Saturday, December 6, 2008

Red Shumard Oak

One of my goals on my smallholding is to plant native species whenever possible. A Kentucky Division of Forestry Agent was passing out Red Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii) seedlings several years ago at a local Master Gardner's plant sale. This one made its way onto my property and appears to be doing well. What struck me today was how late it is retaining its fall color. All of the other oaks in my area have had their leaves turn completely brown a fortnight ago, but this little Red Shumard Oak is still a vibrant red at the top of the tree.

Shumard Oaks are supposed to be drought resistant. That has been important the last two years since we have been on the edge of the severe drought centered in the southeast.

I was a little worried about whether it would survive as it had a bad case of powdery mildew its first and second year. But this year, it seemed to establish itself and thrive. I have found that it is often that case that the 3rd year is when bare-root deciduous trees really take hold or continue to languish until finally perishing. Now that I can confirm that it is well suited to my soil, I may order some seedlings next spring to sprinkle throughout my wood.

If you plant these on your property, be sure that you have enough space as they will grow to be well over 100 feet tall, with crowns as large as 60 feet in diameter.

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