Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Exploration of the Nature Preserve's Evergreens

Over the last 14 years we've planted many evergreens in the nature preserve's reforestation fields. Most of these native species create important year-round habitat for birds and other wildlife. 
Our White Spruce Trees are loaded with pine cones this winter.
White Spruce has blue-green needles which are fairly sharp and about 3/4 " long
Spruce cones are very popular with crossbills
Norway Spruce are not native but many birds find them to be useful habitat
Norway Spruce have drooping branchlets and needles that appear dark green
Balsam Fir has relatively soft,  fairly long needles which are light-colored beneath
Eastern Hemlock is the most common naturally occurring evergreen in our region
The Eastern Hemlock has very small cones - only 5/8 " to 1" long
The underside of the Eastern Hemlock's needles are whitish
Hemlocks are favored trees of owls like this Barred Owl
The White Cedar (Arbor Vitae) has flat, branching - almost fern-like leaves
White Cedar produces very small and brittle bell-like cones
Young Red Cedars grow in an old meadow
Red Cedar has needle-like leaves - It is a Juniper and is not related to White Cedar
Dwarf Juniper appears flat and pillow-like in our old meadows
The  sharp 3-sided needles of this Juniper are whitish on the top 
Non-native Scotch Pine can have very orange bark - particularly on its branches
The needles of the Scotch Pine grow in bundles of 2 and appear twisted
The pine cones of the Scotch Pine are up to 2.5" long
The cones of the Pitch Pine are up to 3" long - they can remain on the tree for years
Pitch Pine needles come in bundles of 3
The remains of a hornets nest still hang in this Pitch Pine
The Red Pine
The cones of a Red Pine are up to 2.5 inches long - Needles are in pairs
White Pines offer some protection from the elements for wildlife
Recently used beds of White-tailed Deer found beneath the White Pines
White Pine needles come in bundles of 5
The Porcupine favors feeding on needles from Hemlock and White Pine
The Tamarack sheds its needles in the fall
Tamarack branches can be covered with small cones

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