Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Oaks Are Having A Moment

Now that leaves have thinned out, the oak trees, which are still fully clothed, are noticeable. Some oaks have rich color in fall, and now they are standing out.

I saw such beautiful oak colors all over town as I drove in to the center the other day. Russets prevailed, but also red and orange and deep mahogany. I don't remember oaks being quite so colorful in past Novembers. This year they are. This season is theirs.

The tree in the picture below was ten inches tall and had a taproot about a foot long that grew sideways and contorted, when I pulled it up out of the woods and planted it here in the meadow behind the hedge of bottlebrush buckeyes. It owned seven leaves that summer.

I didn't really transplant the thing, I simply yanked it out of the ground, breaking off much of the tap root, probably in 2007 I think. I don't even know what kind of oak it is; Quercus is notorious for hybridizing in the wild and making up all kinds of variations of itself.

I then put the broken-rooted seven-leaved seedling into a small hole of inhospitable rocks and mud in the meadow. I gave it no water, never did anything to help it, and look at it now. Nine years later I have an oak, a real tree, and it is clearly having a moment.

I can't tell you how rewarding this is to see.


  1. I love oaks as well. Isn't it strange how they manage to mix and mingle to make new types?

    1. And oaks grow so fast -- at least at first. They are known for being slow growers, but I think that must be later in life. My young ones are quick starters!