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Tree Identification

 
Robert Overturf
Posts: 37
Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zone 5)
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I live in Des Moines, Iowa. I am in the process of designing a food forest garden and have a tree that I am torn whether or not to take out or leave as a supporter. On the West neighbor's property is a very large oak tree who's drip line extends over my fence. I want to use an all-in-one almond as a buffer between this oak and a red delicious apple. The apple would end up close to this mystery tree that I have no idea how to identify. If it is an oak as well then it will obviously have to go (alleliopath) so if anyone is familiar and can recognize this at a glance I would greatly appreciate. This is not a skill that I am currently in possession of. I am really hoping it is a mulberry but I doubt it.
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full view
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bark up close
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bark up close again
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Midwest isn't my thing, but provide some good closeups of buds and twigs, and look for some well preserved leaves and you might get lucky.
 
Robert Overturf
Posts: 37
Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zone 5)
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I was thinking leaves would be a little out of season, but now that you mention it there are some right there peaking out from the snow so I will have to get out today and take a look. Buds are up too high to get to at the moment, but I should be able to distinguish oak leaves pretty well, which should be the only other major source of leaves directly nearby so that should help a bit. Thank you.
 
Robert Overturf
Posts: 37
Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zone 5)
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I found this leaf near the base of the tree but not 100% that this is it's leaf. If it is, I may have identified it as an American Sycamore which is also allelopathic. There were also many oak leaves scattered about but the neighbors oak is a monster that I would guess was around 200 years old.
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dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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It is not clear to me if this mystery tree is on your property or your neighbors, or which direction, etc. Would it serve as a canopy tree while getting shady understory going, or why doyou feel it must be taken out?
 
K Nelfson
Posts: 129
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This will sound silly, but the flower is the best way to identify a plant. Obviously, this requires that you wait for a flower. And not all flowers look like flowers. For example, maple trees don't look very flowery. Anyway, keep your eyes open this spring.

Personally, I'd axe it. You need sunlight to get significant growth and you're got a small area to work with.
 
Robert Overturf
Posts: 37
Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zone 5)
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I did end up cutting down part of it. I was pretty sure I had identified it as a maple and when I cut it I could smell maple and I tasted the sap and it was slightly sweet like maple. Maple is an alleliopath (sp?) so I am glad it is coming down to make room for an apple and a plum that will act as a buffer between the apple and oak (peaceful valley was out of the almond). It is on my property to the Northern edge so no real benefit of shade but I have a lot of others that have to come down because they block light. There were a lot of weed trees in fence lines allowed to get out of control. I have about an 1/8 th of an acre so limited space and making room for desirables are a big part of my motivation, as well as firewood, lumber, hugel fodder, and compostables. Unfortunately a few of the fence-line weed trees are mulberry trees, which I want, so I am considering trying to coppice them (at least one or two) and try to train/prune them out away from the fence.
 
K Nelfson
Posts: 129
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Here's a neat blag about how to move a tree. It's fairly accurate in terms of tree anatomy and root distribution for most types of trees. If you only want to move the trees a short distance, maybe this would be the technique.

http://www.chesavage.com/move_maple/
 
Robert Overturf
Posts: 37
Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zone 5)
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That is pretty awesome.
 
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