Spring is here and the tree buds are starting to pop. Red maple (Acer rubrum) is among the first to flower, revealing little tassles of red and orange. The leaves will emerge a bit later.
Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is another early bloomer. Perhaps this tree was named after its silvery flowers.
Beech trees are late comers — the long skinny buds and last year’s leaves are still holding tight. They are easy to spot in the woods before everything greens up.
Remember all that snow and how heavy it was? If you find trees arching over a trail or at odd angles in the woods, that may be a sign that it survived a heavy load of snow like these hemlocks. Trees are amazingly resilient and strong.
Before long the trees will be greening up and a new season of growth, with the sounds of birds, insects, and wildlife, will return. Take a walk through the woods. Look how small we are compared to the trees!
Do you feel inspired, in awe, empowered or claustrophobic under a canopy of trees? More than 80% of NY State Parks and Historic Sites are covered in forest, so you can find spots like this in a park near you.
Perhaps you prefer viewing the trees from a distance or sitting under a favorite tree. NYS Historic Sites are great places for this: Crown Point on Lake Champlain (below), Olana on the Hudson, Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario, Lorenzo in Cazenovia, or Hyde Hall at Glimmerglass are a few spots to enjoy big trees.
Take a little time this Arbor Day to appreciate our tall tree friends and spring into action with some walks in the woods or a stroll along a tree-lined path.
Post and photos by Julie Lundgren, State Parks Ecologist, NY Natural Heritage Program, NYNHP. NYNHP works in partnership with State Parks to survey and map rare species and natural communities in the parks to aid in stewardship of their natural resources.