Of the many species of trees that we have in our area, the oak trees are one of the most important. Not only do they furnish lumber for many different projects, but the acorns they bear are important food sources for many animals.
There are two main groups of oak trees, the red oak trees and the white oak trees. In the red oak tree group it takes the acorns two years to mature. With the white oak group the acorns mature in one season, that is, from spring until fall.
I would guess that many people have never noticed the flowers that appear on Oak trees. In early spring tiny whitish-colored flowers are formed, both male and female flowers. They are so small that they most often go unnoticed. As the season progresses, the male flowers produce pollen and this pollen is carried to the female flowers by the wind. This pollen fertilizes the female flower and later in the fall season an acorn is formed.
I am concerned this season by the late cold snaps that we have had. If the cold weather is too cold then the flowers can be killed and no acorns will be produced. Unfortunately we won’t know if this has happened or not. We will just have to wait until this fall to know for sure.
Acorns are a vital source of food for our wildlife. Turkeys, wood ducks, birds like blue jays, squirrels, deer, and other species depend on this vital food source. If the acorns are gone then our wildlife suffers.
Many people go through life and never think about oak trees. Somewhere in your house, maybe the floor, your furniture, or other places, the wood of oak trees has been used. We ought to think about how important oak trees are and appreciate them more.
Even during the fall season when there is a riot of fall colors, oaks contributed their share of color; yellow, red, orange colors are a few. Have you not ever noticed the bright red colors of the scarlet oak during the fall season?
Look for it this fall.
Bud Jones is a Tallapoosa resident and the author of more than 10 books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.