Friday, November 13, 2009

Red Oak

At a distance, this looked like a dark mushroom cloud billowing up in the middle of my woods. I mentioned before how color change and leaf drop can call attention to individual trees. This is an excellent example. Even though I had a good idea of which tree this was, I decided to head back into the woods and verify my suspicions.

Here it is. A nice tall Red Oak, Quercus rubra. I’m surprised this tree wasn’t cut before I bought it. There must not have been a market for Red Oak the last time this woods was logged. I don’t believe they would have missed it by accident.

It’s a long way up the trunk before you see any lateral branches. That’s an indication that the tree was growing in close company with others as it put on height. Removal of these neighbors as part of the logging operation, allowed the tree to send out side branches and expand its canopy.

The trunk is about three feet across here. Expansion of the tree canopy and development of more leaf area allowed the tree to increase its growth rate. This tree shows every sign of being healthy and barring accident, should develop into a monster. Too many big ridgetop trees like this fall prey to lightening strikes. I hope this guy’s lucky.

A lot of acorns fall from this tree. All the leaves in that wide canopy make this tree a mast machine. Deer, turkeys and squirrels don’t let those acorns sit around for very long.

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