Dendrology Tour: Bloomington, IN

Trees, trees, trees!

Dendrology Tour: Bloomington, IN

Bloomington, Indiana 47401, United States

Created By: Unity College

Tour Information

Most of Indiana has a temperate climate and goes through all four seasons, and Bloomington is no exception. There is some range in soil types throughout the city, but most forests that grow here are temperate deciduous. This is due to the mild winters, lush springs with moderate precipitation, dry, humid summers, and warm but short fall seasons that Bloomington experiences each year. While there are several native species, many species have been introduced here, whether for ornamental purposes, as shade and street trees, accidentally, or otherwise. For example, most conifers growing in Bloomington were introduced for commercial purposes and spread afterwards through seed dispersal.

There are three main locations on this tour: the Indiana University (IU) Arboretum, a large patch of woods near a neighborhood dubbed "the Park Ridge East forest," and along the North Fork Salt Creek.

The trees located in the arboretum are easily accessible: you can park in one of the various parking lots near the site, and there are walking trails that lead to most of the trees.

The unofficial entrance to the Park Ridge East forest is at the end of East Sheffield Drive: there is a path leading through the underbrush at the dead end into the forest itself. Walking trails extend throughout the forest so most of the trees there are also easily accessible, although a few are off the trails and you have to walk by some thorns to get to them.

There are pulloffs near North Fork Salt Creek by which to access the trees there, but there are no trails by which to get to them. A couple of the trees border the edge of a soybean field, so you have to circumnavigate the field if it's growing season. To get to the last species on the tour, you have to go to a pulloff right across the highway (or cross the two lanes by foot) and walk through some tall grasses, but it's not too difficult to get through.

I would recommend wearing comfortable closed-toed shoes and pants that are somewhat thick (jeans will do) for this outing. I'd also advise bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated; trust me, you will want one. On this tour, there will be lots of walking about and a little bit of travelling off the beaten path! Warning: this is likely to lead to plenty of wandering around, as there are many other species of trees to see at and in between these three locations.

Species on this tour: American basswood, American sycamore, bald cypress, bigtooth aspen, black ash, black cherry, black locust, black oak, boxelder, Bradford pear, common hackberry, dawn redwood, Eastern redbud, English oak, persimmon, red pine, shagbark hickory, silver maple, sugar maple, sweetgum

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Celtis occidentalis Common hackberries tend to grow in river valleys and woodlands, and on slopes and bluffs.  You will find this tree next to a parking lot at the edge of the IU Arboretum.  This particular common hackberry stood out to m... Read more
Liquidambar styraciflua Sweetgums tend to grow in habitats ranging from floodplains ans swamps to somewhat dry upland woods.  You will find this sweetgum growing in a patch of grass near the IU Arboretum, outside of the Department of Kine... Read more
Platanus occidentalis Sycamores tend to grow along waterways and in floodplains, wherever they can be near water.  You will find this sycamore hanging onto the bank of a creek bed in the Park Ridge East forest in Bloomington (although t... Read more
Pinus resinosa Red pines tend to grow in areas with sandy soils.  You will find this red pine on the outskirts of the IU Arboretum, growing well even though it is not in sandy soil.  This tree stood out to me because of its mottled, red-t... Read more
Cercis canadensis Eastern redbuds tend to grow in moist soil conditions; they are usually planted ornamentally and are drought tolerant.  You will find a line of Eastern redbuds in the IU Arboretum, along the side of the Department of Kin... Read more
Pyrus calleryana Bardford, or callery, pears, tend to grow in a range of conditions: they can grow in wet soils and full sunshine, but are also drought and shade tolerant.  They are often planted ornamentally and may actually be invasive i... Read more
Metasequoia glyptostroboides Dawn redwoods grow in a variety habitats, but most commonly in shady, moist areas, like along ravines and stream banks.  You will find a couple of dawn redwoods growing in some moist grass in a corner of the I... Read more
Acer saccharum Sugar maples tend to grow in moist forests. You will find this sugar maple in the Park Ridge East forest, growing a short distance from a creek bed.  Sugar maples do not usually stand out to me since they are such a commonpl... Read more
Fraxinus nigra Black ashes tend to grow in cold swamps and bogs.  You will find several black ashes lining this path in the Park Ridge East forest.  These trees stood out to me mainly because of their bark.  I like camouflage-like patt... Read more
Carya ovata Shagbark hickories tend to grow in a wide range of habitats, from fertile uplands to river bottoms.  You will find this shagbark hickory growing on the bank of a creek bed in the Park Ridge East forest.  This tree stood out t... Read more
Diospryos virginiana Persimmons tend to grow in a range of habitats, including river valleys, dry uplands, clearings, and roadsides.  You will find this tree near a creek bed in the Park Ridge East forest.  This particular persimmon stood... Read more
Prunus serotina Black cherries tend to grow in several habitats and conditions, excluding extreme wet or dry.  You will find this black cherry in the Park Ridge East forest, in an area with more underbrush than trees.  It is near an old t... Read more
Robinia pseudoacacia Black locusts tend to grow in understory-like conditions, such as fields, thickets, young woods, and roadsides.  You will find this tree a little off the trail in the Park Ridge East forest.  This black locust stood ... Read more
Tilia americana American basswoods tend to grow in moist forests and lowlands.  You will find this tree in the Park Ridge East forest, a little off the trail and up a slight slope.  I like the heart-shaped leaves and sheer height of this ... Read more
Populus grandidentata Bigtooth aspens tend to grow in sandy soils and are often found in stream valleys or on slopes.  You will find a couple of bigtooth aspens a little off the trail and on a slight slope in the Park Ridge East forest.... Read more
Quercus robur English oaks tend to grow in moist, well-drained soils, although they are drought tolerant.  You will find this tree off the trail in the Park Ridge East forest, a little ways down a slope.  This particular English oak is e... Read more
Quercus velutina Black oaks tend to grow in drier areas, like rocky ridges and slopes.  You will find this particular black oak at the top of a hill in the Park Ridge East forest.  I was drawn to this tree due to its sheer size: its trunk... Read more
Acer saccharinum Silver maples tend to grow in floodplains, swamps, and along waterways.  You will find a slew of silver maples lining the bank of North Fork Salt Creek.  These silver maples stood out to me because they were all enormous... Read more
Acer negundo Boxelders tend to grow in a range of habitats, including floodplains, streambanks, and waste places.  You will find this particular boxelder sapling growing by the North Fork Salt Creek streambank, right next to the Kent Road... Read more
Taxodium distichum var. distichum Bald cypresses tend to grow in permanent standing water and are usually found in swamps, creeks, bayous, and bottomland sites that regularly flood.  You will find a grove of bald cypresses near Brummett... Read more


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