Help with Shrubs, a tree please

laylaa(7b)August 15, 2009

I have a slew of stuff on my property I don't know what is. If anyone has ideas, I will appreciate. All photos were taken in spring - been a rough summer so I am just getting around to figuring these things out. I have so many tree id books and still have problems!!!

Plant #1 Shrub

Thought this was a crepe myrtle and looked at a bunch in nurseries, now I am not sure. I know zero about crepe myrtle and they are all so different! Vase shaped, branches are alternate, leaves are not. It grows and's about 10' now, had been shaved to the ground last year. Bark is not quite smooth and appears to want to exfoliate. It's in very poor soil, full sun and looks quite healthy. Leaves have filled out considerably over the summer. I keep waiting for it to do something but it just grows and grows. VERY little was planted with intent in this yard. (a good thing for my opinionated self).

Plant #2 Shrub

Thought this was a laurel (as in cherry) in spring but am clueless. Thick, waxy leaves like a laurel. It's all over the woods, naturalized, both oak and pine areas, full shade and sun. Does not seem to prefer either, equally healthy in both although more new growth in part sun. Leaves are dark green - darker than in photo. I found no flowers or anything on them in spring or summer. New growth was in spring and a distinct bronze red. Bark has a distinct red tint to it.

Plant #3 Tree

This thing is a pain - suckers!!! From the roots, quite vigorously. Leaves are shiny, waxy, thin and bright green. Growing in poor soil, dry sun. Now the leaves are rust spotted and turning bright red, even with the rust still looks healthy and had retained leaves. Lot of growth in spring, none since. No flowers that I saw and I was looking. Everything flowers, so I don't know what the deal is with that.

Plant #4 - Colony

Random - probably need better photos. Thought (hoped) it was maple leaf viburnum but now I don't at all. Leaves are much wider and rounded, smooth edge, bumpy texture, about 3" across. This colony was shaved to the ground and is maybe 3' tall now. In part sun, dry acid location and happy with that. New growth this spring was quite maroon red.

Thanks in advance. I always feel that I should know these thing. Funny how different one set of woods is from another.

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dangit, I meant to post this in the Name That Plant Forum. Logged on here and just started typing like mad. Will re-post there as soon as I feel up to more mad typing. Sorry.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 1:04PM
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I guess it could be a crape myrtle. If not that, then a viburnum (like V. prunifolium).

#2 looks like sourwood.

#3 looks like black gum (Nyssa sylvatica).

#4 does look like mapleleaf viburnum from here. The leaves can be very variable - I've seen plants that look very different from others. A close look at the newly forming leaf buds for next year might help.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 1:12PM
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Thank you - all of those answers would be great. I love getting the answers I want!! #1 there is the only thing that could have been planted with intent, and viburnums I have in droves.It's not familiar at all, so I leave it and see what happens next year.

I'd LOVE the second to be sourwood. There are several here - wish one would flower. Two weeks ago I looked at sourwood to buy (complex story - get 'em off our lot for super cheap thing) and didn't recognize them. They weren't in good shape.

Nyssa sylvatica is also desirable. I just took a walk and found a tree form down the road - very dark bark, gnarly and lots of personality. Something I have read up on and wanted. Too bad the photo one is growing 4' away from a native magnolia. Have to see if I have other good specimens...

Thank you for the help. I'm having a time with the identification issues. Previously I had no great need to name things - it either belonged in the woods or not. I did try to hire an arborist but that didn't go well - they had far different ideas than I and it became clear quickly that I'd need another type of tree person to assist. It's actually quite difficult to find someone with the same ideas. A lot of the natives are just labeled "junk" and dismissed - like various pines. NO WAY will I take out all my pines. It was eye opening for me.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 2:28PM
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Just for comparison, I went out and picked some leaves off different mapleleaf viburnum plants. The top 3 leaves came from the same plant - a very vigorous guy in the front yard. The bottom two leaves came from two other plants.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 3:40PM
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Those are good samples. My neighbor has some mapleleaf naturalized, it has berries so is obvious what it is but does not look a lot like some I have. Uggh!

Also looked a a zillion photos of sourwood and some look maybe like mine, others not at all...guess I'll keep with my "everything flowers" theory! I have those trees in 70'-80' and all last year, this year looked for flowers, seeds, got nothing. Prefers shade is all I discovered. The adventures of a backyard explorer are trying I tell you. :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 2:37PM
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wanted to say thanks for the IDs here - I think you are right on target about the sourwood and Nyssa - I was getting them backwards but spent the day figuring these two out, clearing around the ones I have found, books in hand. I learned two more plants.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 4:05PM
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Glad to help. They are both quite common at my house, so it was easy!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 4:22PM
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