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Help identifying a pair of beautiful small trees!  RSS feed

 
Robert Swan
Posts: 17
Location: Western WA
2
forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Howdy folks!

I'm having trouble identifying a pair of beautiful, small trees i found growing in dense shade on our property in the foothills of western washington. They are probably about 15-25 feet tall, windy stemmed with white patches on the bark, with hairy leaves. See pics attached for more detail. The soil is wet and rich, and there are large alders growing nearby.

Thanks, if anyone can help find it!

I BELIEVE it's a native, but it's remotely possible they were planted and are non native...

I haven't noticed them anywhere else on the property.
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Cris Bessette
gardener
Posts: 818
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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Maybe a type of beech tree?

 
Robert Swan
Posts: 17
Location: Western WA
2
forest garden hugelkultur trees
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That's the closest i could get as well! It seems to maybe be a japanese beech, fagus crenata, but the underside and edge of the leaves of this specimen are covered in a downy white fuzz, and the undersides are smooth - the leave veins aren't super pronounced as in beech. But that may still be it!
 
Travis Johnson
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It is a beech tree...
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I agree with Travis that it is a species of Beech but it isn't American beech. American Beech has smooth leaf edges and smooth, light bark.

American Beech doesn't grow in the western states it is confined (growing naturally) to the eastern states, Texas and northern New Mexico are as far west as it has been found.

Redhawk
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 219
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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If I saw the leaves in this country I wouldn't think past it being Fagus sylvatica.  The patchy bark is odd but that might be due to unfamiliar lichens finding it comfortable to grow on?
 
Travis Johnson
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I agree with Travis that it is a species of Beech but it isn't American beech. American Beech has smooth leaf edges and smooth, light bark.

American Beech doesn't grow in the western states it is confined (growing naturally) to the eastern states, Texas and northern New Mexico are as far west as it has been found.

Redhawk


I know they have beech in Washington state only because I read an article one time about an eccentric homeowner that insisted all lumber for his home be from his own land. The carpenters were forced to use beech as a finishing lumber which as we all know is plagued with problems. That was what the article was about, but from that I knew it was beech. I am not sure of the specific species though.

I like beech as it is really dense, weighs a lot, gives tons of btu's for firewood, and as a lumber has no taste so that is why it is used for tongue depressors, clothes pins, and other small wooden items. I have a lot of it, and have cut my share over the years. Interestingly mine has a bark disease which does not kill it, but does make it useless for lumber. I got one stand that is decimated with it, but right in the middle of the 10 acre stand was a single tree, maybe 3 feet in diameter, the granddaddy of them all with absolutely no bark canker. It is odd. I actually call any beech without the disease, "smooth bark beech" just to differentiate it from the other plagued beech.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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Beech makes a great siyotanka too Travis, what most know as the Native American Flute. The Beech tree has a nice mellow tone in a flute.
 
David Livingston
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I wonder if Beech was so good for flutes why in Europe Box was the tree used ( and box has all sorts of issues )
Looks like Beech to me too notice that nothing is growing underneath .
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
244
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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David Livingston wrote:I wonder if Beech was so good for flutes why in Europe Box was the tree used ( and box has all sorts of issues )
Looks like Beech to me too notice that nothing is growing underneath .


In Europe Box wood is used for true Flutes and still is used for Irish Flutes, but so are some other woods.
The thing about wooden flutes is that each type of wood gives different tonal characters to the instrument.

I have flutes that are made of many different woods, Interestingly fruit tree woods tend to give sharper, clearer notes than "traditional flute woods".

I make NA flutes and I also like to make Irish flutes, I use just about any wood to make NA flutes but only top end (ebony, box, pear, cocobolo, African black, granadilla, etc.) for Irish flutes.

Box has a tight, heavy grain, which lends a mellow tonal quality that the harder woods don't give. Box is also harder to machine (most flutes that are made of it are turned on metal lathes).

Redhawk
 
David Livingston
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Yes my GF  thought about getting a box flute as we play Irish music but many people have an allergy to box both players and makers . Sore lips are no joke if you are a flute player

David
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
244
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Yes, when I have built box flutes I have sealed the wood of the mouth piece and finger holes so they are less likely to cause any reactions.
Ebony, African Black Wood, Granadilla and Cocobolo also can cause some people problems but if you use a thinned shellac to seal just the areas where you touch the wood you can limit the reactions or eliminate them.

I've even built the mouthpiece with a silver liner inlet into the wood for a few people that had severe reactions to their flute's wood.

Redhawk
 
Gifford Pinchot
Posts: 6
Location: New England
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Another vote for fagus sylvatica. The white downy stuff your seeing is likely left behind by wooly beech aphid, a common forest pest of beech.
 
Permaculture isn't that hard to understand. Sometimes a little bump helps: richsoil.com/cards
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