As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve decided to split my exploration of Chestnut street into two sections: West of 15th and East of 15th. I have documented a few tree species from each side. Here are the final three trees, traveling East on Chestnut:
Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
It was great seeing this pair of trees as I turned East onto Chestnut street, because I immediately knew what they were due in part to my research on them during our winter class! The Golden Rain Tree is a medium sized deciduous tree that can reach 30’-40’ in height. The width of the tree is typically equal to or slightly greater than its height. It usually is rounded in shape, with its branching beginning upright and spreading to irregular as it matures. They are easily recognizable in the spring and early summer as they are adorned with bright yellow flowers that are found on 10”-15” long panicles. The flowers themselves are rather small at roughly ½”. The trees also have little papery, triangular capsules that appear over the summer and autumn months. The twigs are stout and have a reddish brown color, with leaves situated in an alternate fashion. The leaves are shield-shaped and a nice green color during the spring and summer months. The bark is easily recognizable, as it is silvery gray in color but has shallow, reddish brown, vertical furrows which accentuate the bark. It is tolerant of intense climatic changes, pollution, and urban conditions, however is mostly used as an ornamental tree. These trees have been planted in raised circular containers which bring attention to them, but will likely lead to girdled roots and require them to be transplanted.
English Oak (Quercus robur)
The English oak is native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, and is hardy to zone 5, again, a non-native species to the U.S. This species of the oak is a large, deciduous shade tree which can reach to a max height of 50’-70’. They develop rounded, broad crowns, with branching that is upright and spreading. While younger trees are typically pyramidal or have an ovate shape, more mature trees have irregular branching patterns which create the spreading effect. In the spring and summer months, they feature alternate leaf arrangements, with relatively small leaves for an oak, ranging from 2”-5” in length. The base of the leaves is an odd ear-shape, and during the autumn months, the leaves either drop as green leaves, or turn brown and last into the winter. They aren’t very interesting trees in the fall. They have small yet elongated acorns and they mature each season, in one season. The bark features the typical furrows and ridges that adorn all of the species of oak in the city. They are great shade trees; however, they too need room to develop. While soil pH is not really critical, they prefer moist, fertile, and well-drained soil. They are not the greatest trees for the city, and twigs and branches suffer during winter months. But, they have been chosen to adorn the continuation of my travel along Chestnut…and by the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society…?
Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)
Now, THESE oak trees make more sense in the city! They are native to the eastern United States and are hardy to zone 4. They are medium sized, deciduous trees and stand with an upright, oval crown. They grow roughly as tall as they do wide, both being roughly 50’-60’. The branches feature an alternate leaf arrangement with an obovate leaf shape. They are 4”-8” in length and are lobed and rounded. There are white hairs on the undersides of the leaves, which help to identify them. The flowers are monoecious, and bloom in the early summer months. In autumn, the leaves change to a copper and red color. The lower branches droop in an odd fashion, with yellowish brown stems coming from them. The bark itself is deeply furrowed and ridged and sometimes can be very flaky. The trees are very drought tolerant, and are easily transplantable from a container. They like swampy conditions, but can flourish in city conditions. They are great shade trees, specimen trees and are great along streets. However they are very prone to numerous bugs which can become a problem with these trees being planted in close approximation to one another.
And thus ends my tree documentations around the South Philadelphia location and around City Hall. I will have one last posting to just display some other interesting images taken along the way, of trees I was not easily able to identify, however found their current conditions rather interesting…stay tuned…