Beth Scheckelhoff - Putnam Sentinel
Beth Scheckelhoff, OSU Extension Coordinator (file photo)

PUTNAM COUNTY — Autumn is officially here! Despite the unusually warm temperatures we have experienced lately, the abundance of pumpkins and mums on doorsteps across the county clearly announces the change of season. Trees in our woodlots and landscapes also announce fall’s arrival.

Have you noticed the trees taking on their fall color? In the fall, we can recognize many trees by their leaf color and /or the fruit or nuts that have formed during the growing season. Likewise, in the spring, many trees have unique flowering characteristics that allow us to clearly identify them – think of the blooms on redbuds and flowering crabapple. It can be more difficult to distinguish one type of tree from another in the landscape or from a distance in the summertime – as most all trees have green leaves! Identification usually involves a closer examination of the tree’s form, leaves, bark, and fruit.

Do you know what trees are in your yard or around your farm? Do you know what care they need? What insects or diseases affect them? So many questions! In fact, the majority of questions we receive at the extension office are about trees.

So why do trees matter so much? Aside from their beauty, trees are incredibly important to our lives. Trees are natural air purifiers absorbing harmful compounds and pollutants from the air we breathe. They provide habitat for countless animals and insects in our ecosystems. Trees also limit soil erosion and water run-off into streams and rivers.

Monetarily speaking, trees increase in value as they age. Trees improve the value of our homes and landscapes and reduce energy consumption. They provide shade to keep buildings and homes cooler in the summer and block wind to keep them warmer in the winter. Trees serve as a source of fuel and lumber.

If you would like to know more about the trees found in Putnam County, attend our Tree Identification Workshop on Thursday, October 5 from 8 am until 3 pm. Participants will learn about the trees commonly found in wooded and urban settings through guided walks as well as some of the most important issues and concerns of trees covered throughout the day. The workshop fee is $5 to cover the cost of lunch. Registration deadline is Tuesday, October 3.

To register for the workshop or for other information, please contact the Putnam County Extension office at 419-523-6294, by email at or stop in at 1206 East Second Street in Ottawa. You can also find us on Facebook by searching for OSU Extension Putnam County.