Colors in December

Posted: December 9th, 2008 under Land, Plantlife.
Tags: ,

A norther blew in this afternoon, so we have blue sky and sunshine–and the red oaks near the house are the reddest they’ve ever been, brilliant in the slanting light.

Most of these started as acorns collected from other oaks whose color we’d noted while driving around the countryside.    Then we’d watch until “red oak acorn season” and see if any had fallen on a roadside verge where it would be legal to collect them.   They’re not all the same–some  a deep, deep red and others more scarlet or even orange-red.

The ones nearest the house have had some supplemental water (when the town’s not on water restriction, which it is right now)  and are larger and more colorful than the ones we’ve put out on the land here and there.   Red oaks are more subject to the local oak diseases than bur oaks, but it’s worth the risk of losing them to have this glorious late fall/early winter color.

Of course, they’re also a great wildlife  resource–acorns for deer and wild turkey, nest sites for some songbirds, and plenty of insects for the little insect-eaters to go after.   Thirty years ago, late November into December showed the hillsides in dark green (live oak and juniper) and varied shades of red from red oaks, but about ten years ago one of the diseases killed many of them.  Oldtimers say it happened before and new oaks grew up.  Maybe by planting acorns every year (even if replanted by squirrels) we’ll eventually get more out on the land.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment