Appleton Quarry Basswood

by Neil Carleton   

 When I saw the first greening of spring, I pulled off the road on May 9 for a closer look with my binoculars.  Before there was a berm at the Appleton quarry, it was easy to see this arboreal behemoth off to the right along Highway 29 when heading south just before the big curve.  Nowadays, only the top section of this giant basswood is obvious in the distance.  Each year, from fall onward, I’ve wondered while driving by how many more winters it might survive.

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Before there was a berm at the Appleton quarry on Highway 29, this month’s shady character (left) could easily be seen a field away. Even from a distance in this 2007 photo, the substantial girth of this distinctive basswood is evident.
Many of the large broken limbs were hidden from view by the June foliage when this photo was taken on June 17, 2007.
Many of the large broken limbs were hidden from view by the June foliage when this photo was taken on June 17, 2007.

Basswood 1 Cavanagh Appleton Quarry

Just about six years later, this skeletal view on May 9 reveals the ravages of high winds and ice storms. Permission was obtained from the quarry operators to hop the fence, climb the berm, and hike in to photograph the tree.
Emergent leaves earlier this month marked the beginning of another season.  The cycle of life has been renewed.  The leaves of the American basswood are broadly ovate or rounded, long pointed at the tip, notched at the base, and coarsely saw-toothed on long slender leafstalks.
Emergent leaves earlier this month marked the beginning of another season. The cycle of life has been renewed. The leaves of the American basswood are broadly ovate or rounded, long pointed at the tip, notched at the base, and coarsely saw-toothed on long slender leafstalks.
Although it’s a tree in decline, this significant basswood is capable of surviving for years to come.
Although it’s a tree in decline, this significant basswood is capable of surviving for years to come.

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The American basswood of the Linden family frequently has two or more trunks. This double trunked specimen measured 25’ 5” or 7.7 m in circumference at chest height on May 9.

Thank you to Rob Cretain of Appleton for accompanying me over the fence and berm to measure and admire this month’s tree of renown.

Do you have a notable or favourite tree?  Readers are invited to submit their nominations for an honor roll of trees in our area that could be featured in future articles.  You can contact me at 613-256-2018, <ve3nce@rac.ca>, or Neil Carleton, 3 Argyle Street, P.O. Box 1644, Almonte, Ontario, K0A 1A0.  I look forward to hearing from you.

My volunteer columns started in March 2010, as print features, to support the tree planting and tree awareness initiatives of the Mississippi Mills Beautification Committee.  The contact for the Tree Working Group is Ron Ayling, 613-256-4617.  In Carleton Place, the contact for the Urban Forest / River Corridor Advisory Committee is Jim McCready, 613-257-5853.

 

Until the next column, you’ll find me looking for and hanging out with shady characters.