Teach Your Children Well...About Trees

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Interlibrary Loan is a wonderful thing, as I was reminded of this yesterday. I was planning my talk for our Oaks & Maples school at Secrest Arboretum tomorrow (https://agnr.osu.edu; The Oaks vs. the Maples link). I remembered the words from a book I had uncovered a few years ago and had recently ordered from our marvelous Clevnet Interlibrary Loan here in northeast Ohio: Forest Tree of Ohio: Field Guide to Common Trees of Ohio, by Joseph H. Illick, in cooperation with…Edmund Secrest, state forester of Ohio.  Published in…1927.


Chestnut oak propagation
Actually, the slide is from Paul Snyder of Secrest Arboretum. Chestnut oak propagation: Mighty oaks from little acorns grow!


I had received this small pamphlet-like book this weekend. Here are some words of wisdom, from Joseph Illick and Edmund Secrest: “Each year a greater number of boy and girls go out into the fields and forests to take part in some outdoor program of education.  To be able to participate in such a wholesome and practical program of education is to enjoy one of the greatest educational privileges ever made available to the young folks of any land.”


Three-flowered maple stems
The trunks of three-flowered maple taken at Ashland College last week.



From this boy: Amen. There are descriptions of our common trees, and of uncommon trees that Edmund Secrest had visited, such as a baldcypress in Chillicothe that was 10 feet in circumference, I wonder if it still there. “To know trees is to love and protect them.  In teaching our boys and girls about trees we will place in their possession an unafraid attitude towards the out-of-doors and thus instill into them the duty of preserving tree homes for our cheery bird friends.” 


Baldcypress at Secrest Arboretum
Baldcypress and blue sky to the right at Secrest Arboretum in Wooster




Oliver Wendell Holmes (jurist and apparently, poet) is quoted: “I have written many verses, but the best poems I have produced are the trees I planted on the hillside.” Oaks and maples, and ashes. As a group from Davey Tree yesterday, myself and with phone help from OSU Woodland Steward leader Kathy Smith pondered a dieback problem on pignut hickory (Carya glabra), I turned to its entry in this book: “It is sometimes classified as the strongest and toughest of the hickories.  And hickories themselves are among the toughest of trees, so we are puzzled by this dieback, but are on the diagnostic case.


Dieback on pignut hickory
A puzzling dieback of pignut hickory at a northeast Ohio site



The book closes with a challenge that all of us girls and boys can meet; “To know 25 trees means that you are acquainted with about one-third of all the common trees in Ohio. This is an accomplishment of which you will have a right to be proud. Today is the best time to begin your tree record.”


Pignut hickory



Or tomorrow, Come to a program. Start your own program. Teach your children, and the child within yourself, well. Learn a tree a day.



And have some fun with it; each tree is different. As Rush sang in The Trees:

“There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas…”