Our One Year Pond Study Week 18: Summer Tree Study

Welcome to week 18 of our one year pond study.  For the rest of the posts in this series please see here.

Our pond on a glorious summer's day
Our pond on a glorious summer’s day

This week we concentrated on our chosen tree – the Ash.  Much had changed since our spring study.   If you look back you will see the Ash tree had flowers before it grew leaves.  The flowers are now gone, to be replaced by a huge number of leaves.

Here is the tree and the flower in the Spring:

There it is, our Ash tree in all it's gloryAnd a close up.  The flowers have no petals, but will form into bunches of winged fruits, which are green at first and then turn brown

And here is the tree and it’s leaves in the summer:

DSC_0628DSC_0531

It is these leaves we decided to take a closer look at this week.  We used our Apologia Botany book and the Junior Nature Guide to Trees to find out some more:

A really good book

We brought home a small twig which contained the clusters of Ash leaves.  On inspection the first thing we noticed was the new growth that occurred on the branch wherever there were leaves:

On the right you can see last year's growth, whereas on the left, where the leaves are growing is the new growth, seen by the lighter branch colour.
On the right you can see last year’s growth, whereas on the left, where the leaves are growing is the new growth, seen by the lighter branch colour.

And that wasn’t all we noticed:

It's not such a good photo, but the children noticed that each leaf grew out of a smooth, black bud
It’s not such a good photo, but the children noticed that each leaf grew out of a smooth, black bud, very similar to the ones the flowers had come out of on the fruit.

We, tentatively came to the conclusion that the flowers, which unusually preceded the leaves, actually formed the beginnings of the leaves.  And this is why they had to come first.  I couldn’t find any information which either confirmed or denied our postulations.  No matter.  They sounded good to us!

We then took a closer look at the actual leaves/leaflets and using the Apologia Botany book we were able to accurately describe those belonging to the Ash tree.  I did this exercise with the children because I wanted them to have some concrete vocabulary words to use to describe their tree, and I thought it would help them to distinguish it from, say, the Elder tree, which has similar leaves:

The children doing some leaf examination before bed time.
The children doing some leaf examination before bed time.
The children described the leaves as containing, on average 8 pairs of compound shaped leaflets.  The leaflet pairs were opposite, pinnate, lanceolate, with a serrated margin
The children described the leaves as containing, on average 8 pairs of compound shaped leaflets. The leaflet pairs were opposite, pinnate, lanceolate, with a serrated margin

Having read up in advance about the Ash tree, it seems we made a good choice for our first tree study.  It has flowers in the spring, leaves in the summer and fruit in the Autumn and loses everything in the winter.   We’re looking forward to our Autumn tree study very much!

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11 comments

      1. omgoodness hunny!!! i lost you! somehow i havent been following you anymore. i actually thought you blocked me! weird! i havent been able to see any of your posts or anything….searched you up on google on laptop and i had not been following you somehow! thank God you’re still here and I am soo happy to see you again and follow up with your posts as per past xox

  1. Such a great way to inspire children to investigate and produce their findings, another great study post. Thanks for coming over and sharing with Country Kids.

  2. This is such an interesting project for the children, really nice! I would love to do this as mine get a little older

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