Need Help! Tree Identification

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by chemi392, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. chemi392

    chemi392 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    I have a tree in my front yard that was installed two years ago when I built my house. Unfortunately I was not left with any information on what was planted in my yard including the tree, and have no idea what it is. I have had some people who claim to know a lot about trees, and nobody has been able to tell me what this thing is.

    My main reason for wanting to know is that I have been babying this tree for the last two years, and it constantly looks awful. I'm hoping that after finding out what it is, and with some research, (and help from everyone on this board :) ) I can get this thing healthy.

    Below are links to some pictures of the tree.

    Thanks for any and all help!

    [​IMG]
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  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,162

    Although you're a little too far west, chances are that you have a "Blackgum". The leave growth near the twig isn't growing properly for a "Willow Oak" but the leaves and branch pattern sure look like them. Could you include a photograph of the bark and just a closer up of a small clump of the leaves showing where the leaves attach themselves to the twigs?
     
  3. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,102

    The leaf looks a bit like a "live oak" but the bark is too young for me to tell yet.
     
  4. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,162

    Yes, that is why we need a close up of the bark. "Live Oaks" are very close to the "Willow Oak" or Water Oak as they're called in SC--Same Tree. Those long branches from the center trunk are marks of the "Willow Oak" where as the "Live Oak" seem to have a spreading habit from the ground up. I have one on my property that is 60'+ across the canopy. Good observation.
     
  5. chemi392

    chemi392 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Thanks for your help. Here are some additional pictures.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    That's no black gum tree.
    That's got to be an oak of some type based solely upon the extreme prostrate twig structure & alternating leaf pattern.
    As you can see in this link, the twig structure looks quite a bit different than Black Gum a.k.a. Black Tupelo, etc:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyssa_sylvatica

    We don't have live oaks up here but I've seen two willow oaks at Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum here in Cincy.
    Your leaf is too wide to be a willow oak.
    So I'll place my bet on live oak. :waving:
     
  7. chemi392

    chemi392 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Based on the little research I've done since your post, I've read that a live oak should have leaves on it all year, but mine does not. Are all live oaks evergreens?
     
  8. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    You might want to get a professional soil test to see what the pH level is in & around your oak tree.
    Oaks typically like to have their feet in soil that's on the ACID side, to varying degrees depending upon the species.

    Here's something I found that may be of interest to you:
    http://www.onlinetips.org/planting-live-oak.

    Around here in S Ohio there are a lot of pin oaks that suffer from chlorosis, or a 'yellowing' of the leaf margins between the veins which can kill the tree if not addressed.
    The soil here is generally somewhat alkaline, meaning the pH is on the higher side & the soil is clay-based.
    So a lot of professional tree people & landscapers have been trying to remedy this specific problem here on established trees by vertical mulching using micronutrient supplements + fertilizer meant to help curb chlorosis in pin oaks, the micro-supplements being mainly iron & manganese.

    More on vertical mulching:
    http://www.bloomingarden.com/verticalmulch.html

    You may not need micro-nutrients for YOUR oak tree; but you may indeed need vertical mulching if nothing else to help improve water percolation from the surface to the roots which of course could potentially help improve the tree's overall root expansion.
    And if a soil test indicates a need for soil amendments to lower pH ( like split-pea sulfur, or organic products like Holly Tone or cotton seed meal), you can use these vertical holes as injector holes for these amendments, so long as you thoroughly mix them in with the peat moss, sand and/or pea gravel. :waving:
     
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    From the link I sent you:

    "Live oaks are called by their name because they retain their leaves throughout the year in the southern parts of their native range. In the northern parts, live oak trees are deciduous..."
     
  10. chemi392

    chemi392 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Thanks for the help. I am bound and determined to get this thing healthy, and you're information is very helpful. Looks like I'll be renting a 3" auger on the way home from work today. :)
     

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