribbean, the Bahamas, extreme southern Florida and southeastern Mexico, but most of the species are known only from Cuba. Many of the more magnificent species are found in Cuba. Some have fantastic "hairy" trunks and others have nearly circular fan leaves. Many species are best grown only in the tropics, but some can be grown in Southern California and other sub-tropical climates.

By | 2016-03-27T15:38:00-07:00 March 27th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments

Tree Trunk Damage

This type of damage can be caused by many things including weather conditions such as a lightning strike, freeze and thaw cycles, borers or bark beetles, or even animals. If the damage is too extensive, it can jeopardize the trees structure, weaken its stability and make it a future liability. Removing the dead bark may give you some info on what caused the damage ( for example-insect galleries-patterns where beetles feed under the bark) but it really requires a bit of expertise. Here's some info that may help: This damage looks pretty extensive, Depending on where the tree is located and how valuable it is, you may want to consult a certified arborist on what to do.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:03-07:00 March 26th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments

Flaking Bark On Kousa Dogwood

What you are seeing is a natural part of how Cornus kousa trees develop. One of the reasons we love these plants as they age is that they develop what's called exfoliating bark. Over time you're likely to see this tree wearing it's own version of "camo" or camouflage, with patches of green, brown, tan and gold.

Flaking can sometimes be accelerated on the south sides of a tree as this side freezes and thaws during the winter. The cold air freezes tissues at night while especially in February the warmer sun thaws it during the day. But even when you see this more predominately on one side, you don't have to be worried about it. See a photo of typical mature kousa dogwood bark here:

By | 2016-03-26T14:18:59-07:00 March 26th, 2016|Trees|3 Comments

Floss Silk Tree

This appears to be the seed of C. speciosa tree (genus has recently changed from Chorisia to Cebia) that produces big pods, cottony fluff and beautiful hibiscus-looking pink flowers. Flowers are followed by pear-shaped capsules (fruit pods) filled with seed embedded in silky white floss (hence the common name of silk floss tree). In its native territory, floss has been harvested for a number of uses including stuffing pillows. Capsules split open in spring when ripe releasing the seeds into the wind. Fruit is not edible. The trunk is studded with spines and is native to South America, but does well in parts of Florida and California. Leaves are divided into leaflets similar to fingers of a hand. Will go deciduous. Needs full sun and moderate water once established.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:03-07:00 March 25th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments


We can't see much in your photo because it's so blurry. But from the general shape and color, we think you may be looking at lichen. If you can send us a clear photo focussed on the area of concern, we'll do our best to confirm. Here's what Clemson University says: "A lichen is an unusual organism composed of a fungus and an alga living together in the same body. Lichens often appear as green to gray-green leafy or crusty growths on the trunks or branches of plants. Typically, they occur in abundance on plants that are declining in health or vigor. They are harmless to the plant, and are in no way responsible for the poor health of the plant. Less vigorous plants tend to be more open, increasing sunlight penetration, and subsequent lichen growth."

By | 2016-03-24T23:22:47-07:00 March 24th, 2016|Trees|0 Comments