Though the summer meadows have faded prematurely due to the drought, the Micklefield Green trees managed to stay green, especially those which have roots going deep down into the layers of soil which stay moist. In July and August it is worth looking closely at trees. There are so many differences in their leaf shapes and their overall shape.
20 years of trees
In this little Green at the end of Micklefield Way almost every tree is a different species. It is an interesting collection, planted nearly 20 years ago when Micklefield school closed and the houses were built. Some of the trees have grown well, others have struggled. A few have died and sadly one or two got broken by people or strong winds.
The lily tree which bears tulips
The shapes of the leaves of the trees are very varied. The Tulip Tree is unusual in having leaves with a straight end – most trees have leaves with a pointed tip.
Early settlers to America thought the tulip tree was magnificent and intriguing so they sent seeds home to England in the 1680s. It has been cultivated here ever since. The latin name for the tulip tree is Liriodendron tulipfera which actually means “the lily tree which bears tulips”. I suppose the greeny/yellow flowers do resemble tulips but they are not brightly coloured and can be quite hard to spot high up. Our tree in Micklefield has had flower buds but they did not open this year – it had several flowers last year. Luckily the tree is looking very healthy and that is partly because it has very deep roots.
The Liquidamber tree
Another tree on the Green, near the Kingston Way entrance, is a Liquidamber. It has leaves with 5 lobes – a very different shape from the tulip tree leaves. Liquidamber was also introduced to the UK from the East coast of the US in the 17th century. It is famous for the wonderful colours it shows in the Autumn. Our tree is just beginning to turn colour – one low branch is already deep purply-red.
An early Autumn
Even the several cherry trees in Micklefield Green turn startlingly bright colours in the autumn. They have simple leaves and there is one small group of golden yellow leaves showing already on 1st September.
Look out for the changing colours of trees as we start autumn; the colour changes are starting early this year.
We also found evidence of Autumn arriving at the green near Sandore Road when our botany group went along to complete a plant survey. We found around 50 plant species (including trees/wild flowers and grasses). This included conkers from a horse chestnut tree and a bounty of ripe blackberries! You can read more about this survey and other news on our website.
If you would like to help with future green space observations or plant surveys please do get in touch.
Or check out the “Trees for Seaford” website for more information about trees in the town
Many thanks to Seaford Scene for publishing this article in October