Friday, April 3, 2009

Mr. Shumard

Here is Mr. Shumard, the Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii) I planted right after I moved into my house. The back of the lot is filled with planted pines—probably slash pines—and if they were longleaf pines, I'd cherish them, but they aren't. So, the plan is eventually to have the back of the lot shaded by large oaks and other native trees.

Mr. Shumard telepathed to me, right after I planted him, that he was very happy here and would do very well. And so far, he has done well—unlike Mrs. Shumard, a companion that we planted near him, who has "passed on" (euphemism for "died" in this part of the world).

Shumard oaks are native from North Carolina south to central Florida and west to Michigan and Texas. I picked this tree because when it's mature, its leaves will turn deep purplish red to red in autumn. Autumn is my favorite season, so I want a lot of autumn color in my yard.

My copy of Gil Nelson's Florida's Best Native Landscape Plants (University Press of Florida, 2003) lists the following as among good companion plants for the Shumard oak:  pignut hickory, magnolia, flowering dogwood, and redbud. So far, I have at least one of all of these trees. Another listed companion is witch hazel, which I have searched for far and wide, only to be told that it doesn't do well this far south. Bummer; I'd love to have a witch hazel tree!

Mr. Shumard appears to be growing in kind of a cattywampus fashion. We are hoping he will straighten up as he gets a bit bigger.

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