Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Evening Oaks

(Click to enlarge)

I had to take this shot one evening last week on my way home after a day on the road.  Highway 41 just west of Creston, CA.  Hillside of California white (a.k.a. valley) oak (Q. lobata) and coast live oak (Q. agrifolia).  Lay a tarp under these trees in August/September and you'd eat like a king for a year!

I have been amazed at how late the California white oaks leaf out in this area.  As I have said there are no white oaks where I am on the coast; they start about 10 miles inland and up the hill.  Where the white oaks are there has been plenty of weather that Midwestern oaks would kill for - several 80 degree days.  Midwestern oaks, "knowing" that every degree day comes at a premium and is precious, leaf out as soon as it is remotely safe to do so.  But these white oaks are taking their time to leaf out.  Probably because they "know" (I should probably delete the quotation marks - oaks do know things, a lot more than us!) that degree days are not a problem.  Here on the coast it rarely breaks 70.  Go ten miles inland where the white oaks are and a month from now it will be pushing 100 or more.  Why rush things?

They are well adapted for the area.  I, apparently, am not.  I'm still the one softball parent wearing a t-shirt when everyone else is in parkas.  I might as well wear a neon sign that says, "Transplanted Northerner."


  1. Chris,
    Here in Western Oregon many of my native white oaks are already leafing out. My Midwestern and Eastern oaks seem to like playing it conservative. As a matter fact, I'm having some difficulty locating my seedlings which should be in their third year from acorns you gave me. I've seen some of this type of early of growth killed by a late freeze, but that doesn't happen too often, they tell me.

    I just pulled out the Oregon White Oak acorns I collected last fall. Many of them are germinating. They might do pretty well in your relatively cool climate. Want some?


  2. Yes! I will email my new address to you. My climate is not relatively cool, it's extremely cool - the locals freak out when it gets above 75 ;-)