We recently invited our neighbors to Winding Pathways for an evening of conversation. It was early winter and talk turned to trees.
“We have an odd tree growing in our yard. I have no idea what it is, but it has bit heart shaped leaves and later in the summer long beans dangle down from it,” said Patty a neighbor from down the street.
Her description was perfect. It was a Northern Catalpa. No other tree matches her observations.
Winter is a wonderful time to study trees. In midsummer their branch structure and twigs are usually invisible beneath leafy clothing. Not so in winter when buds, twigs, trunk, and branches can be easily seen. Often they yield clues revealing its species.
One of our favorite tree finding tools is on the Website of the National Arbor Day Foundation. Click on the “tree” tab and a simple identification guide pops up like magic on the computer screen. The Arbor Day Foundation also sells dozens of tree species at reasonable prices and a visit to Arbor Day farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska is memorable. It’s just south of Omaha and is where J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day.