Forest and Shade Trees of Iowa
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Iowa Press
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We are especially thankful for the inspirational work of the late botanist and artist Anna Gardner. Her pioneering use of digital scanning to capture tree characteristics in intimate detail helped thousands of dendrology students become better biologists and provided the basic plan for the plates in this book. Many of Anna’s original, beautifully informative scanned images are included...
About the Photographs
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Trees provide endless fascination as photographic subjects. The form, color, texture, and intricate patterns of their leaves, flowers, fruits, branches, and trunks lend themselves well to artistic expression as well as relevance to species identification and ecological function. The images in this book were captured in several ways...
Introduction to the Third Edition
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This book is a guide to Iowa’s trees, both native and introduced. Readers of our first two editions will find this one looks much different, with color photos and the information organized in a new way. There are two main parts, dealing separately with tree identification and the natural history and uses of trees. Following these are shorter chapters describing the planting and care of...
Part 1: Identifying Iowa’s Trees
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One way is to compare your tree with the photos in this book, checking page by page until you find a match. To make your search easier, we have arranged the trees in groups based upon similarities in leaves. To get started, go to page 57 and select the appropriate group. When you think you’ve found the right species, be sure to read the entire description on that page. Verify that...
Summer Keys to Iowa’s Trees
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The following key includes all trees native to Iowa, except for a few uncommon species of hawthorns, and those introduced trees important in landscaping and conservation. Large native and naturalized shrubs that might be mistaken for tree saplings have also been included. When a genus has only one or two species in Iowa, those species are included in the main body of the...
Winter Keys to Iowa’s Trees
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The following key identifies most species you are likely to encounter in Iowa. Hawthorns, dogwoods, apples, most crabapples and pears, lilacs, and lindens (basswoods) are not keyed to species because accurate identification requires leaves, fruits, and in some cases flowers. Several large native shrubs that are common in the woodland understory and might be mistaken for tree...
Descriptions of Tree Species
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One species is illustrated and described on each set of facing pages. Illustrations include leaves, buds, winter twigs, flowers, fruits, and, where it is especially distinctive, bark. The text includes a description of the species, notes on how to distinguish it from similar trees, and a description of its geographical distribution in Iowa. Also included are references to part 2, where there...
Part 2: The Natural History and Uses of Iowa’s Trees
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Trees that have needlelike leaves and regular whorls of branches, with the trunk running straight and unforked to the top of the crown, are often called evergreens, although some lose their leaves in autumn and are not really “ever green.” Because these trees produce their pollen and seeds in cones, botanists prefer to call them conifers, which is Latin for “cone-bearing.” Both the...
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Flowering trees, a much larger group than the conifers, account for most of the tree species native to Iowa. These trees provide shade for our homes, fuel for our fireplaces, lumber for our furniture, and much of our locally grown fruit. Their colorful blossoms liven the landscape in spring, and their turning leaves are much admired in autumn...
Promising Trees for Iowa
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Native species should always be the backbone of a community forest, but there are trees from other parts of the world that grow well here and add variety to our landscapes. A few of these, such as the blue spruce and Norway maple, have been so widely planted that they are perhaps too familiar. Others, such as the Austrian and Scots pines, were much planted in the past but have...
Part 3: Growing Trees in Iowa
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The recommendations in this section can serve as a general guide, but be sure to consult those who are experienced in your locale. Arborists, nurseries, garden centers, Trees Forever, the Iowa Cooperative Extension Service, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources can all be helpful...
Part 4: Iowa’s Forests
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Everywhere you go in Iowa, the climate is moist enough to support forest. If you abandon any tract of land today, it will eventually be covered with young trees. Why then was most of Iowa covered with prairie when European Americans arrived? To find the answer, we must go far back in history to a time when natural forces, rather than people, shaped the land...
Part 5: Good Places to See Trees in Iowa
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Where can you go to see a variety of trees, something more than the common species that line our streets and shade our houses? Arboretums and botanical gardens are especially good places to visit because their collections are diverse and the trees are usually labeled. Other good places are state and local parks, college campuses, and even cemeteries. Following are a few sites...
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Publication Year: 2011