Plant more Oaks

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
What the world needs now...is oaks...sweet oaks...sing it with Jackie DeShannon

Let's see favorite oaks.

I cut out the pictures and added the text from the article. If you hit the pay wall scroll down the thread a ways to see the article.




 

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Mitch Hoy

Well-Known Member
Location
Rochester
55D1E85E-A12F-4B46-9110-A48D9F085EDC.jpeg Not a unique tree in terms of structure, but my favorite tree: The young Bur Oak in my front yard. Here we were doing some climber training last month. We have a bay window beneath the tree, from which I like to “tree-gaze” with my morning coffee on the couch.
 

dspacio

Member
Location
South County
beautiful. I re-potted about 20 oaks from beneath some massive red oaks near me a few years ago after a mast year. They did not take well to it. Most were about ~14" stems, and I got most of the main taproot into the pots. Didn't amend it or anything. May be worth putting them under protection and lights or something.
We always get tons of acorns, red oak, black oak. Make flour sometimes. I keep a stash of them in the car door so to toss them into prime looking locations now and then. Feel kinda like a squirrel sometimes. Long like the quercus.
 

dspacio

Member
Location
South County
My efforts have been fairly haphazard, gotta admit; but I will collect acorns from say, a healthy White Oak (many around Southern New England are dying from some black fungus that grows within, I am no expert but 5 years ago we were taking one down every week) when I feel I am seeing a disease resistant variety. I would love to get more organized sharing acorns with folks. We have a massive source here, living in Oak forests.

[ as a sidenote funny story, I offer my son a flat rate $15 for filling a 5-gallon bucket with acorns by species, $10 for a mixed bucket. they have to be intact, no rot. it's part of my training him for a future in tree work.. and life. "what you're bored? you got a deal on the table buddy." Mainly I am getting him to exercise his brain, discerning a red oak from black oak acorn, assessing for integrity. I probably have another year or two of this before he gets better opportunities... so if you all want acorns, reach out!! ]
 

treesap

Active Member
Location
east TN
probably my favorite tree, a camera cant do it justice, more than once did I have the thought to try and swing across that gap to the other stem, but my tie-in wasnt high enough to even try



Zintree.PNG
according to the guy I was climbing with, this is small, our property is full of trees like this, for reference, I was only about 30ft up in the pic
 

dmonn

Well-Known Member
Location
Mequon
My efforts have been fairly haphazard, gotta admit; but I will collect acorns from say, a healthy White Oak (many around Southern New England are dying from some black fungus that grows within, I am no expert but 5 years ago we were taking one down every week) when I feel I am seeing a disease resistant variety. I would love to get more organized sharing acorns with folks. We have a massive source here, living in Oak forests.

[ as a sidenote funny story, I offer my son a flat rate $15 for filling a 5-gallon bucket with acorns by species, $10 for a mixed bucket. they have to be intact, no rot. it's part of my training him for a future in tree work.. and life. "what you're bored? you got a deal on the table buddy." Mainly I am getting him to exercise his brain, discerning a red oak from black oak acorn, assessing for integrity. I probably have another year or two of this before he gets better opportunities... so if you all want acorns, reach out!! ]
I love roasted acorns from white or burr oaks. I've turned some into flour in the past and used it in pancakes. It adds a great flavor that goes well with maple syrup. I'm now into making sourdough bread and would love to try some in my bread, but don't have a good source. I'm interested in buying from you if you have some that you stored over winter.
 

dspacio

Member
Location
South County
I do have a decent batch. The Red Oak acorns seem to be more "fluffy". I haven't tried cooking with the Black Oak acorns yet, we get less of them so I mainly disperse those. I usually make muffins, mix them with regular and buckwheat flour. Awesome flavor. gotta try em in pancakes!!
send me a message, we can figure out a quantity. I will check the status of our stock!
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
I love roasted acorns from white or burr oaks. I've turned some into flour in the past and used it in pancakes. It adds a great flavor that goes well with maple syrup. I'm now into making sourdough bread and would love to try some in my bread, but don't have a good source. I'm interested in buying from you if you have some that you stored over winter.
I’ve heard of acorn flour, but never tried it. That sounds interesting though. Some day I will have to experience an acorn-flour pancake.
 

dmonn

Well-Known Member
Location
Mequon
I like it best when the acorns are roasted before grinding. After leaching the tannins out (directions easy to find on the internet), I roast the acorns slowly to dry them and give them a different flavor. I then run them through a blender to get a powder. I don't think you can buy the acorn flour pre-roasted. The unroasted flour is pretty available.
 

