Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Welcome to the Trees Near Their Limits blog, which I plan to develop as a portfolio of trees being grown near their cold, heat (excessive or insufficient), or drought tolerance limits. Images will be collected from sites such as Wikipedia and Google Street View -- the latter, now serving much of Canada and northern Europe, has already yielded a few surprises. For example, Thompson, in northern Manitoba, has a diversity of trees which is amazing in the face of its very cold winters and short summers. Northern Vancouver Island towns have long but dull summers with a crippling lack of warmth for many species, but that hasn't stopped some people from trying sun or heat lovers with success. There is decidedly little heat in Prince Rupert and southeastern Alaska, where July means struggle to reach 13C/55F; however, a few "southerners" do better than one might think.

PLEASE NOTE: Images on this page may be slow to load. This appears to be caused by an excessive number of Google Street View links. Loading is faster if there are fewer image links on a blog page. Thus, I have begun to subdivide Trees Near Their Limits. The Alaska, Florida, Mexico, Newfoundland, Quebec, and Europe pages are up. Watch for separate pages covering other parts of the world.

Let's begin with the genus Acer, aka Maple. Here is Silver Maple at Timmins.

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Silver Maple at Slave Lake.
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Here is Sugar Maple at Cobalt. Notice the multiple trunks of the bottom specimen -- grown stump sprouts.

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Bigleaf Maple near Port McNeill, just beyond its native range on Vancouver Island.

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Bigleaf Maple near Ketchikan, Alaska.

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'Deborah' Norway Maple in Calgary.

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Aesculus hippocastanum, the Common Horsechestnut, has been said to be hardy only to zone 5b. But Sam Holowach planted this species in Edmonton (3a) around 1920, more than forty-five years before hardiness zone maps were devised in Canada. Two of his "chestnuts" survived into 1994 (when I visited) and the better one still stands, as seen below:

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A Horsechestnut displays summer foliage on the grounds of Governor's Mansion in Juneau, Alaska.

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Horsechestnut in Prince George.

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Northern Red Oak at Latchford. The climate may be suitable for this and other Great Lakes/St. Lawrence "heartland" hardwoods, but the coarse acidic soils allow few trees other than conifers and pioneer deciduous trees (members of the birch, poplar/willow and rose families common to the boreal forest) to flourish.

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The Pacific Madrone or Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii) ranges north to southeastern Vancouver Island, Quadra Island and Savary Island but can be grown in northwestern Vancouver Island. This specimen in Coal Harbour has the typical bright red bark.

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Arbutus in Port Hardy.

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This Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in Lillooet may be the northernmost mature example of its kind in the Americas.

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Here is American Basswood in Englehart.

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Basswood in Prince George.

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Basswood (Dropmore?) in Thompson, Manitoba.

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Black Cherry(?) in Prince George.

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White Elm (Ulmus americana) in Thompson.

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Deodar (Cedrus deodara) in Port Hardy.

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Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) in Port Hardy.

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Purple-leaf Plum and Tulip Tree shade a small play area in Port Hardy.

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Deodar (left center) and Sequoia (just to the right) in Port Hardy.

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Bigleaf Maple in the southern outskirts of Port Hardy.

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Two Western Hemlock trees (Tsuga heterophylla), recognized by their drooping branch tips and lacier crown texture than the predominant Roche Spruce and Subalpine Fir, are seen at the edge of Devil Creek Canyon. North of here, the climate quickly becomes colder and drier so that a more stunted boreal forest takes over.

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Here are some of the last large Mountain and Western Hemlock to be found along a Highway 37 northward journey.

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A Deodar grows next to a building in Stateline, Nevada. Conditions in Stateline are rather cool for this species with mean winter temperatures below freezing, frost possible in any month, and mean July temperatures only around 15C (59F).

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Deodar in Ushuaia, Argentina.
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Sugar Maple in Edmonton.
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Bur Oak in Choiceland, Saskatchewan.
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Possibly the highest Tuliptree in all of Canada is this Nelson specimen at about 700 meters (2300 feet).

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