My children often play a game asking me what my favorite color, or game, or food or whatever, is. I usually answer them and then I ask them: what is your favorite tree? They laugh and respond that they do not have a favorite tree. Well, as an Arborist and a Dendrologist, I do have a favorite tree – actually an entire Genus. I have always had a love for the Oaks (genus Quercus). Interestingly, when the National Arbor Day Foundation ran a campaign to vote for our national tree the oak was chosen over all the others. To me, oaks represent both strength and beauty – and a healthy dose of identification challenges! Here’s a short list to get you thinking.
One mention of concern: Many Oaks can be highly susceptible to Bacterial Leaf Scorch. This is a major threat to our Oak trees. Before you plant Oaks check with your Arborist about this disease.
Shingle oak – Quercus imbricaria Shingle oak is an excellent shade tree for a large area of land. Similar in shape to Pin oak, it can grow in non-acidic soils.
White oak – Quercus alba White Oaks benefit from large planting sites such as estates, parks and other large properties, but can do well on smaller sites with good care. White oak can be difficult to transplant so make your selection from a good source.
Sawtooth oak – Quercus acutissima Sawtooth oak has moderate water requirements and is drought tolerant. It also has moderate tolerance to salt and alkaline soils and likes full sun – what more could you want for a parking lot at the mall?? No wonder this species is showing up a lot in business centers and corporate complexes lately. I recently was attending an outdoor wedding and it was hot. Sure enough, one lone sawtooth oak was everyone’s place to get out of the sun.
If you have a favorite species or genus that you would like information on send me an email or post a comment.