2015 - 2017 FGCCT President's Theme and Project - Jane Waugh
Why Plant Native Oaks?
There are many reasons to plant native oak trees. They are beautiful and majestic; they are our national and state tree; they are long-lived (hundreds of years); they are well-suited to our New England landscape; they are great state trees for lawns, streets, parks golf courses and campuses. Much more importantly, however, they are the quintessential wildlife plant. As entomologist Douglas Tallamy points out in his book Bringing Nature Home, oak trees support 517 species of Lepidoptera (an order of insects including moths and butterflies). It is this native insect population that supports our ecosystem.
Along the Eastern Seaboard, 70% of our native forests are gone. That decrease of habitat has been a huge loss of biodiversity. As Tallamy and many others point out, there is something we can do about it in our own gardens: invite native insects by providing the food that they eat - that is, native plants and trees. So if you lose a plant in your garden or a tree blows down in a storm, think native when replacing it.
Interesting Facts about Oaks
1. In 2004, the oak, a symbol of strength, was officially declared the national tree of the United States. It is also the national tree of England, France, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Serbia.
2. The white oak is Connecticut's state tree. In 1687, King James 2nd was trying to revoke Connecticut's Charter which had been signed by his predecessor King Charles 2nd. The legend is that the charter was hidden in the hollow of a large white oak in Hartford for safekeeping. Thus, the name of the famous oak became the Charter Oak.
3. About 600 species are found worldwide and are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Oaks are in the Fagaceae (Beech) family and in the genus, Quercus. Oaks are America's most widespread hardwood tree. Many live to be 200 years old. Some have lived to be over a 1000 years old.
From Jane Waugh, FGCCT President, 2015-2017
Kensington Garden Club Chooses a Northern Red Oak
The Kensington Garden Club planted a Northern Red Oak on May 20, 2016.
It is at Kensington Orchards, a park owned by the town of Berlin and used for passive recreation. The town's Parks Department planted it for us, mulched around it and added a water bag to help keep it moist during this dry season we are experiencing. They will continue to maintain it for us but one of our members who lives nearby also stops to water it.