Celebrating National Tree Week at the end of September, Charlie Briggs led us on a tour of Eastwood Park. We had inventoried every tree in this park with Trees Please this year (173 total, 18 species, mostly Littleleaf Lindens and English Oaks, but some interesting species like Yellowwood, Tulip Tree, and Black Tupelo).
Charlie began the tour with stumps. At the edge of the park, there are a few shrubby bushes easy to pass over, but looking more closely, they are actually suckering Ash stems around the cut stump of the removed hazard trees. After being infected by the Emerald Ash Borer and dying, the suckers are trying to come back, but will ultimately be defeated by the bug once again.
One of our favourite species in the park is the Kentucky Coffeetree. Featuring the largest leaf of all Canada’s native trees and a robust bean pod, this Carolinian species is being planted more frequently as a hardy urban species that will withstand climate change in Hamilton.
There is a beautiful row of tall and reddening Freeman Maples along the parking lot. This is a naturally occurring hybrid between the Silver and Red Maples that highlights some of the best qualities from each. The wood is strong and smooth and the leaves have stunning fall colour. This is a great option for replacing the Norway Maples that were favoured decades ago as we now know that these invasive species have no place in our urban forest.
The rows of Littleleaf Lindens and English Oaks around the soccer field and play area provide excellent park shade, but neither species is doing much beyond that. No dramatic fall colour, infrequently used by bugs and birds, and squirrels can’t even eat the oaks from this non-native tree! If you look under any fruiting Red Oak this October, you won’t see many acorns left, but the layer of acorns is thick beneath the English Oaks.
On the western side of the park, there are some exciting Carolinian trees. The Tulip Tree is the largest growing native tree in Ontario! It has showy yellow tulip-like flowers in the early summer, and an interestingly shaped leaf turning yellow right about now. Further along there are a few Yellowwoods. These had stumped us as we were inventorying and it took a lot of research to figure it out! While not technically native to Ontario, it is in the Carolinian range and a good species to plant planning for climate change. Charlie told us how the fresh-cut wood is highlighter yellow, and the compound leaves at first glance are similar to the Coffeetree. Most interestingly in the park are two (struggling) Black Tupelo trees. Charlie expressed how these trees are quite particular about their growing soil, preferring a wet environment and clay soils. When growing happily, they are a stunning tree with the most spectacular flaming red fall foliage.
It was a beautiful evening for a walk, and we are forever grateful for Charlie and all the incredible knowledge he is happy to share with us! Go for your own tour of the park along with our inventory data available here. Enjoy the changing leaves in the city this autumn!
And guess what – you can get shovels in the ground on October 20th and help us plant a few hundred trees at Heritage Green Sports Park. Hope to see you there!