Quercus macrocarpa, a favorite Minnesota tree
Cliff Johnson, a Master Gardener and writer from Minnesota, took an informal survey of some Minnesota horticulturists, nursery owners, arborists, etc., asking this question:
“Assume you have moved into a new home and yard with adequate space and sunlight, good drainage and okay soil. What one large tree and one small tree would you plant in your new yard, and why?" (Source)
I'm pleased that Johnson reports a unanimous vote for bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) as the favorite large tree. It's one of my favorite trees as well. We have about half a dozen bur oaks planted in our yard, that we grew from acorns gathered from my husband's childhood home. ("Sentimental" only begins to describe my husband's attachment to these trees.)
Johnson's panel of experts mentioned several other trees that are North American natives or cultivars thereof:
- Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)
- 'Shademaster' honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis)
- 'Autumn Purple' white ash (Fraxinus americana)
- Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
One quality that the experts liked about several of these trees was their appearance in winter. Truly, that's important to consider if you live in an area where the trees are leafless for several months in cold weather. A tree with a rugged, interesting form is a joy to behold during the bleak months of winter -- especially when the tree's structure is highlighted by snow on its branches.
|Quercus macrocarpa at the |
Heard Natural Science Museum,
McKinney, TX. Photo by Flickr
user Bonita La Banane
Resource: Cliff Johnson, the Minnesota Master Gardener who wrote the article I've been discussing, has a great website, "Putting Down Roots" where you can read dozens of his gardening columns.
I came across this Johnson article at the Shakopee (MN) Valley News. I went to Johnson's website to try to locate the true source of the article. Half an hour later, I still can't say if the article came from there. I got caught up in reading other interesting things!
Related: Article about a bur oak in Plano, Texas. Bur oaks are native to areas with an amazing variety of growing conditions, from north to south in the eastern and central U.S.!