We have many lovely old trees growing here but the tree that wildlife seem to most prefer is the Shumard Oak that lives in the back corner of the lot. That corner meets the neglected back corners of two other neighbours so creatures resting there enjoy a lot of privacy. The thick leaves provide shade in the summer. Lizards sunbathe on the trunk in the winter. The branches are sturdy enough to hold napping squirrels. Doves frequently congregate there in the morning watching and waiting for me to fill up the bird feeder. And the oak is where we hung the bee box.
I went on a nerd adventure today calculating the ages of some of our trees. This oak was surprisingly one of our youngest — ‘only’ about 35 years old.
Not native but another wildlife favourite this month is the Russian Olive.
The air is spicy with their scent. I don’t know if I am imagining it but I think the mockingbirds like the fragrance as much as I do. I keep seeing them in and near the bushes though it will be a long time before any drupes will form.
Speaking of mockingbirds … it was a tight squeeze but somehow he managed.
How do you estimate the age of a tree? At about 4.5 feet up from the ground wrap a tape measure around the trunk to get the circumference in inches. Divide the total by 3.14 and then multiply that new total by the growth rate of the tree. A redbud is practically a weed so give it a 7; a Shumard Oak grows much more slowly and can be assigned a 3. Here’s a link to a helpful chart with more details on a wide variety of trees.
That formula is supposed to work well for forest trees. City trees … maybe not so much. If the tree has grown under less than ideal conditions assume your answer represents the low end of an estimate.
Wildlife Wednesday is the popular meme invented and hosted by Tina at My Gardener Says. If you haven’t already, check it out for beautiful photos, a sad story about a cardinal and people sharing links from all over the world.