View Full Version : An observation on small oaks

Quercus Alba
12-09-2006, 04:20 PM
Alright, I hunt the sandhills of South Carolina where turkey oaks are very common. This time of year the leaves have fallen off just about all the trees including the turkey oaks. However, the small turkey oaks(head height and smaller) seem to have retained just about every last leaf. Is there a reasonable explanation for this???

Vernon Holt
12-09-2006, 07:35 PM
I for one cannot give you an explanation as to why this happens, but I can tell you that many plants which are not frost hardy as adults will demonstrate this quality.

Many plants drop seed in late summer and autumn. These seed will germinate and develop into small seedlings which seem to remain semi dormant throughout winter. Spring warmup will release them to begin to grow.

This does not answer your question, but it does suggest that small and immature plants are able to withstand cold weather that would ordinarily either kill or result in leaf drop of mature plants.

I was looking at one of my foodplots today and noticed several small (3 inch) ragweed seedlings growing on the edge of the plot. The mature ragweed was killed by frost in October, yet the seedlings continue to survive.

Quercus Alba
12-09-2006, 07:59 PM
Thanks Mr. Holt. So you too have noticed this?

12-09-2006, 10:00 PM
white oak, I noticed this with quercus falcata this weekend, as saplings still had leaves although they were brown, but all the mature trees are naked. In my dendrology class the teacher was pointing out a prunus seratina that had very few leaves, but the one right next to it about the same size was still green as a gourd. Teacher said he didnt know why some trees of the same species and same location drop leaves before others.
:offtopic: I assumed you may know latin names because of your username. I had to memorize 125 of them and like to use them every now and then to keep my memory fresh.:D

12-10-2006, 12:40 AM
:offtopic: I assumed you may know latin names because of your username. I had to memorize 125 of them and like to use them every now and then to kepp my memory fresh.:D

Will you translate for the rest of us, please?:pop:


Vernon Holt
12-10-2006, 06:38 AM
4X4: Certain trees display the peculiarity of retaining dead leaves. American Beech and Southern Red Oak are two that readily come to mind.

The dead leaves gradually detach themselves and fall gradually all winter long. By spring the trees will be tatally bare.

This is just an oddity of certain species, somewhat in the same manner that some pine trees drop their cones immediately after seed have been diseminated. Others, as in Pond Pine, Virginia Pine, and even Loblolly to a degree, retain their cones sometimes indefinitely.

The retaining of dead leaves has nothing to do with the fact that young plants of certain species are more frost hardy than mature plants.

12-10-2006, 07:43 AM
We have a number of different species, all shed their leaves, but the tall red oak always retains some significant number of its leaves until pushed off by new growth in the spring.
Observation over twenty years. Never found out why.

12-10-2006, 09:02 AM
Quercus Alba- White Oak
Quercus Falcata- Southern Red Oak
Prunus Seratina- Black Cherry

Twenty five ought six
12-10-2006, 11:39 AM
My parents have a large southern red oak in their front yard.

It's leaves turn a bright copper, deep red, but most of them stay on all winter. It's very pretty in the deep winter when everything is brown and gray. It has a perfect form--no nearby trees.

If I had the appropriate area for landscaping, I would include severa for this effect and the shape.

Quercus Alba
12-10-2006, 08:24 PM
Ya, I noticed a Southern Red today that was like this. 4x4, where do you attend school. I will be at Clemson next Fall.

12-11-2006, 02:03 PM
I'm at ABAC. I'm done with all my forestry classes, just finishing up a few cores.