Friday, September 3, 2010

Big Sprawling Oak

Most of the large trees at Blue Jay Barrens have unique shapes that make them instantly recognizable as individuals. These aren’t the type of trees that make good timber, but they’re excellent if you just like big trees. Each tree is a product of past activities and it’s fun to speculate on the events that brought each tree to its present form. This Chinquapin Oak has probably had more than its share of traumatic events in the course of its life.

A lot of effort went into sinking roots into this rocky hillside. The trunk is just over three feet in diameter and the base is even larger. This tree is magnificently anchored and exudes a strength that makes you believe it could last forever.

Branches take off in all sorts of odd directions. The surrounding trees are all much younger which indicates that this tree was left standing when all around was cut. Was it too small to cut or was it left because it was damaged by a falling tree? This would have been near the edge of a farm field at one time, so maybe the tree was left to provide shade for a tired farmer.

Many lower branches mean many tops. This tree claims a large area of the forest canopy. Several large trees could grow in the space being occupied by this one. Anyone managing the forest for timber production would have had it cut long ago. I’m glad none of the earlier farmers went in for doing any management.

The leaves look healthy enough. All of the leaves on the trees look a little bit ragged this year. Part of the reason is the unusually high number of leaf eating larvae on the trees this year. A second reason is the hail storm we had earlier in the year that managed to hole a great number of leaves.

I’ve grown quite fond of many of these misshapen giants and will be saddened if anything happens to them. I wouldn’t trade this guy for a dozen timber trees.


  1. Hi Steve...your friend has alot of character!!
    Hope it stays with you for a very long time !! : }
    Have a great long weekend!!

  2. Thanks, grammie g. The cold front went through here today and gave us a one minute shower. There was almost enough rain to wet the bottom of the rain gauge.