JD3000

Most well-known member
Location
Columbus
beautiful. I re-potted about 20 oaks from beneath some massive red oaks near me a few years ago after a mast year. They did not take well to it. Most were about ~14" stems, and I got most of the main taproot into the pots. Didn't amend it or anything. May be worth putting them under protection and lights or something.
We always get tons of acorns, red oak, black oak. Make flour sometimes. I keep a stash of them in the car door so to toss them into prime looking locations now and then. Feel kinda like a squirrel sometimes. Long like the quercus.
Drainage of your media is key. The higher the pine bark, the better it drains
 

Cereal_Killer

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
Can anyone copy/paste the entire article? I saw the story on my browser suggestions yesterday but I don't do NYT (and won't be giving them any money) so I can only read the first paragraph.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Can anyone copy/paste the entire article? I saw the story on my browser suggestions yesterday but I don't do NYT (and won't be giving them any money) so I can only read the first paragraph.


Dang...I was able to read the whole article when I opened the thread. I thought it was a free one.

The edited text is below.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator

Why You Should Plant Oaks​

These large, long-lived trees support more life-forms than any other trees in North America. And they’re magnificent.

The genus Quercus is made up of trees that are very large and very long-lived, two things that help explain the oak’s power. At more than 500 years old, the Bedford Oak in Bedford, N.Y., may be only at midlife, by some estimates.Credit...Douglas W. Tallamy
By Margaret Roach
March 31, 2021
When I arrived years ago at the piece of land I now garden, I saw it as a blank canvas and set about madly planting things, imagining my efforts would bring every square foot to life. I did not understand then that the heavy lifting had already been done — and probably by some blue jay, or maybe a squirrel.
Douglas W. Tallamy, an entomologist and longtime professor at the University of Delaware, would have known right away what the giant old oak trees along the front property line meant to the place — and to any place.
“There is much going on in your yard that would not be going on if you did not have one or more oak trees gracing your piece of planet earth,” he writes in his new book, “The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees.”

It was caterpillars — especially the larval stage of moths like this one-spotted variant — that Douglas W. Tallamy credits with alerting him to the power of the genus Quercus. Caterpillars fuel the food web, and more species depend on oaks than on any other plant.Credit...Douglas W. Tallamy

Oaks support more life-forms than any other North American tree genus, providing food, protection or both for birds to bears, as well as countless insects and spiders, among the enormous diversity of species. Oaks also supply more of what he calls “fascinating interactions,” intimate details the book chronicles, month by month.
It was caterpillars — especially the larval stage of moths — that Mr. Tallamy credits with alerting him to the power of the genus Quercus. With 90-plus North American species and about 435 worldwide, Quercus is the Northern Hemisphere’s largest tree genus, made up mostly of trees that are very large and very long-lived, two factors among several that help explain the oak’s power.


When Mr. Tallamy began research 12 years ago to compare the relative ecological effect of native and nonnative plants, his team searched historical scientific records and made lists of host-plant genera, tallying how many caterpillar species were dependent on each. Why record caterpillar interactions? Not just because Mr. Tallamy likes them — he calls them “repurposed leaves that can walk” — but because caterpillars fuel the food web.

Oaks led by far, an insight that made them characters in his previous books, including the 2020 best seller “Nature’s Best Hope.”
“They are so important, critically important, in running our ecosystems, and that’s what attracts me,” he said. “Oaks are not just another plant.”


