Green Giants

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I have a confession to make…I’m a tree hugger.  I love giant trees!! There’s just something so majestic about standing under the canopy of a 60’+ tree.  When we first saw our property we were instantly attracted to the three giant Oaks in the front yard that provided a continuous canopy over the house.  The branches intertwined and connected from one tree to the next.  The squirrels ran from one tree to the next and never touched the ground. It was like a squirrel super-highway!  There was so much life in those giant trees.  So, we bought our house because we fell in love with these trees.  So weird, right?  I know that normally people don’t buy homes based on the trees in the front yard.  (Maybe that’s why this house had been on the market for three years before we found it.)  But we knew the 60′ trees aren’t something that can just be planted.  They had us at hello!  The house on the other hand…not so much.  And so our renovation journey began…

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But back to these handsome green giants…(I know, my husband corrects me because they’re not technically called “green giants”, that’s a different tree, but that’s my name for them, anyway.) Their official name is Willow Oak.  The Willow Oak’s leaves are thin and wispy.  The leaves’ color changes throughout the year, from bright green in the spring, to dark green in the summer, then to yellow, red, bronze and orange in the fall.  These trees are fast growers, growing at a rate of 13″ – 24″ per year.    Mature trees can get up to 60’+ tall.  They have a massive canopy and make great shade trees.  They provide a great habitat for squirrels and variety of birds.  They produce a lot of acorns.  They prefer acidic soil.  They do great in the red clay soil in the southeast region.  They like a lot of water and sun, and they suck up a lot of nutrients in the soil.  Willow Oaks are meant to stand alone.  They need a lot of room to spread their branches.  They may not look that way when they are first planted.  It’s very tempting to plant a row of these beauties when they’re saplings.  But trust me, in 20 years, you will be thankful you planted just one.  I also don’t recommend the Willow Oak if you’re trying to get a lush, green lawn.  They suck a lot of water and nutrients out of the soil and mature trees will block a lot of sunlight.  Nonetheless, the Willow Oak is a strong beautiful tree.  If you have the right place to plant one I recommend doing so.  You and the squirrels will be enjoying it for the next 30 plus years to come!

Blessings ~

Karen

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