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I'd really like some help identifying the particular species of these saplings.... I have my hunches but would love someone to provide an independent ID for me - thank you! Dave
they are all Cherry tree saplings. I can just make out the extrafloral nectaries, also known as petiole glands, at the base of the leaf blade just were the leaf stalk starts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cherry_petiole_glands.JPG
These structures are raised red bumps usually with a visible pit in the middle, the tree secrets nectar from them to encourage ants to protect them from aphids especially when the leaves are young. http://abugblog.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/ants-helping-plants-extrafloral.html
They are most probably saplings of Prunus avium but could be Prunus padus - they are easily distinguished in flower but less easy from leaves alone.
Hope that helps somewhat...
Thanks Jen! That's fantastic. Best wishes, Dave