Sunday, November 9, 2014

Windbreak, continued

I planted three more trees in the windbreak.  There are Black Walnut trees in this part of the yard so I switched to native species as they are likely to have more resistance to the juglone secreted by the walnut's roots.

I planted Nuttall Oak (Quercus nuttallii/texana).  This species is currently something of a darling among the landscaping and Quality Deer Management folks.

Fall color.  Photo taken November 9, 2014.
The plant is beautiful, fast growing, cheerfully withstands being submerged in water from December-through-March and produces loads of acorns that drop during the starvation months of the year.  It is also (supposedly) cold hardy as far north as Madison, Wisconsin.

Photo courtesy of Lucky Pittman.  This Q. nuttallii from Macon, Mississippi is still dropping acorns on March 14.
Like most fast growing trees, it tends to have widely spaced limbs which are not optimal for breaking the wind.  That shortcoming is ameliorated by the tendency of oak trees, especially in their youth, to hold onto their leaves through the winter.

This species is not native to Michigan.  Biologists contend that Mexico is the epicenter of Quercus diversity.  The further one gets from Mexico the fewer species one encounters and the more uniform each species becomes.  According to this site, Texas has 35 species of oak compared to Michigan's 9 species.  I suspect that this species would already be in Michigan if the Mississippi river flowed south-to-north.  Since it does not, I am helping God out by using the services of the UPS.


  1. Interesting, I didn't know they would survive that far north!

    1. Many "Southern" species have more cold hardiness than generally thought. According to this site ( ) the record low temperatures for Mississippi is -19F and for Arkansas is -29F.

      Those temperatures may have carried off the weak, shaded and trees that were otherwise stressed...but there are still plenty of trees in Corinth, Miss and Pond, Ark that came through the cold snap just fine.