Monday, October 31, 2005

Some trees have changed in unexpected ways

Some trees have changed in unexpected ways

Lots of trees were damaged or destroyed by Katrina, but some seem to be getting a new start at life

I don't know much about indigenous American plants and trees, so if I am saying something that everybody knows already please forgive me - I've only lived here a year or so.

British Oak

In the wooded area we have at the rear of our parcel of land we have hundreds of oak trees. Not those huge magnificent oaks we love in Britain,

Live Oak

or the amazing twisted, sprawling 'live oaks' seen all over The South (so-called because they do not lose their leaves in the season they laughingly call winter down here), but boring, straight 'pole' oaks.

These are basically straight trees, reminiscent of pine trees, with a bushy bit on top that sprouts leaves that we would all recognise as relatively large oak leaves. We have literally hundreds of them. They are like weeds - it's hard to decide which is the bigger pest, pine trees or pole oaks.

So why am I telling you all this? Because lots of those straight, boring pole oaks are growing large numbers of leaves along the length of their trunks, presumably because the amount of devastation from Katrina means they are now getting light onto those trunks.

It looks kind of weird though. when I first noticed this I thought it was vines twisting their way up the trees - we also have enough vines to start our own jungle - but closer investigation revealed it was fresh green oak leaves.

I am interested to see how these trees look in a few years time ... will these new shoots survive long enough to become branches and eventually reveal a beautiful oak similar to what we are used to? Will they simply wither and die as the more normal dense carpet of leaves returns to our woods? Will something else happen? Time will tell.

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