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The Quercus Among Us

1. Some time today (or tomorrow, or the next day), I’ll pull out the oak seedling next to the mailbox. I hope it’ll be easy. It’s more than a foot tall. Could it be considered a sapling?

2. I thought it was a holly plant so I left it alone last year. Who doesn’t like holly come Christmas season? 

3. It turns out we have quite a few oak seedlings growing around the house. Some have volunteered in pots, some in the ground. 

4. The birds and squirrels must’ve heard me say it would be nice to grow an oak tree or two.  Who else would’ve brought the acorns and dropped them at random?

5. The Husband thinks the acorns were introduced by me. I tend to pick up acorns with the intention of planting them, but they mostly are left in pockets, the car, and forgotten safe places.

6. More than likely, the few acorns I didn’t stow away, I cavalierly tossed in the yard, invoking Mama’s incantation of “If they grow, they grow.”

7. So, yeah, acorns have sprouted all over the front and back. 

8. Oaks belong to the genus Quercus. They’re evergreen trees or shrubs. Too bad the Husband and I didn’t know anything about oak trees back then. Mama liked year-round green trees that don’t shed, but she wouldn’t plant pines or redwoods because she considered them bad luck. They attracted fire was what she said. Now, I wonder if she may have been in a fire too close for comfort.

9. I read that there are two general groups of oaks, red and white, and each group has various species.  We have more red than white oak seedlings. I’m guessing they’re live oaks, which is a common species in our part of California. 

10. The me of long ago liked to climb oak trees that had low limbs I could scramble up. Ahh, memories. I still look at a fine specimen of an oak and imagine hauling myself up it. “Old lady stuck up an oak tree. News at eleven.”

11. Besides that big guy next to the mailbox, I know of two, maybe three, other spots in the front yard where oaks have sprouted.

12. In the back yard, there are at least five volunteers. I’m not counting the two guys, in the above photo, that I pulled out the day before and stuck in pots with the objective of growing them. That was before I identified them as being oaks and not hollies.

13. Imagine should the 10, more or less, oak seedlings grow to mature adulthood. The Husband says it’ll take 30 years or so. We’ll be approaching 100, living in an oak forest. I like that. 

If it’s Thursday, it must be Thursday Thirteen


  1. I'm always pulling up tree seedling where I don't want them to grow. We have a huge maple that grew from a seedling from the 90s. Mostly tulip popular, a giant fir that hosts a bird community and we put up with the shade for that, a few oaks here and woods all around.

    1. The oak seedlings are popping up as the fruit trees are reaching the end of their lives. I don’t feel as bummed out about that anymore. :-)

  2. I love our oak trees. My father-in-law had a logger come in and cut many of them down about 15 years ago; I was so angry with him! His land, he could do what he wanted, but it sure messed with my view. Not to mention I could feel the death of every tree. I love volunteer plants. I frequently leave them just to see what happens. Great post!

    1. Hail, Lady, well met! Once upon a time when I was a younger being, I quit my job because the boss pulled out a beautiful, ancient oak tree from the front of the building and paved over the space. Booo.

  3. Oooh, living in an oak forest would be nice. You could be in a tree, though. Have you seen that show, Treehouse Masters? He builds treehouses that are done up right. Places you could spend time.

    1. I would go for living in a treehouse in a warm climate. What a life that would be!

  4. I love that your acorns (I like how your husband thinks) turned into ALL THIS!

    1. I dug up the oak by the mailbox yesterday. Its root was over a foot deep. We decided to plant it on the edge of what we call our meadow, beneath the ornamental pear. We figure that by the time it grows five feet or so, the ornamental will be saying goodbye to us. And, if we’re wrong, it will have a good buddy in the oak.

  5. You reminded me of wonderful memories of climbing up our live oaks in Mississippi...spanish moss hanging throughout the leaves, and green year round.

    1. Very cool, Me, Myself, and I! I can see it, too.


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Thanks for the good cheer. :-)

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