April 07, 2016

Tree Following: The Mystery Buckeye in April

seasons

Are you following a tree this year? It's a fun activity for any garden blogger or nature blogger, or really anyone who likes trees.

To participate in the formal "tree following" meme, simply publish regular updates about your selected tree throughout the year, and then add your monthly links to The Squirrelbasket's link box, on or near the seventh of each month.

I first posted about my "mystery Buckeye" tree in January. I didn't post in February or March because the potted tree was in the garage, dormant for the winter. Now it's beginning to transition to new life. If you look at the first photo in this post, you'll see the small terminal bud of the tree in autumn, winter, and early spring. Notice how plump that tiny bud has become!

porch

I recently pulled the pot out of the garage, and placed it along the east side of the house, adjacent to the screen porch. This is very near the place I initially found the tree--in the garden bed near the rock wall. Our severe "subzero" weather is done for the season, and the potted tree will now fare better outside, where it can break dormancy as spring unfolds.

Apologies for the messy view. We've had cool days lately, so I haven't gotten around to hosing down pots and cleaning the porch. I wasn't planning to show this view, but it gives you an idea of the size of my little tree.

Yes, it's very small; insignificant, perhaps. Remember, this is a seedling I found in my garden, likely delivered by a resident squirrel.

bud one

Wait ... this tiny tree isn't insignificant. In fact, it's a miracle about to happen!

bud two

Notice the reddish color and the lateral growth buds.

bud four

This little tree might look very small now, but it's about to expand--dramatically.

bud three

A week of warm weather will do it now! I'm very excited!

What type of Buckeye (Aesculus spp.) tree do we see here? Can anyone guess from the buds or the foliage? To read more about this Buckeye tree, visit my January post. To participate in or learn more about tree following, visit The Squirrelbasket. Happy tree following!

58 comments:

  1. I've got two potted trees in my garage. Guess I'd better get them out. We had a"self-seeded" buckeye but could not make a go of it.

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    1. I wasn't sure when to bring them out, but I figured once we moved beyond the bitter cold nights, it would be better outside. I have been covering it during the very cold nights, but not when the temps hover around freezing. I don't know if this Buckeye will make it either. Fingers crossed. ;-)

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  2. Such fun! I have a wonderful Aesculus which is a spreading shrub. It is the Bottlebrush Buckeye, Aesculus parviflora. Yours looks much different.

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    1. Good to know. I was secretly hoping it might be A. parviflora, but this bud looks too red. I'm thinking now that it might be Ohio (A. glabra) or Yellow (A. flava). If I get a flower this year, we should know. :)

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  3. I don't see a thing wrong with your overall photo. It is that time of year. Everything is in flux. I think this is a nice way to watch a small tree grow. Fun. I will look forward to seeing what comes of this little beauty.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. Yes, indeed, everything is in flux. I usually clean the screen porch sometime in May. It's much more comfortable out there. ;-) This tree-following meme is fun. I enjoy reading the posts from around the world.

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  4. What a great idea. I've got a Kentucky Coffee tree I started from seed several years ago. At the moment it is looking like a big stick. Perhaps next month I'll be able to participate with everyone else and show something that looks more like a tree, than something you might use to hold up an iris blossom. (May be it's A. bethii?)

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    1. Oh yes, please do participate. It's a fun meme, and you learn so much about trees from around the world. I'd love to learn about your Kentucky Coffee tree.

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  5. Now I feel the need to go outside and take some photos of my buckeye seedling. But maybe tomorrow. Today we've been having waves of snow, sleet, and rain.

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    1. I know--it's been too cold and drippy this past week to care much about what happens outside. We'll have to compare notes about our Buckeyes!

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  6. So exciting! The changes now will be so rapid - I bet you'll be doing a thorough examination every day!

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    1. I don't expect much change until after this next cold snap, but then later next week I'm sure the changes will happen fast. The terminal bud looks like it's about to explode. :)

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  7. So exciting to see this new growth emerge! I'm impressed that you even know it's a buckeye, Beth. I have trouble identifying most trees until their leaves emerge, and even then I'm often confused:)

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    1. Well, I only know because of last year's foliage. Once the first bud unfurled it was pretty obvious it was a Buckeye, but determining which species will be tough (for me, anyway) until it flowers.

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  8. So much possibility here! :)

    PS - Like Lisa, I didn't see anything wrong with your 'messy' view. Looked neat as a pin to me :)

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. The back porch is actually messy, but clean up will happen during a warmer time. ;-) I'm very excited to learn more about this little tree.

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  9. It's so exciting to observe nature and see what it brings and learn about it!

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    1. I agree, Lula. There are always new surprises to find!

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  10. Welcome back. Lovely sequence of images! And the leaves are so pink.
    And as you have said elsewhere, our British horse chestnuts are an Aesculus species, too.
    I look forward to seeing the leaves next time :)

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    1. Thanks for hosting! I was surprised to see the color of the bud, considering what the leaves looked like last summer. It won't be long now before the leaves unfurl. I wonder if there will be a flower this year?

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  11. I love trees but, don't really know much about them. This is an opportunity to learn! I'll have to research Buckeye. Your pictures showing the progression of the bud is great. The latest one reminds me of full term pregnancy! Thanks for the link! I have a bunch of saplings I got from Arbor Day Society last year.......which one to highlight.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I know--puffy buds have so much promise! Tree-following is a great meme. You don't have to follow a sapling, in fact most people follow mature trees. A couple of years ago, I followed our two old, established Shagbark Hickories. It was fun to be so observant about their life cycles. :)

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  12. Free seedlings flown in from somewhere are always exciting – at least when they are not just weeds, and when they turn out to become trees they are especially welcome. I am currently growing two rowan saplings, and I found both as tiny seedlings between cracks in the paving in my previous garden. Good luck to your little’un, may he (or she) grow well :-)

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    1. Yes, I saw the bud unfurling last year and thought--oh, this will be a fun mystery to solve. Isn't it amazing the locations some plants choose to grow (I guess they don't have much choice if a squirrel puts them there. ;-) ) Thanks!