North American oak leaves vary greatly in shape and size, as this small sampling shows. Not all of them are the classic shape we think of as an oak leaf.
Consider a few of the oak’s credentials.
Oak trees support 897 caterpillar species in the United States. At Mr. Tallamy’s 10-acre property in southeastern Pennsylvania, he has recorded 511 — dwarfing the number supported by other native trees there, including maples (Acer, interactions with 295 caterpillar species), ironwood (Carpinus, 77) and sweetgum (Liquidambar, 35).
Of the food eaten by insects, birds and other animals, 75 percent comes from a few key genera — and oaks lead the list.
Birds forage longer in oaks (which, again, is often about caterpillars — high-value food especially during breeding season, when they are prime baby food).

An oak can produce three million acorns in its lifetime — tons of protein, fat and carbohydrates — and a mature tree can drop as many as 700,000 leaves every year. The resulting litter is habitat for beneficial organisms, and the tree’s canopy and root system are important in water infiltration, helping rain percolate instead of running off, and purifying it in the process. Oak trees also sequester carbon.
As Mr. Tallamy puts it: “A yard without oaks is a yard meeting only a fraction of its life-support potential.”
Yes, he’s aware: We have objections. Oaks are too big. They produce all those leathery leaves that don’t decompose fast enough for our neatnik liking. And in those years when the acorn crop is particularly heavy — known as mast years — we can’t walk anywhere near the trees without losing our footing.
But Mr. Tallamy seeks to quell those reservations, so that we’ll make room for at least one tree (or better still, two or three).

Blue jays and oaks ave an ancient mutualism; their ancestors evolved together, about 60 million years ago, in Southeast Asia. Blue jays carry acorns up to a mile from the parent oak, burying them as a future food stash.

Tallamy and his wife, Cindy, moved to their home 20 years ago, the land had long been mowed for hay, a practice they discontinued. No longer suppressed by the tractor, invasives emerged, and the couple began removing them. The next spring, they noticed that in many disturbed spots created by the uprooting they had done of unwanted multiflora rose and autumn olive, oak and beech seedlings had sprung up — but from where?
“We had no white oaks or beeches on our property and no mature trees nearby from which squirrels could have moved seed,” Mr. Tallamy writes.

A chance magazine photo of a jay flying with an acorn in its beak sent him digging into the literature. And sure enough, the ancient mutualism between jays and oaks was well documented.
Oaks and jays evolved together about 60 million years ago, in what is now Southeast Asia. Jays grew so adapted to life alongside oaks that a small hook at the tip of their bill “is designed to rip open an acorn husk,” Mr. Tallamy writes.
The bird’s expanded esophagus (a gular pouch) can hold up to five acorns — each one buried in a different spot, to be eaten later. Except some are forgotten and never retrieved. And you know what comes next: Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

“The diversity and abundance of the little creatures that reside in the leaf litter that accumulates beneath an oak is astounding,” writes Mr. Tallamy in “The Nature of Oaks,” “and easily exceeds counts in the millions.”

An Ode to Oak-Leaf Litter
Because they contain concentrations of lignins and tannins, natural chemicals that retard breakdown, oak leaves decompose slower than most tree leaves. Mr. Tallamy hopes gardeners see them as “priceless litter,” not debris to vacuum, shred or, worse, burn.
“The diversity and abundance of the little creatures that reside in the leaf litter that accumulates beneath an oak is astounding,” he writes, “and easily exceeds counts in the millions.”
What are they doing, all those arthropods? Some are overwintering, taking shelter until fairer days (which is why Mr. Tallamy advises us not to start our cleanup too early). But others are detritivores, nature’s cleaning crew, without whom the system collapses. Many fungi, too, make a home in oak-leaf litter.


“If leaf litter disappears, so do the decomposers,” Mr. Tallamy writes, “as well as the fungi and bacteria many eat, and the mycorrhizae that enable plant roots to absorb the nutrients they need.”
Oak-leaf litter has other superpowers as well — practical ones that speak to gardeners facing either of two fierce, fast-spreading invasives: Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) does poorly in areas with a heavy layer, and oak litter also seems to deter soil-eroding Asian jumping worms.



