I’m following a tree this year with Lucy at Loose and Leafy. The tree I’ll be following for the next thirteen months (wow, that seems like a long time!) is a Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii). It’s a type of deciduous Red Oak. This particular specimen was already in our back yard when we moved into our house nineteen years ago, so I’d say it’s twenty-five years old at the very least.
This tree drops its leaves in the winter following the first really hard freezes, so it’s totally bare right now. It usually takes the leaves a while to fall, as they turn a beautiful shade of golden brown then begin dropping as they get heavy with moisture from rain or snow or from being blown by gusty winds. The bark is both smooth and rough at the same time, if that makes any sense! And the huge amount of acorns the tree produces provides lots of winter food for wildlife. They’re also fun to step on once they get dry because the crunch they make sounds spectacular!
The tree has a trunk circumference of 30 inches and stands probably 25-30 feet tall. Some of its limbs have been trimmed over the years because they tend to stretch out and grow relatively quickly, swallowing up the narrow space where the tree grows. We actually have three of these trees — the one that I’m following, one behind our back fence and one in the front yard — and this one is by far the smallest! Shumard Oaks are really beautiful trees, forming a canopy of brilliant dark green leaves during the summer and offering an inviting home for birds and squirrels. When photographing this particular tree I was really surprised to find no nests whatsoever. Maybe this will be the year that some creature decides to move in!
Thanks very much to Lucy at Loose and Leafy for hosting Tree Following. Want to join in? Click on the link for information on how to get started!