Bur oak with lightning scar and lost crown

Lightning and Trees

Lightning and Trees seem to go together. Many fires in the Western US are started by lightning strikes on trees. Here in the Bluegrass and Nashville Basin, we find fire scars on a very large number of trees. Lightning rarely kills our trees, but it is an important factor in their lives. Lightning-struck trees lose […]

Street Tree

Street tree abuse – Part 1

Street tree abuse is all too common in many cities. Here, a tree was planted to high, leaving its roots exposed on the surface. This would not be a serious problem – it is better to plant too high than too low – if it weren’t for subsequent damage by mowers. Every exposed root of […]

Woodland Pastures

Friday Tree – A Woodland Pasture Quiz

The Woodland Pasture, or Wood Pasture, habitat is one of the rarest landscapes in the world. Here are four, in different places. See if you can identify the location. The person with the best answer will get an 8×10 print of a woodland pasture photograph (Note: we will be sending out pictures to donors and […]

Maps and GIS

Maps and GIS are at the core of our work at Venerable Trees, Inc.  A GIS, or Geographical Information System, “lets us  visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends” (ESRI). The usual way of looking at GIS data is by the creation of a map, but that is far from the […]

Friday Tree picture of leaves

Friday Tree – Signs of Autumn?

This week’s Friday Tree is no mystery – it is the same as last weeks Friday Tree.  Do you know it?  This picture reminds us that, for many trees, autumn may already have begun.  What are you seeing where you live? Are there signs of autumn in the trees around you? Over the next few […]

Friday Tree

Friday Tree

The Friday Tree for this week is either dead easy or very difficult – let’s find out, shall we?  What tree is this?   Place your comments below.


What, if anything, is a species? Part 1

Two trees grow next to each other in a woods in the Bluegrass region of Central Kentucky.  Can you identify them?   Are these two different species or one?  Post your answers in the comments below or on Facebook, then tune in for a discussion of these pictures tomorrow.  Over the next couple of weeks, […]

Old Schoolhouse Tree Update

The Old Schoolhouse Tree on Harrodsburg Road, Lexington, KY, is featured in the Lexington Herald-Leader today. This tree is at the front of a housing development project by Ball Homes, and is under the care of Venerable Trees, Inc., and Big Beaver Tree Care.  The tree has become much more visible since we cleared brush and […]

Friday Tree

Friday Tree May Stump You

The Friday Tree for this week may stump some of you, but it is not really very hard. Give it a try in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. (click for a much larger picture)

Canopy shyness

Canopy shyness

Canopy shyness is the tendency of trees to reduce competition between adjacent trees by maintaining a space between branches. It is easy to see in tropical forest canopies. which tend to be flatter than temperate canopies. Looking up into a tropical forest canopy (in this case a lowland forest in Peninsular Malaysia), you can see […]

Ginkgo tree killed by stem damage

Killing ginkgo trees

Killing ginkgo trees is not easy. The most ancient tree species on earth, it seems to have outlived most of its pests and pathogens.  The main cause of death for urban ginkgo trees is damage from mowers and string trimmers, and soil compaction. A ginkgo in Bell Place Park, in Lexington, KY, is on the […]

Second flush of growth

Tree are Popping

We think of summer as the “growing season” and we are used to our garden plants growing all summer. For most trees, though, growth takes place mostly in the early spring. Most trees in temperate regions produce a single flush of growth – the bud opens, and leaves that were formed the previous year expand […]

Friday Tree - What tree is this?

Friday Tree – The Oak Conundrum

The Friday Tree for this week is an introduction to several articles about oaks coming up next week at Venerable Trees. Oaks form the foundation of the forests of eastern North America. In abundance, size, diversity and usefulness, no other eastern tree comes close. There are fifty oak species in eastern North America, and oaks […]

Soil compaction due to construction vehicles

You had an impact!

A lot of people called the city yesterday about the construction damage at Woodland Park, and the city responded. The city asked the contractor to remove vehicles from the park, and they appear to have done so to a degree. There is still a tracked vehicle parked next to one of the young beech trees. […]

Construction damage in Woodland Park

Construction Damage in Woodland Park, Lexington KY

Woodland Park in Lexington KY is the most important park in the city. Located in the heart of the city, heavily used for swimming, skateboarding, ball games and picnics, it is a tree-covered, shady refuge.  Many of the trees in the park are huge, old trees including some venerable, presettlement trees. But today, the trees […]

water drops on a leaf

Water droplets on leaves

Look at the two leaves below. The oak leaf has flat, rather dull drops. The redbud leaf has round, shiny drops.  If you look around at leaves after a rain, you will see some leaves with round, shiny raindrops like the redbud, while other leaves will have flat drops like the oak, or will shed […]

Friday Tree Followup

This week’s Friday Tree was tricky. Some of you got it, and some of you were very close. The two reasonable guesses were Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa, or desert-willow, Chilopsis linearis. The flowers of both these trees are similar, and they are closely related, but they occupy very different habitats: catalpa is a midwestern tree of […]

Friday Tree

Here is a rather tricky Friday Tree for you. What tree is this? Where does it come from?

Trees in the night

I love taking pictures of urban trees at night. This tree, on the University of Kentucky campus was lit by street lights on a foggy, moonlight night. The orange glow is from the street and building lights illuminating the fog. If you’d like to own this picture, make a donation to Venerable Trees today. (The […]

An old bur oak in a woodland pasture

A magnificent bur oak

A magnificent bur oak growing in a pasture in Woodford County, KY has lessons for us about managing old trees. Our Chief Scout, Jason DeBold, found this tree. The tree is a huge old bur oak that lost its top a long time ago, probably to lightning. Like many old trees, this tree has completely […]

Picture of an ancient woodland pasture

Help conserve ancient trees, get a nice photograph

Venerable Trees, Inc, has a single mission – to conserve ancient trees and woodland pastures for future generations. We are holding a brief fundraiser to provide seed funding for two of our most important projects, Stems for STEM and our mapping program for woodland pastures. As a benefit to our donors, we are offering high-quality […]

Picture of a Friday Tree

Friday Tree Followup

Friday tree followup – Several people got this. Although the bark is unusually pale, this is a common persimmon, Diospyros virginiana.  Persimmon is a common tree in Kentucky and is interesting year-round.  The bark, resembling alligator hide, makes it easy to identify. In late fall, after a few cold nights, the fruit is ripe and […]

Picture of a Friday Tree

Friday Tree

Here is the first Friday Tree. Each week, we will post a picture of a tree and see who knows what it is (on our Facebook page). When you post on the Facebook Page, tell us a little bit about your own experience with the tree. Then, once we have some good choices, we’ll provide […]

Stems for STEM

  Venerable Trees, Inc. and Andrea James, together with other partners soon to be named,  are pleased to announce a new program to involve kids on the North Side of Lexington in nature study and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects. The program is called Stems for STEM.  Lexington parks are home to an […]