Tag Archives: Leaves

How to Identify an Oak Tree

The first step to begin identification of an oak tree is to determine whether the tree is from the white or red oak family of trees.  You can identify which group your oak tree belongs to by looking at it’s leaves, acorns and it’s bark.

Red Oak Group Characteristics:

  • Leaves have pointed tips
  • Acorns are round in shape and have a flattened overlapping/scaled cap
  • Bark is fairly dark in color and often appears as ridged/furrowed
  • Fast growing
  • Members of the red oak group of trees include – Northern red oak, Black oak, Pin oak, Shingle oak, Red oak, etc.
Red Oak Tree Leaves and Acorns
Red Oak Tree Bark
Red Oak Tree Acorns

White Oak Group Characteristics:

  • Leaves are rounded at tip of each lobe
  • Acorns are oval/elongated and have a bumpy faced cap that is usually 1/3 or so it’s overall length
  • Bark often appears to be light colored and scaly in appearance
  • Slow growing
  • Members of the white oak group of trees include – Bur oak, Post oak, Swamp White oak, Eastern White oak, etc.
White Oak Tree Leaves and Acorns
White Oak Tree Bark
White Oak Tree Acorns

Oak trees are fantastic hardwood trees that can live for hundreds of years and provide awesome shade for all to enjoy.  Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any comments, questions or service requests you may have.  We greatly appreciate your visit to our site and look forward to being of service to you.  Have a great day!

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Pine, Fir and Spruce Trees….. Do you know the difference?

Even though all evergreen trees are routinely called “pine trees” by the casual observer, there are other unique species that deserve to be called by their proper names.  To begin, we can differentiate between evergreen tree species (conifers) by identifying them as being either a Pine, Fir or Spruce tree.  Pacocha - western yellow pine treeSome of the distinguishing characteristics of the three conifers are their needles, cones and bark.  First let’s discuss the needle differences between the three evergreen trees types.  Pine tree needles are normally carried in groups of two or more (2, 3 or 5 per cluster) and are 1 to 3 inches long.  Fir and Spruce needles are individually attached to the branch and are only 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long.  Pacocha - Spruce with conesA spruce tree needle will roll easily between your fingers (four sides to each leaf/needle) and is somewhat pointy where a fir needle is more flat (having only two sides) and a bit softer.  All conifers shed their needles and normally do so in the fall.  Since all conifers produce cones, it is another great way to differentiate between the three.  Pine cones are quite woody with a rigid feel.  Spruce cones have thinner and more flexible scales than pine cones (usually growing down – pointing toward the ground).  Pacocha - Manchurian Fir Abies holophyllaMature Fir tree cones grow upward (pointing toward the sky).  Since the bark of all conifer trees vary greatly, it is not a very reliable way to identify an evergreen tree.  Pine tree bark tends to be smooth when the tree is young, but becomes flaky and reddish-brown colored as it ages.  The bark of a Spruce tree is usually rough and becomes furrowed and scaly as it matures.  Fir trees have somewhat smooth bark that is often grayish when young, yet becomes furrowed as it matures.

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Whether you say fall or autumn one thing is for sure…. It’s time to clean the fallen leaves!

Here in northern Illinois it seems that as soon as the summer heat is gone we move quickly into the much needed plant loving cool and rain prone fall season.  After experiencing one of the hottest and driest summer’s on record, fall could not come soon enough.  It continues to amaze me how our plant filled landscapes in particular visually transform from late September through November.  From the beautiful leaves on trees, shrubs and vines changing color to summer stressed lawn’s growing green once again, the fall season is just awesome!  As beautiful as the fall season is there is one part of it that many people despise and cannot avoid……..cleanup of fallen leaves!  When it comes to raking and removing fallen leaves and debris from your property it cannot be stated enough that weekly cleanings are best.  As you know not only do different tree and shrub varieties lose their leaves at different times of the fall season but we also must contend with adverse weather conditions which will routinely delay fall cleanup related work.  We can only expect that ever increasing strong winds, heavy rains and even sleet and snow storms will make any previous delay in cleaning fallen leaves into a huge time consuming nightmare.  Just like shoveling or plowing snow from a sidewalk or driveway, it is best to clear the leaves from your property as they fall (a little at a time) instead of waiting for some future date when every leaf will have fallen from every nearby tree.  Not only will your lawn thrive if leaves are not left to smother it from above, but your neighbors will truly appreciate your hard work if fallen leaves and debris are not left to blow onto adjacent properties or are allowed to clog shared storm drains.  If you need help cleaning your leaves this fall season please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for prompt and professional service.

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