24 May 2011

Flora Focus: Lacey Oak

Last week, after rescheduling once because of torrential rain (yay for our sod!), we finally got our trees. The first was a lacey oak, which we planned to put in the middle of the front yard. Although installation was included in the price, I had already dug most of the hole because we weren't entirely sure there wasn't a sprinkler line running through the area where we planned to put it, and I had more confidence in my ability to dig carefully (and readjust if necessary) than in their patience with such a process. But the hole worked out fine, and the tree is really lovely.

I've heard the shape of lacey oaks described as "picturesquely irregular" (or something like that), so it should have an interesting shape as it grows. It's a small variety of oak, likely to stay under 30 feet tall and 30 feet across. Here are its specs (from the Natural Gardener, a great local nursery -- but not where we got the tree):

Two more things:
1. Tree people love lacey oaks. They originally came across our radar when the city offered us up to three free trees last year. We asked our arborist what type he recommended (of the four or five offerings), and he gushed about laceys. Unfortunately, they ended up not being available through the program, but by the time we learned that, we were sold on the concept of a lacey oak. When we went on our nursery tour to find just the right one, the guy there (whom I assume -- based on nothing more than his relative youth (25ish), his enthusiasm for plants, and sheer geography -- was a recent graduate of the Texas A&M horticulture program) proclaimed that, if he had a house, he'd definitely get a lacey oak. I don't quite know what the specific appeal is for tree professionals, except maybe that they're less common than some of the other oaks. And they have bluish leaves. Allegedly. They're looking pretty green to me:

2. The trunk of the tree is currently about 2" thick. This size was recommended to us by our arborist, who told us that 2" was the "sweet spot" for size versus cost in most trees. We don't expect it to be super-fast growing, but that's okay. We plan to be here for a long time....

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