Newly Collected Birch? Beech? Elm?

jeff boler

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Please find the attached .pdf file.

These are pictures taken on 16 Jan 2011, when I collected this tree while roaming around in the brush near my drilling rig... The tree was growing in a low area, probably a dried creek-bed. the soil was predominately sand and gravel, which I also collected and used to make about 50% of the potting soil mix. I didn't have a pot that big, so I cut off the top of a 5-gal water bottle and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage and to wire/ziptie the roots down.

Does anyone have any idea what species this tree might be??... No leaves to go by... The tree was collected in West Texas, just outside of Midland. the only other trees growing in the immediate area are hackberry and mesquite.


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Jeff, Sorry - can't ID your tree. I hope someone will. But I do hope you can keep it alive so it will leaf out alright. The foliage will tell the story. Nice trunk lines. Best of luck with it.
Yes, nice base and trunk line. I take it you live on the southern coast?
I can tell you what it's NOT: birch or beech -- and probably not elm, though you likely would have a few of them escaped into that area of TX. Not mesquite, either. I don't think hackberry bark is that flaky. Is there flowing/standing water nearby?

Maybe Prunus of some kind?
I think it'll live, though I am new to bonsai, my mother and I have always had green thumbs, I managed to save some good surface roots as you can see in the picture, but the tap root was lost... The tree will be hanging out in South Mississippi, as I won't have the means to take care of it while
traveling with work, and I doubt that the tree would appreciate being in Montana one week and on the Mexican Border the next...

I also collected a few Hackberry's and their bark is more bumpy less flaky as one reply indicated...

No water nearby at the present, though the area within a 10' radius of the tree is very low and flat, with a slight 'bank' on 3 sides and a gradual inclination rise on the 4th side. A ring of Hackberry and mesquite outline the 10' radius, leaving a hidden little cove (if you will) with very little vegetation within save a few weeds and 5-6 trees of the same specimen I collected.

Additional details I thought noteworthy of the tree: The wood is very light weight, the roots are black. The buds are not in pairs like a maple, but are zig-zagged. The Tree and it's brothers/sisters seemed rather open and 'airy' when compared to all other vegetation in the area which I would call bushy.

I hope this helps, and I appreciate everyone's speedy response... Thanks for the complement on the tree's trunk... I am very proud of it...
well, it has buds all over it now and it looks like it's going to be a Birch of some sort... Hard to work with from what I've read, or at least different from most deciduous trees.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding this tree??? I agree with a previous reply that it has a great base and trunk, I guess I'm just a little bothered by the fact the tree I dug up is going to be more challenging than what I had anticipated... I have always been pretty successful at gardening attempts, and even had a closet full of grow-lights and marijuana during college. They did great!!! However, my instincts tells me that this birch will be a bit more challenging than any given species of the hemp family and I doubt that there is a profitable, black market for the birch cuttings...
Texas Jeff, Ha!! You're spillin' a whole lot of honesty here. :D Nah, not much market or profitibility in tree cuttings for you. But I'm still quite curious about your Yamadori whatever it is. I hope that as the leaves bud out you will post more pics.

Advice? Just let 'er grow out for a season or two. Keep 'er healthy, see where she wants to go. Then consider bonsai culture and style. How tall did you say this is?

You still in Midland? Gettin' the big freeze?
Eastern hophornbeam fits the rough bark, alternate leaf arrangement, and birch like leaves. It has dense heavy wood though.


from Wikipedia
Ostrya virginiana (American Hophornbeam), is a species of Ostrya native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Manitoba and eastern Wyoming, southeast to northern Florida and southwest to eastern Texas and northeastern Mexico
My first thought when I looked at the picture was hophornbeam but I didn't know if they grew there. Its got a lot of promise in any case.
I'm with Brian on this one now - Cedar Elm (sometimes called Texas Elm) but I'd still like to see foliage.
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I wouldn't be so sure about cedar elm. That species is in East Texas, doesn't go much further west than just beyond Ft. Worth in N. Texas. It is native to wetter climates. Midland/Odessa ain't all that wet.

It MIGHT be an outlier Cedar Elm, but it also could be more than a few other things. Can't tell by the bark alone. Leaves will be the determing factor.
You may live in "Cedarville" NY but it's unlikely that your town was named because of the Cedar elm. They're native in zones 7-9, and in those zones only from Texas to Alabama. That's a long way from zone 4. It could well be whatever elm your town was named for, though -- probably U. americana. You do find young ones here and there, though they seldom live long any more.
No, no. I wasn't comparing Jeff's tree (possibly a Cedar Elm - as Brian had suggested) with the Eastern White Cedars that we have here in central New York. But I have a Cedar Elm which was collected in Texas, and I spent 7 years there a long time ago. It has distinctive 'elm' type foliage. Not like 'cedar' at all. However I did not know the native range of this tree. This thread has been very informative - thanks guys. Hope Jeff checks back in.
I wish that I could show yall some more pictures of this tree and some others I have collected, but the website limits uploads to 19kbs for .pdf files... I have never seen a .pdf file that small...
I was finally able to compress these files for upload...

I'm pretty sure that the tree is an elm of some sort, though that is the only stand of elms that I have encountered... and I have been looking...

I wet back and grabbed two more elms, for a total of three... They are not all the most attractive trees, but the ugly ones have a lot of options avaliable. I have convinced all three trees that it is spring and they are covered in buds.

I was doing a little more exploring and found a chunk of juniper about the size of a soccer ball that was the victim of a bulldozer. It had a roots hanging off one side and no foliage. Now it too is sprouting rather nicely...

Please find the attached files...


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Still not convinced those are cedar elms. I've seen hackberry that dead ringers for cedar elm. Have to see the leaves a little closer to be sure.

In any case, very nice trunk on the first one. Chop it back another half (next year) and you will have a great start...
I do like the idea of chopping #1 back some more - but I would first like to have Jeff pot these up into larger training boxes, though I'm not sure when the best time would be as they have begun to grow now. Wicked pots you have there!!! :p
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