Euclidian Trees: Time to Identify
Euclid’s urban forest is special. Our trees absorb stormwater, sequester carbon and release oxygen. Underlying surfaces are kept cool during the summer. The city is beautified. What can we do for our forest in return?
We can begin by taking stock. I propose Euclidian Trees, a citizen science initiative to explore for distinctive trees and to contribute knowledge about them. As residents, let’s identify individual trees and tree groups that stand out in size, shape, rarity, place in the city, general beauty, history, and personal connections.
Let’s find striking examples of legacy native trees and adaptable newcomers. We need to locate distinctive trees off the beaten path: those nestled in ravines, at abandoned industrial sites, etc. Street and front yard trees are important but of secondary concern here.
Begin with our oldest, hardiest trees. Euclid has had seven documented Moses Cleaveland trees but just three survive in 2020. Moreover, legacy natives such as beech and sugar maple are poorly adapted to urban disturbance and warming climate. Let’s find the best examples before they pass from our midst!
Looking to the newcomers, future tree candidates should be adaptable to a warming climate and be well placed for public visibility and maintenance. Select future tree species can help repopulate our aging woodlands. They can show us how the urban forest will look in coming decades.
Euclidian Trees has a Google My Maps site currently displaying the locations for some 60 legacy trees and a 14 legacy tree groups. The map is based on my personal knowledge. Several areas of the city are unrepresented, and all areas have more notable trees.
Get outside and search (be careful about trespassing). Distinctive trees are best explored in April and early May, before full leaf-out. Best to ID trees as leaves emerge in mid-May. Perhaps you already have a tree guidebook hanging around. More fun—and more accurate—are amazing (and free) tree ID smart phone apps.
The Euclid Shade Tree Commission will report on Euclidian Trees during the annual Pond and Garden Tour planned for July. The most distinctive tree of each species found will be featured. Euclidian Trees results will help direct the City of Euclid’s Urban Forest Management Plan.
To paraphrase naturalist John Bates: Forests, even urban forests, connect us with deep time. Some trees come from two centuries ago. Others will venture two centuries to come. In a forest, we can sense that time takes place. Let’s learn about Euclid’s trees to deepen understanding of our place and how we may treat it better.
Roy Larick grew up in Euclid during the 1960s. He left for 30 years to become an archaeologist and work around the world. Dr. Larick returned home in 2002, bringing an archaeological perspective for comprehending local lands and waters.
In 2009, he founded Bluestone to advocate for small watersheds and landforms in the Cleveland area.
In 2014, Bluestone joined the Central Lake Erie Basin Collaborative, watershed organizations working to restore natural areas and install green stormwater facilities.
In 2017, Bluestsone became a Watershed Partner with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Sewer District resources help get stormwater issues resolved.
In 2020, Dr. Larick became a member of the Euclid Shade Tree Commission.