WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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trees filled the parkland setting and, as we wandered through, my father would point out par- ticular trees and their attributes. Oaks were of special interest since they were the largest decidu- ous hard wood trees with the most longevity. Strength and durability were their main attributes but with a particular grandeur that the other trees lacked. For me the oaks were mighty — a challenge to climb while their large spreading crowns provided cool shady nooks for pretend parties and all sorts of fun activities in my arboreal playground. Later in life, when I went on to study horticulture, other ornamental trees captured my attention, but the stately oaks kept a special spot. Through the years when landscapers and clients came to me looking for trees, oaks were rarely on the plans, which is a pity and a mystery. As oaks are natives, we should be using them more. Yes, they are big and require space, but we should be planting them for the next generations to enjoy. And, oaks surpass all other woody plants in the numbers of wildlife they support. Too often I hear that they are slow growing; well, 50 feet in 10 years is not too slow and one gets the benefit of shade in the summer and a rich display of autumnal hues depending on the species chosen. Oaks can take many decades to reach their full majestic heights as growth slows after the first decade. Quercus is the genus and a top choice exhibiting good autumn color is the white oak, Q. alba, the prominent eastern species. Fall foliage is a deep, rich wine red that can last for a while. Also beautiful is the scarlet oak, Q. coccinea, with scarlet to maroon fall foliage, as its name suggests. Another species I love for its ruggedly handsome bark is Q. bicolor, or swamp white oak. The pin oak, Q. palustris, a close relative of the scarlet oak is readily avail- able but lacks the rich fall coloring; its branch- ing habit is downward which is a less attractive feature in a garden. In general, oaks are adaptable to soil condi- tions, preferring full sun and do best moved 22 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 7 the green scene "a rich display of autumnal hues"

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