Arbor Bio
The official newsletter of TREE, Inc.
The Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc.
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Volume 22, No. 2,  April 2004
Written by William Moriaty, president of TREE
Repopulation of the Tulip Poplar in Central Florida

In 1991, T.R.E.E. inc. determined that in addition to reforesting the Tampa Bay region, it would attempt to use varieties of native trees whose northernmost and southernmost natural ranges include this area.

This determination was predicated on the belief that diversity is crucial to the good health and long term sustainability of the forest, and that with the rate of human development, these varieties of trees could become lost forever in this area as they are not commonly planted, available in local nurseries or even recognized or appreciated by most local residents.

The following four species were selected for this initiative:

Southernmost Outpost Trees:
Sand Post Oak (Quercus margaretta)
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Northernmost Outpost Tree:
Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba)

The first plantings in this program were in February 1991 and consisted of the installation of Tulip Poplar seedlings in 1-gallon containers grown from seed of Gainesville, Florida specimens. These were planted at the McKethan Lake Recreation Area of the Withlacoochee State Forest north of Brooksville, Florida, which contains what is considered to be the southernmost naturally occurring representatives of that species in West Central Florida (although Dr. David W. Hall credits Pasco County with that honor).

In November 1992 two 3-gallon Tulip Poplars were installed at the southeastern shoreline of the primary wading spring (not the actual springhead of Rock Creek Run itself) at Howard A. Kelly Park north of Apopka, Florida in Orange County. This park has numerous naturally occurring Tulip Poplars exceeding 100’ in height dotted throughout the woods south of Rock Springs Run. The two 3-gallon specimens that T.R.E.E. Inc. donated now stand at approximately 40’ and 25’ in height respectively and are easily seen from the primary wading spring.

By 1995 T.R.E.E. inc. was using bare root seedlings of Tulip Poplar grown by Superior Trees nursery of Lee, Florida. This made planting of the species much more affordable and dramatically added in numbers those being placed back into the environment. There was only one major drawback that did not set well with me in using these bare root seedlings in several instances however. The seed of these trees was gathered in Covington County, Alabama and a parish in Louisiana. In other words, none of the seed sources were from Central Florida.

Finally in February 2000, I gathered seed from specimens naturally occurring along the Wekiva River basin in Orange County, Florida, and the success with these locally derived seedlings has been both dramatic and fulfilling. The next article will discuss the procurement and reintroduction of Tulip Poplar collected from Central Florida specimens more in-depth.

Procurement of the remaining three species has been more daunting. It seems that practically every year that we ordered Sand Post Oak and Sassafras from Superior trees, there was either a crop failure or deer were browsing on them!

I did manage to get a hold of three 3-gallon Gumbo Limbo through a landscape contractor that I know who had to get them from a nursery down in Homestead, Florida! Although this tree can be found at shell middens along the southern shores of Tampa Bay, their local nursery availability is virtually non-existent, just like their chances are of surviving freezing temperatures north of St. Petersburg and Ruskin. Therefore, the three specimens were planted in December 2003 along the Pinellas County, Florida portion of the Sunshine Skyway causeway (I-275/U.S. Hwy 19).

In addition to the planting of our staples such as Slash Pine, Baldcypress, Sweetgum and Pignut Hickory, T.R.E.E. inc. remains dedicated to the continued planting of both outpost trees and, in association with the Hillsborough County Resource Management Team, underutilized native trees, at its ELAPP sites.

Tulip PoplarTulip Poplar
Tulip Poplars native to East Central Florida have a much less lobed leaf that is more square and rounded at the margins than their more northern counterparts. In addition they have red petioles, a reddish immature leaf and a thicker calyx. Note the difference in this photo and that of the more northern populations shown in the photo at the Floridata web site.

The Lake Howell Chain of Lakes Tulip Poplar Planting Initiative

The Orange and Seminole Counties Chain of Lakes: The Slow Journey to the St. Johns River
The chain of lakes slated for this initiative by T.R.E.E. inc. starts its life, or headwaters, near the Orlando Science Center located between Princeton Avenue and North Mills Avenue (U.S. 92) in Orlando. Lakes Winyah, Sue and Formosa pop off eastward into Lake Rowena where Harry P. Leu Gardens is located. Next, Lake Rowena outfalls into a creek that runs north through Mead Botanical Gardens. That creek empties into Lake Virginia, which is also fed by nearby Lakes Mizell and Berry to its east in Winter Park.

Venetian Canal
Pictured above is one Tulip Poplar sapling planted by T.R.E.E. Inc. in October 2003 alongside the Venetian Canal that connects Lakes Osceola and Maitland.
Lake Virginia, which has Rollins College as its shoreline neighbor, then outfalls into a series of northward flowing seasonally navigable canals joining it to Lakes Osceola and Maitland. Scenic boat tours between these three lakes are available to the public (for more information on this most enjoyable of boating experiences, click here). Lake Maitland's water is then carried yet further northward through a creek known as Howell Branch, past the communities of Winter Park and Maitland, where it then empties into Lake Waumpi and then into Lake Howell. The Chain of Lakes final aquatic journey carries the water of Lake Howell through Seminole County into Lake Jesup. Lake Jesup, which is located north of Winter Springs, then empties into Lake Monroe in Sanford, and finally into the St. Johns River. The St. John's River comprises the riparian system where the southernmost native population of the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) is found. This deciduous tree is capable of attaining over 120' in height, and is a member of the Magnolia family. These southernmost outposts are found in the moist to wet woods of the Wekiva River watershed in Orange and Seminole Counties, and in the Lake Jesup watershed in Seminole County. Eventually the St. John's River, which has its headwaters in the swamps of Indian River County south of Melbourne, winds its way northward past the city of Jacksonville, where it finally empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Lake Maitland
Beautiful Lake Maitland where six Tulip Poplars were planted at its shorelines at the Kraft Azalea Gardens by T.R.E.E. Inc. in September 2002.
Conversely, the headwaters of the Everglades, which flow into Florida Bay south of Miami, start only about ten miles southwest of Winter Park in another chain of lakes that are found in and near the community of Windermere and the Disney resort parks.

