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Starting Strong, Finishing Well: Better Oak Trees Begin with Better Root Systems

Tuesday, October 28, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Dr. James B. Calkins
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Quality root systems on nursery-grown oak seedlings is the foundation of better oak trees and should be a primary production goal.

Figure 1. Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) foliage just beginning to develop fall color which will typically be yellow to orange-yellow; like all of the oaks native to the Upper Midwest, swamp white oak is one of our premier shade tree species and, though planted more often than they once were, should still be planted more often than it is (Photo Credit: Jim Calkins).It’s hard to believe another growing season is quickly coming to an end and winter will soon be here. At the same time, it is also time for thinking about next year and planning ahead for future crops. As I write this, the fruits and seeds of many species are ripening or will be maturing over the next few weeks and seed collection is likely on the minds of many growers/plant propagators that collect seeds locally. A good example are the oaks (Quercus spp.) and other nut-producing species like Ohio buckeyes and horse chestnuts (Aesculus glabra and A. hippocastanum), black walnuts and butternuts (Juglans nigra and J. cinerea), hickories (Carya spp.), and hazelnuts (Corylus spp.) whose fruits are maturing quickly and are being competitively sought out by plant propagators as the first step in producing a new crop and the many species of wildlife that depend on these species as an important food source.

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