The name of our complex Oak Hill celebrates the trees that
grow here and were mercifully spared when the condominium was first
built. They are the glory of our home. Fortunately our woods
has multiple species of trees and is not a monculture often seen when
trees are grown for lumber. Since we know this area was farmed at one time, the forest is at
least secondary growth. We enjoy the trees and we must be good stewards. Help
protect the Oak Hill trees. To read about the threats to our trees
This page discusses
the tree species that are most common at Oak Hill and in Roby Park.
You may notice lacy patches growing on rocks and on older trees.
These are lichens and consist of a fungus and a green algae in a
mutually beneficial relationship. The fungus benefits from
the food produced by the green algae and the algae benefits from
the substrate provided by the fungus. Scientists call this
a symbiotic relationship.
Lichens are normal and do not
indicate that anything is wrong with the tree nor do they harm
the tree. Acids produced by lichens help to break down
rocks into soil.
In some cases multiple
lichens grow together and cover most of the tree trunk. This
does not mean the tree is dying.
In our New Hampshire climate the broad leaved trees that shed their leaves in the fall and remain bare until spring
when they grown new leaves are called deciduous trees.
There are good numbers of Oak Trees on the campus and in Roby Park.
The good news is that the Asian Longhorn Beetle does not like Oak Trees.
Black Oak has notched leaves
with sharp points at the end of each lobe.
The White Oak has lobed
leaves, but the ends of the lobes are rounded rather than having
There are good numbers of Pignut Hickory Trees on the property.
The hickory tree has a compound leaf with 5-7 leaflets. To
determine that a leaf is compound with leaflets, look at those that have
fallen from the tree. A leaf falls. If it is a
compound leaf you will see a stem with smaller leaves attached. In
some seasons the Pignut Hickory trees produce abundant crops of nuts to
delight the squirrels. Hickory trees do not seem to host the Asian
Longhorn Beetle which means they will be very valuable to Oak Hill if
the infestation near Worcester makes it to Nashua.
Compound leaf of Pignut
Hickory. This leaf has 7 leaflets, one of which is at the
end of stem or terminal leaflet.
Seedlings of the Pignut Hickory have 3
leaflets making them resemble Poison Ivy which also has 3
Pignut Hickory nut.
The maples are the primary trees that give us the fall foliage.
They have simple leaves, and seeds with wings. Sugar Maples are
one specie of maple tree at Oak Hill. We also have Red Maple.
the Asian Longhorn Beetle reaches Nashua, we will lose all the Maple
The star of the eastern
fall foliage season, the Sugar Maple blazes with red, gold, and orange
in the fall.
The Sugar Maple has leaves
6" long with 5 lobes. There is deep notch between the
terminal lobe and the second lobes.
The seeds of the Sugar
Maple are paired winged that make an acute angle or nearly
parallel. Seeds are produced in late summer.
You can see some seeds on the tree to the
Big Tooth Aspen
Grows near Building #3 and
along the path to Bay Ridge. Bark is darker than that of
the Quaking Aspin. Leaf more oval with blunt teeth along
the margin. Grows in New England, south to Kentucky and
Virginia and west to Minnesota.
Big Tooth Aspen
Small to medium size tree.
Bark white to yellowish white or light green, with black warty
spots. Leaves are heart shaped and have pointed teeth
along the margins and long, flattened leafstalks that lets them
flutter and rustle in a breeze giving the tree its name.
Most stems originate as
root suckers that form extensive clones of trees. One
clone in the Wasatch Range covers about 107 acres.
Landscapers spraying herbicides take note.
Found around Building #3
and along the path to Bay Ridge. Widely distributed in North
America although usually associated with the Rocky Mountains.
I have found this
small tree growing on the edge of the woods in several
places. The Hophornbeam is
very resistant to wind and lives in the understory of the
The light green
clusters are the fruits which contain the seeds which will
ripen in late summer. This tree was photographed on
June 28, 2011.
Despite the odd name, this is a lovely little tree.
Staghorn Sumac Tree
growing along Oak Hill Lane
Conifers have needle-like or
scale-like leaves that they do not shed all at one time in the fall.
They stay green all winter. Conifers certainly do shed their leaves as
evidenced by the piles of pine needles on the ground. Pine needles also
called pine straw make good mulch. If only we could persuade Oak Hill to
stop buying bark mulch and use the free pine straw.
There are three Red Pines that were probably planted on either side of
the board fence across from Building #1 and across the street at the end
of the parking lot. Red Pines have 2 needles to a bundles and
shorter, fatter cones.
Most of the pine trees at
Oak Hill are White Pines and the White Pine is widespread in Roby Park.
The White Pine is the tallest growing tree in the eastern US reaching as
high as 207'. Of course it can't complete with the really tall tree like
the Sequoia out west.
The White Pine is the only pine that regularly has 5 needles to a
bundle. The pine cone is long and thin. Some of the White Pines
were planted when the
complex was built or shortly after. You can always recognize that
trees were planted when you see a line of trees of the same species.
Nature does not organize into straight lines. It
is also probable that White Pines were planted in the Roby Park and on
Oak Hill after the area was logged. The good news about
White Pines is that they will not host the Asian Longhorn Beetle.
White Pines have five
needles to a bundle. The cones are long and thin. and open
During the ice storm of
December 2008, upper branches of the White Pines fell.
This branch has small tightly closed cones which will mature the
In late May, the White Pine
candles produce the yellow pollen which coats cars and makes
some people sneeze. Usually a good rain washes away the
The ever green trees with the feathery needles are Eastern Hemlock.
A few are found on our campus. Many more are in the Roby Park
The Eastern Hemlock has lacy
green branches, Above right the under side of each needle has
two white lines. The cone is short and held above the
branch. (Better picture coming.)
War Against Tree
Seedling in the "Shrub Beds"
This summer I became aware of the landscaper's war
against tree seedlings growing in what he calls the "Shrub Beds".
The Shrub Beds are the beds of bark mulch under the trees in several
areas starting at the front gate and working up the hill. The only
purpose I can see for this bark mulch is that when it is first spread
out it has a red color which is somewhat attractive. By July the
color has faded to brown.
The Oak Hill squirrels love the bark mulch beds because
it is easy digging and in fall they dig holes to bury acorns and hickory
nuts. Then the next summer, when there are no acorns on the trees,
the squirrels come back and dig up the acorns. You will notice
many empty holes in the bark mulch. Each year some of these acorns
sprout into small Oak and Hickory Seedlings. So we have little
green tree seedlings in our "Shrub Beds". The landscaper considers
these green seedling to be weeds. Every other week when you see
the yellow signs, he is spraying Round-up on these little tree seedling.
In a day or two the green seedling becomes a dead brown seedling.
What is the gain here?
This is shot
of a "Shrub Bed" with a green Oak Seedling at the top right
and two dead brown seedlings on the left.
These seedlings will probably not
survive even without Round-up as the squirrels will continue
to dig them up even after they have sprouted. If you
pull up a seedling you will see part of the acorn is still
If they survive the squirrels, the
seedling will probably not be able to compete with fully
grown trees for light, water, and minerals.
If these seedlings are a big
problem, why not bend over and pull them out. We don't
need chemicals here.
How much do you think this is