Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oak of woodland and savanna

The area I live in was once dominated by oak woodland and savannas surrounding large wetlands, an ecosystem maintained by fire. Today many wetlands have been drained and the fires are suppressed. Large oak woods have been cut down and burned for development. Still remnants of great oaks persist and are never more prominent than in Fall color.

White, Bur, Red and Northern Pin Oak giants are slowing being lost to the ravages of old age and neglect. These are replaced by many varieties of maple and exotic ornamental trees in residential and commercial lawnscapes. These are easy to care for, lacking the large persistent leaves and acorns of oaks. Their scale works in small lots unlike the parkland often required for towering oaks.

Many of our eastern broadleaf forest oaks are slow growing reaching great age. They transcend our small lives outliving many generations.  They average two to three hundred years old, some living to four hundred and fifty years or more. A Bur Oak can be one hundred and thirty feet tall and as many wide. These trees require respect!

Oak wood in late morning sun.

Towering oak, wider than tall, in parkland.

Premier North American hardwood.
Majestic stand in morning light.

Basking in late afternoon sun.

Proud to be a tree hugger!