Tree Following: February 2015

February is here and that means month number two of following a tree with Lucy at Loose and Leafy. The tree I’m following this year is a Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii).

Nothing much has happened with my tree during the past month. It’s still winter so the tree is still bare! Consequently, I decided I’d post some photos highlighting the different characteristics of the Shumard Oak. These first three pictures show the interesting variations of the tree’s bark patterns.

Shumard Oak Bark
Shumard Oak Bark

The photos above and below show details of white splotches that are a common trait of the bark of Shumard Oaks. Don’t you think they resemble the landscape of Mars or some alien planet?

Shumard Oak Bark
Shumard Oak Bark

The bark of mature Shumard Oaks is somewhat rough and filled with ridges. In this photo, some of the bits of bark seem to resemble lichen.

Shumard Oak Bark
Shumard Oak Bark

Here is the tip of a twig with several buds. The bark of the twig is very smooth compared with that on the trunk of the tree. It won’t be long before these buds turn green.

Shumard Oak Bud
Shumard Oak Bud

Here are some interesting facts about the Shumard Oak:

  • The Shumard Oak is native to North America
  • A mature tree can reach a height of 80 to 115 feet
  • Acorns are up to 1 inch in diameter and can take up to three years to mature
  • These trees will thrive in almost any type of soil and they are very tolerant of heat and drought
  • Known specimens of the tree have reached 480 years of age
  • Lumber from these trees is used in cabinets, paneling, flooring and furniture
  • The tree was named for Benjamin Franklin Schumard, a one-time state geologist of Texas

Shumard Oaks are extremely upright trees with spreading branches. They’re a fantastic tree to sit beneath on summer mornings to get closer to nature!

The Shumard Oak provides food for wildlife in the form of acorns and also provides a sheltered nesting site for birds.

Goldfinch in Shumard Oak
Goldfinch in Shumard Oak

By the time Tree Following rolls around once again in March I wouldn’t be surprised to see the buds on this tree bursting out all over!

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!

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16 thoughts on “Tree Following: February 2015

  1. I’ve always been entranced by the bumpy bark on trees – alien landscapes, yes! I had not known who these majestic oaks were named after, but that is one of the less forgettable names. Now if I can only get my tree identification skills honed a little better, I’ll be sure to impress all the birds and squirrels with my name dropping! Looking forward to seeing the Spring version, more fully inhabited.

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    • Thanks! I wasn’t aware of the origin of the name until I started doing some research on it for Tree Following. And I agree about the tree bark. Some are so bumpy its ridiculous, while others are as smooth as silk. I guess that’s what makes nature so interesting!

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  2. Beautiful shots of your shumard and its visitor. It’s a great tree and there will be lots to share about it, even if this month was a bit quiet. I love that you focused on the bark–it’s lovely and has such character.

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  3. Interesting that you mention the bark looking like landscapes (of Mars or some alien planet) — I’ve thought something similar about my cottonwood’s back … like a Google Earth view of our high deserts with little vegetation! This tree-following has made be look close and find all kinds of neat things!

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  4. Beautiful oak tree! I confess I had to google for the botanical name 🙂 You’re right, from close-up the bark looks indeed like an alien surface (at least for us).

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