For previous, click–> Audubon Walk Part I
A Farm Across the Goldenrod Field. If you are familiar with Audubon, imagine standing near Bob’s Garden (the Herb and Butterfly Garden) and being able to look across a vast goldenrod field to see the farmhouse near the picnic pavilion. Bruce tells us that’s how it was in the early 1970s when Audubon first acquired the property.
A few things were done to break up this huge Old Field and provide different kinds of wildlife habitat.
Red Pines. First, three small stands of Red Pine were planted to provide a little height and attract something other than Red-winged Blackbirds. Red Pine (Pinus resinosa), while native to some parts of New York State, is not native to our regions. When you find Red Pines in our area, they are usually planted too close together and in straight rows.
The first stand of Red Pines is just past the Herb and Butterfly Garden on the left (south) side of the Univeral Trail. There are benches and chunks of an old tree trunk. The kids love to play in here and turn over the “stumps” to find earthworms and sowbugs. To find the second, don’t continue on the Universal Trail when it turns right… instead go straight onto Maple West Trail and look to the right (north) of the trail. The third one is a bit further on – take a right at the Maple to the connector trail. The stand will be on your left – the west side of the trail.
The Big Red Pine Forest over near Spatterdock Pond was already there when Audubon acquired the property. (Another source told us that planting was a 4-H project years ago.)
A Lone Douglas Fir: Back between the first and second Red Pine stand there is a single Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) standing at the edge of the mowed area where we keep a couple of Bluebird boxes. Bruce told us that it is the lone survivor of a planting of 15 or 16 Douglas Firs – planted at about the same time as the Red Pines and for the same reasons. The rest of the trees in this planting became deer food. This one somehow managed to survive despite deer browsing, but is not a stellar example of a Douglas Fir. Instead of standing as a single tall trunk, this one has multiple trunks – and a very distinct browse line!
Douglas Firs have very distinctive cones, and the needles smell pleasantly citrusy when you break them. Douglas Firs are native to North America, but to our region. In fact, in most of the sources I checked, Douglas Fir is shown as strictly a western tree. Only the USDA Plant Database shows supposedly native populations east of the Rockies.
Norway Spruce: If you could fly above the sanctuary near Riverside Road, you would see a long S-shaped stand of Norway Spruce (Picea abies). Bruce remembers planting that row under the direction of Ted Grisez who wanted it for two reasons: (1) to screen the view of the farmhouse, and (2) to provide a backdrop for the Arboretum. Norway Spruce, native to Europe, have naturalized in north central U.S. and adjacent Canada. In other areas where you find them, they are probably planted. Look for dramatically drooping branches (all the better to shed snow, my dear) and long cones with stiff scales.
Red Pine – US Forest Service
Red Pine – Flora of North America
Douglas Fir – US Forest Service
Douglas Fir – Flora of North America
Douglas Fir – USDA Plant Database
Norway Spruce – USDA Plant Database
Norway Spruce – Flora of North America
Click for next –> Audubon Walk Part III