I am often asked what my favorite plant is.
I cannot answer this question!
But I do love some plants more than others.
This is my love letter to the Oak Tree.
Whether Rubra or Alba, I love these majestic and gorgeous native Oaks. These are the trees you see reaching for the sky in established neighborhoods and in our woods throughout New England. The white oak is often the one you will see in swampy or wetter areas-its leaf edges are rounder and softer and the bark gnarlier than the red oak. Both trees are gorgeous, long living, valuable for their shade, beauty, majesty, and food! Obviously, the acorns are food for many birds and mammals. But what you might never see on an Oak tree is exactly why I encourage my clients to include at least one in their landscapes. On a summer day if you could levitate up about 25 feet and then circle the tree with a clipboard noting every soft bodied bug you see you might lose count after 500! From the ground you will never know those bugs are there, but you will notice a parade of birds flying to and from this tree all day long. Why? Because those soft bodies bugs are baby food, and their babies are hungry! No amount of birdseed at your feeding station can replace the bugs that are born on and feed from these trees.
An Oak tree is not the right plant for everyone, but if you have room for one plant one! It will give you pleasure and you will be planting it for generations of humans (and birds and bugs) to come!
To read more on our native oaks check out Doug Tallamey on The Nature of Oaks.