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  13. Well then . . . that is a fun idea . . .
    I look forward to the "keeping watch!"

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    1. I hope we'll have a flower this summer, which would make the identification easier. :)

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  14. I have done the "follow a tree" thing for a couple of years - taking this year off. However, I do enjoy seeing yours progressing. It has motivated me! May do one again next year. Thanks. JC

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    1. Yes, I remember following your Honey Locust a couple of years ago. It's fun to learn about trees from around the world.

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  15. The suspense is killing me! Personally I'm rooting for a red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), even if the evidence may point to a Bottlebrush Buckeye (A. parviflora). Though either one would be exciting.

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    1. Ha! Me, too. Looking at the buds of various species, it looks like it could be A. glabra, A pavia, or A. flava. Once we have a flower, it will be easier to ID.

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  16. Exciting to see this little sapling begin life in spring...I am not following a tree so far but may eventually.

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    1. It is so exciting! The only downside to following a small tree in a pot is that it's dormant and in a garage during the winter. But that gave me a little break. ;-)

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  17. I'm glad it's in a pot! Would it have suffered with the late season snow and cold? How exciting to watch it grow. :o)

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    1. Yes, the rolling pot makes it easier to deal with in some ways, for sure! I did roll it back into the garage last night and covered it with a little pot. It seemed happy out in the sun later today. :)

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  18. Really enjoyed the closeups! That's one advantage in following a tiny tree in a pot :)

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    1. Yes, that does make the photography a little easier. I might try to set up a screen or something when the bud unfurls. Or maybe just go with the natural background. :)

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  19. Love the macro detail...and I forgot to write a post...same as last year..sigh

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    1. Thanks. I took a break from tree following last year, but decided to do it again this year. Did you know you can join in any time? You can start during any month of the year. :)

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  20. Growing a foot or more a year, your buckeye will be escaping that pot in due time. lol. Our frigid weather is hopefully gone as well. Birds have been singing for a few months already. Many unhappy robins.

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    1. Yes! That will be great! Now I simply need to figure out where to plant it when it outgrows the pot. Sounds like our springs have been similar so far--a mild March and a very cold April, which makes for confused songbirds. :(

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  21. I don't know enough about Buckeyes to guess the type, but how exciting! It is so fun to see all these plants on the verge of their spring growth spurt.

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    1. Yes, it is exciting. I imagine the situation is similar in your part of the country--the trees and forbs are on the edge of bursting. They're just waiting for the mild weather to stay!

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  22. Hi again. that wooded draw is in Lewis & Clark Rec Area west of Yankton, SD. I'm answering your question here because I have a geo-challenge coming up and I don't want to spill the beans! ... in case errant geologists read my botany posts ;-)

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    1. Hi Hollis: Ah, that makes sense. You sparked my curiosity with your description of your trip location. Good luck with the geo-challenge!

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  23. How fun, my son Atticus has a Buckeye growing as well. He brought home the nut on a bike ride several years ago. It is slowly growing. It is beautiful. :-) He just loves to see how it grows.
    Think Spring!! Carla

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    1. Oh, how fun! What type of Buckeye does Atticus have? What a great experiment. We'll have to compare notes. Yes, spring weather is just around the corner now!

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  24. I do love this time of year for the way that the buds on the trees seem to swell almost as you watch. Your mini tree is certainly full of life, very exciting, can't wait to see the leaf! I am waiting for another break in the weather to take photos of my tree, though I fear hoping for sun might be a step too far. As for apologizing for the mess, well, you should see the state of our driveway! I'm sure the moss is almost as thick as the grass in places, but we have too many boats etc on the drive to be able to get the pressure-washer out just yet.

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    1. Me, too. Most of the trees have broken bud now. And the little Buckeye looks entirely different. It will be fun to post about it in May. :)

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  25. Nice one! Isn't it wonderful when the universe gifts us?

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    1. Yes, we are blessed, indeed! Simple pleasures are the best!

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  26. It will be very gratifying to watch your little tree grow! It is one of the miracles of nature. One day your little tree may create a stir of wonder in peoples' hearts. My Japanese maples, which make such a statement in my front garden, were only tiny saplings, less than a foot tall, when I planted them in the fall of 1990. No one would have called them trees then! Now everyone who sees them comments on their beauty.

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    1. How wonderful to start with tiny trees and nurture them to mature beauties! I hope my little tree will one day be a landscape stalwart. :)

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  27. Oh the suspense! It must be killing you Beth. It may be small but it's full of potential. I hope it turns out to be the tree you are hoping for.

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    1. Yes, and I still don't know what type of Buckeye it is. It's nearly entirely leafed out, but I won't know until it flowers (unless some Buckeye expert is able to ID it for me). I don't think it's going to flower this year--maybe next year.

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  28. A lovely plump bud, how exciting!

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    1. Yes, very exciting! I photographed it unfurling, which was fun!

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  29. Squirrels can be pests, but every once in a while they bring a nice gift.

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    1. Yes, very true! I'm assuming it was deliver via a squirrel, but it could have been from a chipmunk or a bird or some other critter. :)

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