Why Plant a Wye Oak?

If you are not familiar with the Wye Oak, here is a little background:

Wye oak seedlings

(istockphoto.com)

About the species – In 1941, Maryland designated the White Oak (Quercus Alba) as the State Tree.

The white oak is a handsome and sturdy tree, named for its whitish bark and grey twigs.  The trees are large, long-lived, and slow-growing – reaching heights of 60 to 150 feet, with diameters between three to four feet.  They have glossy bright green leaves with five to seven rounded lobes on each leaf.

A white oak begins to produce acorns when it is about fifty years old – as many as 10,000 annually.  The acorns, crowned with shallow caps that are smooth underneath, sprout soon after falling from the tree.  They are sweet to the taste, and provide nourishment to more than eighty different Maryland birds and mammals.

Some history -The 450 year old Wye Oak, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, was the oldest and largest white oak in the world at ninety-six feet tall and thirty-one feet around, with an average crown spread of 119 feet, when it succumbed to high winds in June 2002.

For four centuries, travelers along the road from Oxford, Maryland, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reportedly rested in the shade of the massive tree and tied their horses at its base, perhaps causing the gnarled roots and so-called “knees” at the base of the Wye Oak.

In 1919, the tree gained notoriety when it was featured in an article by H. S. Clopper, appearing in the American Forester magazine.   The State of Maryland purchased a few acres around the tree from private owners in 1939 to create the Wye Oak State Park.  Then, in 1941, when the white oak was designated as the Maryland State Tree, the Wye Oak became the honorary state tree.

Why Plant a Wye Oak in Crofton?

1.  The White Oak is Maryland’s state tree.
2.  The Wye Oak is a piece of Maryland history.
3.  Three-year old seedlings, approximately fifteen inches tall and certified descendants of the Wye Oak, are available now for $35 from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  (Limited quantity, on a first come-first serve basis.)

A better question might be “Why NOT plant a Wye Oak in Crofton?”.  CLICK HERE to order your Wye Oak seedling for $35 plus shipping and sales tax (Limited quantity, on a first-come basis).

By the way, leaves of the fallen Wye Oak were carefully collected, preserved and stored, and now they are available to purchase – covered in copper and finished with a greenish-blue or brown patina:

  • A piece of jewelry – a unique pin for a coat or jacket lapel ($36–$76) or earrings ($36)
  • Mounted on a slate tile for use in your home ($64)
  • An ornament. ($28–$38)

Adopting a leaf will help support the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  CLICK HERE to place an order.

Re-printed with permission from FocusOnCrofton.com.

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