Tree Following: May 2015

Today is Tree Following day with  Lucy at Loose and Leafy. I’ve been following a Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii) located in our back yard in North Texas. As was the case last month, I’ve decided to show the progress of the tree in a series of tiles. The main changes during the past month? For one, the tree has filled in a little bit more. Also noticeable is that the color of the foliage has gone from the newborn delicate green of early spring to a darker shade. This transformation in color will become even more apparent as the year goes on.

Here are some close-ups of the beautiful leaves of the Shumard Oak. Leaves mature to a length of between four and eight inches.

While inspecting my tree today I discovered galls on several leaves. They’re probably oak apple galls. These galls are created when a specific type of wasp lays its eggs in leaf buds. As they grow, these galls turn brown and reach the size of ping-pong balls. Since they won’t damage the tree, I’ll keep an eye on them and follow their development.

Oak Gall
Oak Gall

Here’s an example of several oak galls that fell from this tree last summer.

Oak Galls
Oak Galls

I also discovered lichen growing on the north side of the tree at the base of the trunk. This doesn’t happen very often due to our normally hot and dry weather, but we’ve had such a wet spring — especially the last several weeks — that some growth as occurred.

Lichen On Trunk Of Shumard Oak
Lichen On Trunk Of Shumard Oak

A great many seedlings have come up beneath my tree this spring. Below are photos of two of them. If only I had space elsewhere to plant them!

Thanks for visiting my Tree Following post for this month. To see what other trees people are following pay a visit to Lucy’s site at Loose and Leafy.

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40 thoughts on “Tree Following: May 2015

  1. Oak leaves make so many great baby trees, I’m always sorry I can’t give them all away. Heck, I can’t give any away, they are so plentiful in these parts. I’m just glad some of us aren’t taking them for granted! Those galls are fascinating, aren’t they? So alien looking. I’m looking forward to reading more.

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  2. Lovely photos….I would absolutely love the seedlings of such a fine tree. It always becomes a conundrum though when they produce so many off-spring!

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    • And the seedlings always seem to come up right where you don’t want them! I don’t know how many pecan and oak trees I’ve pulled out of the ground over the years — thanks in large part to the squirrels — that I wished had come up where they might have been allowed to grow.

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  3. What a superb oak, Anna. How hardy (or not) is it? The foliage is just beautiful and I like the way your tiles allow us to follow the progress of leafing out over days, rather than weeks.

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    • Shumard Oaks are very hardy trees. Ours have survived fabulously into our fifth year of drought with no problem. They see heat of 110F+ at times in the summer months and cold down into the 10F range for short periods of time during some winters. They seem to be ideally suited to this part of the country.

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  4. Love the Shumard Oak. I have two in my back garden, but could have about one thousand if I let all my seedlings grow. 🙂 I’ve never had so many and pulling up seedlings and disposing of the acorns that have yet to germinate has been my main gardening chore this spring. Yikes!
    Thank for the lovely post about a great tree!

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  5. What a difference a month makes as your tree has leafed up Anna. It’s a fine looking specimen. As far as I know this does not grow in the U.K. Perhaps you could bonsai some of the babies 🙂

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  6. Neat to see your Texas oak, different from the ones I know. The leaves are beautiful, and it’s nice to see fresh green leaves! We’re still looking at conifer needles mostly.

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  7. Lovely pictures of the Oak leaves, so green. You show some of the other life living on an Oak Tree. I read some where that over 1000 other forms of life are hosted on a mature Oak Tree.

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  8. hello, what a lovely fresh green your oak is, after reading your about page I am glad you are now having some rain, I found it interesting that your drought started the same year our wet started, the last four years we have had rain August to April and last year it continued right through summer too, I’m hoping for some dry weather, wish I could exchange some of our rain for your dry, Frances

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    • Well, I think we got some of your rain over the past week. I’ve dumped about 9 inches of rain out of our rain gauge over the past 4 days and another 4 inches during the latter part of April. If you really want the dry weather, maybe its heading your way! But I really wouldn’t wish our drought on anyone. 🙂 Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of it for us.

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  9. Looks like you have a great shade tree there! And I know your dilemma with the tree seedlings. Seems this year I have more oak seedlings than ever. I’ve tried potting up a few to let them mature and to allow me to try to find a good place for them somewhere on my yard.

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    • If our yard was large enough I’d do the same. I suppose some could be planted beneath some larger trees and the shade might keep them small… I’d love to live in a forest, and I guess that would be one way to accomplish it!

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  10. I really love the tiles to show the development of your tree. I kind of borrowed from that idea on my post for this month’s tree following. I hope you are fine with that. 😉

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  11. Love oak trees — and they come in so many varieties. I admit to having some trouble telling them apart and I can’t say for certain what kind of oak lives in my backyard. All I know is: it is a wildlife favourite. Whether through placement or some other quality it is the go-to place for birds, squirrels and even anoles. I hope you will post more about the galls. They are so interesting.

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