906. Tree Identification

What’s so good about tree identification skills you may ask? Well I’ll tell you there are two things..1) avoiding offense, and 2) life and death situations.

The Quaking Aspen

Offense. Let’s say you think all white people look alike. Well that’s offensive. Until you can tell the difference between Irish-Americans, German-Americans, and an Eastern Lapland-Finnish-American, don’t assume man, don’t assume. And you probably know I’m 1/16th Chickasaw Native American, but if you came up upon me on the street and said, hey you Havasupai Injun drop that bottle of Jack Daniels, I might be offended. Probably not on account of all the Jack Daniels and my 11/16th Irish American side just being a generally “tell you some tall tales in an Irish brogue but generally agreeable” kinda person, hey no offense taken. But, however, I just offended myself with all this racial stereotypes about my self & my ethnic groups. Hold on while de-friend myself on Facebook.

The Aspen, Perhaps the Most Un-picturesque Grove I could Find

So know your trees and don’t offend them. Sure, if you call an Aspen a Pine, you can just walk away. I mean what are they going to do? It’s a freaking tree. It’s not like they are going to come after you bro! But while you are sleeping at night, they’ll definitely think bad thoughts about you. The Aspen is the easiest, the most peaceful and graceful of trees. If you are going to want to do art about trees, you probably are going to want to paint an Aspen grove. They have runner roots and are all part of one living being, connected underground. And to sit with the wind blowing and watching the leaves flip over and back, showing a dark side and then a light side while the whole grove rustles sounding like peaceful waves, well that’s just downright nice right there.

The Juniper, The Thirstiest of Trees

Scientific name Juniperus Thirstioticus, the Juniper. Yes, they are thirsty. The trees have TreeBook like we have Facebook & the Juniper is always posting pics, wearing not too many needles, like a skimpy mint green bikini. They thirst for attention and are just looking to get a rise out of the other trees. freaking junipers. They are rangy mangled tough old buggers, the juniper. They berry up. Juniper trees can use water very early in the spring before other plants begin to grow. On warm April days, individual trees can use up to 20 gallons per day. On warm days in mid-summer, a tree 18 inches in diameter at its base can transpire 30 to 40 gallons per day if adequate soil moisture is available.

Unmistakable bark of the P-Pine

Long Needles of the P-Pine

The Ponderosa Pine. Previously I loved them as my favorite forest tree for so many reasons now I hate the little bastards. I spent a day and a half eradicating a whole acre, maybe 100 acres (who knows such things?), of Ponderosa’s and how can one really be okay about such a thing? As it turns out the evil Ponderosa Pine was waging war on a majestic aspen grove in Eastern-Central Oregon, it was up to us wielding the mighty chain saw of justice to save that poor beautiful innocent Aspen grove from certain death from the dreaded and malicious P-Pine, evil, naughty P-Pine.

Geddy Lee and Rush sang about the war between the Oaks and the Maples but as it turns out it should have been about the P-Pine and the Quaking Aspen. Oh, you can tell the Ponderosa by their more mature reddish bark (but not always red), the random blocked-pattern that the bark grows in, the long substantial needles and the absence of lower branches in more mature trees.

Dead Trees

Easy identification here, these trees are dead. They are classified as dead trees. Apparently a terrible murder-suicide situation between these two. Advocate for the health of our forests, especially their mental health.

Tamarack Bark, Ridged Patterns

Who knows if the Tamarack is a pine or a larch? Who cares? They lose their needles in the winter. They grow when mature to a cylindrical symmetric shape. They are pretty cool but I don’t trust them. Their going naked in the winter is suspicious. Who does that?

Some boring wildflower
These flowers are yellow.

So these are not trees above. They are wildflowers. Like trees, they can also be found in the forests. The yellow ones were growing in between the tire tracks of a forest road. Who knows what type these flowers are? Who cares? This is tree identification not wildflowers. Buy a book or get an app if you really want to know.

Life and death, the second reason why “Tree Identification” is such a good thing. Let’s say you were walking in the woods and some environmentalist pops his head out of the bushes, holds a gun to your head and says, “Man, what kind of tree is this?” And then screaming, “What is this TREEEEEE!!??!!??,” with a mangy rabid look that only environmentalists get when they live in the forest. You say, “Doug Fir,” but it was a Colorado Blue Spruce…. BAM, lights out, your life is now gone because you didn’t know. Sound far-fetched Texans?? Happens all the time around here. All the damn time.

Here’s a bunch of other tree pics I took today on my two mile walk in the Wallowa-Whitman forest road of Eastern Oregon. What kind are they? You tell me. I’m not really sure. BAM!!!

Some tree on the right, P-Pine on the Left

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