Ima
A white oak (Quercus alba) in autumn, as the leaves fade. Some oaks hold onto their faded foliage all winter, a phenomenon called marcescence that may help protect buds on branches from predators, direct more snow (and water) to tree roots and create a nutrient-rich mulch as spring arrives.

 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator

When Leaves Don’t Fall​

You may have seen it: an oak tree whose dry, brown leaves stay put all winter. The phenomenon, called marcescence, is more common in younger trees (and also seen in the oak’s botanical cousin, the beech).
Why do they hold onto that excess baggage? If you’re an animal like a deer or an elk, the dead leaves taste bad and any that do fall will rustle or crunch if you walk on them, alerting predators to your presence. So perhaps those leaves protect new buds on lower branches by discouraging animals from grazing.
But what about the dead leaves on higher branches? Earlier in the oak’s 60-million-year history there were taller predators, like mastodons, that may have been deterred as well.

Or perhaps marcescent leaves help oaks growing in poor soil by catching snow, directing more water to the root zones, and eventually falling to create a nutrient-rich mulch just when the trees need it most, as spring arrives. Or all of the above. No one knows for sure.

Whether to outpace predators or improve pollination efficiency, oaks sometimes produce a bumper crop of acorns, a phenomenon known as masting.

The Boom of Mast Years​

If you’ve seen a wall-to-wall carpet of acorns beneath an oak, you’ve probably witnessed that individual’s contribution to a mast year, not an isolated event. Mast years are often synchronous: In the fall of 2019, red oaks from Massachusetts to Georgia produced vast crops of acorns.
But why? Is it a way of exceeding predators’ demands, insuring that some seeds are left to grow? Or perhaps an unpredictable harvest, year to year, controls predator populations, which may surge and then decline when a subsequent crop can’t sustain them. Or did masting evolve to improve pollination for these mostly wind-pollinated trees, outsmarting the vagaries of wind by producing so much pollen it can’t miss? Again, maybe all of the above.

Oaks support more life-forms than any other North American tree genus. Mr. Tallamy urges us to plant native oaks from acorns — or leave self-sowns like this white oak seedling to mature.Credit...Douglas W. Tallamy

Now Go Plant Some Oaks​

Mr. Tallamy’s call to action: convincing us to plant oaks, preferably from acorns.
“Acorns are easy, free and plentiful,” he writes, “and they will grow into healthier trees than if you transplant established trees.”
Or rather than pulling up those volunteer seedlings, why not leave one in place and protect it from animals with a wire cage while it gains a foothold? Several trees spaced 10 feet apart will interlock their roots, forming a grove, each better anchored than it would be standing alone.
In “Nature’s Best Hope,” Mr. Tallamy coined the term Homegrown National Park — the notion that each person’s contributions of native plantings, led by oaks, could add up to substantial conservation corridors. His new Homegrown National Park website encourages us to add our own efforts to an interactive map; more than 5,000 people already have.


There’s a payoff for the environment, yes, but also for each of us, in the bonds of personal connection. He feels it, down to the last acorn.
“The oaks in my yard are not just oaks, they are vibrant communities of hundreds of species,” Mr. Tallamy said. “We planted them from acorns — so we enabled all this life by planting those oaks, and we did it in just a few years. You really can bring all this life to your yard just by planting this one genus. We really need oaks, and need to treat them with reverence.”

Margaret Roach is creator of the website and podcast A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.
More About Margaret Roach’s Garden



 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
So many times over the years I'd suggest to a client that they replant at least one tree when a removal was scheduled. The client would ask for suggestions and I would usually say some species of oak. The reply...they grow so slow. Most of the time we could look around and see planted trees under about 30-40 years old. Any oak that was seen was NOT much smaller in volume or DBH from any worthwhile tree. By that time the less worthwhile trees like silver maples were starting to become budgeted maintenance trees...money pits.

About thirty five years ago a friend planted this pin oak in Minneapolis. Would anyone say this is 'slow growing'? The 2 ¼" closet rod was used as a splint to support the top leader one year because of vigorous growth. The top bent over in the spring. This pic was taken when the tree was about thirty years old.

2%22 closet rod.JPG
 

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