University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Test your knowledge of trees, and
perhaps learn some good choices and proper practices, with the
questions. These and many more questions
on all aspects of gardening, along with in-depth answers, can be found
recent book by University of Vermont professor emeritus Dr. Norman
Which of the following are native to
the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada: Norway spruce,
boxelder, balsam fir, green ash, eastern white pine, hophornbeam,
linden? The answer is all except the
Norway spruce and the linden. The former
may seem obvious, even though this European native has been widely
here. The oldest known remains of the
Norway spruce, found in Sweden in 2008, date back 9500 years.
linden is another European native, found
extensively along streets in many cities here.
Which trees of the following are
most tolerant of wet soils: sugar maple, Colorado spruce, weeping
eastern larch? The willow and larch
"tolerate" wet soils, but won't tolerate those that stay wet
continually. An ideal site is along a
pond, a wetland area, or one that may puddle during a heavy rain but
What is a "deciduous"
tree? This is one that loses it leaves
each fall with the onset of shorter days and cooler temperatures.
These conditions result in the chemical
breakdown of a layer of cells (called an "abcission" layer) at the
base of the leaf-stem (called "petiole"), causing the leaves to fall
Some shrubs, and more often trees,
are found in nurseries with a ball of soil wrapped in burlap
the roots. These are called "balled and
burlapped" or for short "B and B". What is the proper planting
depth for a B and B tree or shrub? Plant
these with the top of the root ball level with the soil surface.
is very important, and a main reason for
eventual loss of new plantings when planted too deeply. Dig the
only as deep as the height
of the root ball.
Can you think of the name of a tree
with the name of a domestic animal? How
about of a flavor? A country? A state?
A color? Dogwood and pussy willow
are a couple choices for the animal name.
For a flavor, sourwood is an example.
For a country, you've seen Norway spruce above, but Chinese chestnut
works too. Ohio buckeye and Colorado
spruce are a couple with state names.
Several trees have "colorful" names including blackgum, yellow
birch, and yellowwood.
I love the word jumbles in the book
by Dr. Pellett. Can you figure the name
of the tree, rearranging the letters "hibrc" and
"ocrhyki"? The first you just
saw above--birch-- and the other is hickory.
When does most root growth occur in
native trees and shrubs in the United States and Canada, and why is
important? Most root growth is in late
spring to early summer, then again in fall.
These are the best times to plant, as roots are growing and will
establish most quickly then. Non-native
plants from more southerly regions may have most root growth in summer,
planting at the same times is best as it avoids the drying summer heat.
Of the following, which are most
tolerant of deicing salt so best near roads that are heavily salted:
black locust, Canadian hemlock, eastern white pine, and
Black locust and honeylocust are quite
resistant. Many evergreens may be
injured by "flying salt" sprayed from plows and cars as they drive
If you were to cut off the following
10-year old trees at the ground level, which would usually grow new
survive: pine, willow, maple, tuliptree, or spruce? The willow,
and tuliptree are correct. In fact, if they're healthy, most
woody plants will regrow after their stems or trunks are damaged.
While evergreens generally don't regrow, some
members of the cedar family such as falsecypress may regrow but slowly
Some trees start dripping sap, often
called "bleeding", when pruned in the spring. Is this a problem,
how can it be
avoided? Some trees such as maples,
birches, hophornbeam, musclewood, walnut, butternut, and yellowwood
early spring if injured or pruned. The
pressure of the sap rising in the trunk and stems causes it to escape
wounds. This is basically the principle
of tapping maples in spring for their sugary sap. Since the sap
contains sugars the plant
needs, as well as water, heavy pruning can be detrimental. A
amount of pruning is probably of
more concern to the gardeners than to the tree.
Look for the Gardener's Quiz Book
in bookstores, online, or from the Vermont Master Gardener program