We have a new tree in our backyard

Our newest addition is a Quercus bicolor, or the white swamp oak. It can handle slightly hydromorphic  soils. And no, I had no idea what that word meant (other than something about water) until I looked it up on the Internet: “of or pertaining to soil having characteristics that are developed when there is excess water all or part of the time.” So our new baby will fit in perfectly in our backyard because Pete has made a rain garden back there. The soil tends to stay wetter because of that.

It’s funny that I ended up with this particular tree. There is one a few streets over from our house on the way to the ravine. I always pass under it and comment on how much I loved that tree. The branches are sweeping and have large lobed leaves. It can live 300 years, achieving a height of 65 to 80 feet. The fall color is very nice for an oak, a beautiful scarlet. Pete remembered my love of this tree and got one for me. We will have to keep a careful eye on this little guy as it can form a hybrid with burr oaks, one of which we have in our front yard. I was going to head out to admire and water it, but right now, it is raining cats and dogs. Our rain barrels will be full again! As will our neighbor’s car, whose windows are partially down. I did try knocking on your door, John!

It’s amazing to me that a tree can bring such joy.  I work at Ohio State, and with all of the construction around Bricker Hall, I have to get into the building from the side that faces the Oval. I just love walking under the trees, most of them fairly large, although a few new ones have been added in. There is one, a sycamore (another one of my favorites; I love the bark) that was around in 1776. If only it could talk. There is another special tree that I never knew about after attending OSU for four years and working there for another 11. It’s a lovely oak tree planted in memory of a soldier who was killed in France in 1944. Since I have studied World War II history, I asked the archivist at Ohio State about the tree, and he managed to find me a picture of the young man who was killed. (Sorry, the photo’s on my computer at work.) Neither of us has been able to discover why this particular soldier had a tree planted in his honor. Not that there needs to be a reason; in my mind, they all deserve a tree in their name for everything that they have done.

Well, I am going to sit out on the front porch for a little while; the lightning has let up, and I love hearing the distance rumble of thunder and the rain falling down. I’m certain that the temperature will have dropped with the storm, too. The air will be fresh and sweet smelling.

Don’t forget the clean up in the ravine tomorrow. All this rain should make for easy pulling of the invasive plants! And Pete is famous, having had a front page article in The Booster with his name in it (granted, under the fold) about the clean up. Details are: Saturday, July 30, from 9 – 3. Meet in Glen Echo Park beneath the Indianola Avenue bridge. There’s a map at www.FriendsOfTheRavines.org/

Until next time!


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