October 2001: A Planting Effort Following The Chain of Lakes Begins
Three years ago T.R.E.E. Inc. embarked on a mission to populate this chain of lakes with Tulip Poplars raised from seed of Orange County native specimens. The first five of such trees to the City of Winter Park were planted at Mead Botanical Gardens near the creek that joins Lake Rowena to the south to Lake Virginia to the north. With the approval and assistance of Parks and Recreation Director John Holland and Lee Mackin, the City' s Forester, the trees were planted in October of 2001, and are thriving at that location.

In addition to a donation at Mead's next door neighbor, the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc.) Main office, September 2002's donation of six more trees to the City of Winter Park expanded the program to included Kraft Azalea Gardens. The Gardens is located along the shores of Lake Maitland, which is yet another of the Lake Howell chain of lakes. In September of 2003, the chain of lake range of plantings was expanded further yet through the donation and planting of a specimen at the grounds of the Winter Park's Scenic Boat Tour complex, which is located on the shores of Lake Osceola. A second donation and specimen was next planted along the shoreline of the Venetian Canal that connects Lake Osceola with Lake Maitland.

Flowing With The Future

The future goal of the program is to plant Tulip Poplar at as many locations along the Lake Howell Chain of Lakes as possible, and eventually expand the program to include the Wekiva River watershed. The Lake Howell Chain of Lakes Initiative would include additional plantings at Kraft Azalea Gardens adjacent to Lake Maitland, as well as possible upstream plantings at Lakes Winyah, Sue, Formosa and Rowena to the south, and Howell Branch Creek to the north.

Chain of Lake Donations

October 2001:

Qty. 5: Mead Botanical Gardens, Winter Park, Florida. Dedicated to the citizens of Winter Park and the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Qty. 5: Howard A. Kelly Park, Apopka, Florida. Dedicated in honor of Susan Hughes and the Lebrun family, Denis, Michelle, Devin, Courtney and Mariah.
*Qty. 2: Al Lopez Park, Tampa, Florida. Dedicated in honor of the citizens of Tampa and Dedicated in the Memory of Betty Thomas.

September 2002:

Qty 5: Howard A. Kelly Park, Apopka, Florida: Dedicated in honor of the citizens of Orange County, Florida, to Park Superintendent Mike Kempton, and the staff of Howard A. Kelly Park.
Qty. 1: Florida Federation of Garden Club Headquarters, Winter Park, Florida: Dedicated by the F.F.G.C. as a “Freedom Tree”.
Qty. 5: Mead Botanical Gardens, Winter Park, Florida. Dedicated to the City of Winter Park Parks and Recreation Dept. staff.
Qty. 5: Kraft Azalea Gardens, Winter Park, Florida. Dedicated to the City of Winter Park Parks and Recreation Dept. Director John Holland, Winter Park Parks and Recreation Dept. Forester Lee Mackin.

September 2003

*Qty. 2: Purity Springs Park, Tampa, Florida: Dedicated in honor of Ross J. Ferlita, former director of the City of Tampa Parks Department.
Qty. 1: Scenic Boat Tour grounds, Winter Park, Florida. Dedicated to the Scenic Boat Tours staff.
Qty. 1: Venetian Canal, Winter Park, Florida.
*Qty. 1: Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, Florida. Dedicated in honor of T.R.E.E. Inc. Vice President and Lowry Park Zoo Chief Horticulturist Bob Scheible.
*Although not a part of the Chain of Lakes Initiative, these trees were grown from Orange County, Florida specimens.

Projects Pending
Work has begun on a landscape plan for T.R.E.E. Inc. Beautification Project #176-04 for the planting of 400 3-gallon Slash Pines, 100 3-gallon Baldcypress and 100 3-gallon Sweetgum along the retention pond located at the southwest corner of the interchange of the Veterans Expressway and Hutchinson Road. Once approved by the Florida Turnpike Enterprise, the project will need volunteers to install the trees during the months of October or November 2004. This project was made in large part possible through a generous donation by the Revello Medical Centers

Welcome New Member
Revello Medical Centers, Tampa. LIFETIME

T.R.E.E. Inc. Board of Directors
President and Treasurer: William Moriaty
Vice President; Bob Scheible
Secretary: Rick Strickland

Lifetime Members William Moriaty (Founder)
Bob Scheible (Founder)
Greg Van Stavern (Founder)
Greg Howe (Founder)
Sheryl Bowman
Debbie Butts
Dade City Garden Club
Alice Earle (deceased)
Dr. Sylvia Earle
Harvey A. Hunt, P.E.
William Jonson
Brightman Logan
Revello Medical Centers
Rick Strickland
Barbara Waddell (deceased)
Dr. Richard Wunderlin
Richard A. Bailey (Honorary)
John L. Blechschmidt Jr. (Honorary)
Nancy Buckley (Honorary)
Bob Der (Honorary)
Kathy Howe (Honorary)
Gary L. Henry, R.L.A. (Honorary)

T.R.E.E. Inc. Plants Trees!

"Arbor Bio" is ©2004 by William Moriaty.  TREE, Inc. logo is a design by William Moriaty, enhanced for the website by Nolan B. Canova.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Arbor Bio are ©2004 by William Moriaty.

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