*Photo Credit: Columbia’s notable white oak tree as taken by Frank Kaputa of the CT Notable Tree Project
Columbia, CT’s Notable White Oak
Since Columbia is the hometown of Eric’s Tree Service, it was only natural for us to want to see which of Columbia’s trees made the Connecticut Notable Tree list. This large white oak tree was nominated by Diana Perkins in 1985. The tree measures 197 inches in circumference and stands 65 feet tall, supported by its visually characteristic trunk.
A Mighty Presence
With autumns that offer shades of burgundy leaves and wood that remains the first choice for barrels used in the wine and whiskey aging processes, the white oak (Quercus Alba) is both a beautiful and beneficial family of trees. They are abundant in northeast America and have lengthy life spans ranging on average from 300 to 600 years. Of all oaks, which include over 600 species, white oaks remain the tallest, with the highest reach being noted at over 144 feet. The mass and height of these trees provide many small animals with solid shelter during the rough portions of winter. Lateral and staggered branches extend for a wide canopy. It is not uncommon for these impressive trees to be just as wide as they are tall. Columbia’s white oak is noted having an average spread of 75 feet — even wider than its 65 foot height. These trees have a deep root system that can withstand the effects of droughts and the family loves slightly acidic, rich, and moist soil.
Uses Throughout History
As part of its rich history, it should be noted that the USS Constitution was built with white oak and other oak lumber. Launched in 1797, this commissioned naval vessel is still afloat. This can be attributed in large part to the extraordinary strength of the wood. It is often used for hardwood floors and a slew of furniture pieces.
The white oak is the state tree of Connecticut, Maryland, and Illinois. This deciduous species has prevailed through history and has become a staple in our environment. In Connecticut history in particular, the large white “Charter Oak” is a symbol of independence and freedom. As the story is told, Connecticut’s royal charter was hidden in the trunk of the large Hartford oak tree to prevent its confiscation by the English. The famous Charter Oak appears on the state’s quarter as well as a symbol in many state organizations, financial institutions, and businesses.
Keeping Your White Oak Tree Healthy
Though durable, common infestations to the leaves, stems, and bark can occur among this species. This range of pests includes eastern and forest tent caterpillars, gypsy moths, borer insects, and sucking insects such as oak leaf aphids. The caterpillars weave webs that cause defoliation to the leaves while they feed. Adult borer insects lay eggs in the oak, leaving larvae in holes along the wood and, in turn, causing disruption to the tree as a whole. Oak Leaf Aphids tend to do little damage unless in large populations. In large masses, they feed on the plant sap on the undersides of the oak leaves which causes discoloration. leaf curl, and defoliation.
To keep your white oak tree at its healthiest, consult Eric to set up an annual maintenance plan. Yearly tree trimming, pruning, and maintenance tree services will keep your mighty white oak standing tall for years to come.