I decided to begin my journal entries by walking around the blocks close my house on 11th street, down here in South Philadelphia.  I was amazed at the variety of trees actually being planted down here in the ‘Tree Desert’.  So, I decided to document a few with some background information about how to tell what they are:


Amur Chokeberry (Prunus maackii)

I found it rather interesting to stumble upon an Amur Chokeberry while walking around my house down here in the tree desert.  I found this beautiful tree, recently planted on the next street up from mine, on Jessup St. down here in South Philadelphia.  The tree is native to Manchuria and Korea and is hardy to zone 3.  The tree itself can grow to be 30′-40′ tall and 25′ -35′ wide.  It features a vase-shaped crown, that is very dense during the spring and summer months.  It has an alternate leaf arrangement, with ovate shaped leaves that can grow 2″-4″ long.  It is easy to tell the bark, because it is an attractive reddish-brown color, that is very shiny.  What is also interesting is the pointed terminal buds of the tree.  Lastly, I find it interesting that girdling roots is a liability of the tree, and unfortunately down here in the desert, it seems to be what will happen within the next few years.

Higan Cherry (Prunus subhirtella)

This was an interesting tree to find as well along 12th Street, as it is not native to North America.  The tree can grow to be 25′-35′ in height and width.  It sometimes features multiple trunks and a primarily rounded canopy.  The older the trees get, the wider the canopy will grow, in comparison to the height.  The trees become covered with double pink flowers prior to the spring beginning, and can also appear in the autumn months as well depending on the temperatures.  The leaves are dark green in color and can range from 1″ – 4″ long.  The leaves turn yellow in the fall and then bronze before dropping, which you can see in the photos.  The bark also features the very prominent lenticels.  They are very popular trees for highway medians, which seems to make sense as to why they would be planted along the roadways here in the tree desert. 

to be continued…