Ramble On

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Looking at the Oaks

I’ve been keeping an eye on the oaks. At the Hawksbill Cabin, most of the deciduous trees in the yard are White Oaks. Among the benefits these trees provide, such as shelter for the plentiful birds and squirrels in the yard there, are the bountiful crops of acorns every year.
Those annual acorn crops are one of the main differences I noticed between the White Oaks at Hawksbill Cabin, and the varieties of Red Oak we have in the Alexandria neighborhood. The acorn crop for Red Oaks takes two years to mature – and 2009 is a bountiful year for these trees.

For the last month, the sound of acorns falling from the street trees has been going on around the clock. There is either the ping/thud of their hitting parked cars or the click-click sound as they hit the pavement, followed by a first bounce of four to six feet.
Here is a comparison of the two acorn varieties – the long green ones are White Oak acorns from the cabin, while the dark round ones are the Alexandria red ones. The Red Oak acorns seem to usually fall out of their cups, while the whole thing falls from the White Oaks. Both are passionately enjoyed by the local squirrels, as evidenced in the photo here, and the White Oaks are the key reason we have so many deer in the yard at the cabin.

Here are a couple of views of the trees (and fall color) in the Alexandria neighborhood. The large oaks date from the late 20’s and early ‘30’s. We know that there was at least one and maybe two in front of our house at one time, but those have been lost at some point.
A young Pin Oak – a Red Oak variety – has been planted to replace the old trees; there are still five or six of the really old oaks in the neighborhood, but they are gradually succumbing to the stress of city life. Our Pin Oak is the smaller one in this photo.

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