MD swamp white oak

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DougBidlack
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MD swamp white oak

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:22 pm

In June 2007 I went to a wedding in the DC / Baltimore area and so I had a great chance to check out their champion swamp white oak. We didn't have much time because we only had a little time between the wedding in DC area and the reception which was up in the Baltimore area...but I just wanted to see if we could find it so I could maybe return and collect acorns. I did manage to take some pictures. When I got back home and looked closely at the photos I was surprised to find that the bark just didn't look right to me. It looked much more like white oak or swamp chestnut oak because it wasn't deeply furrowed and it was scaly / flaky. When I revisited the tree in October of 2008 I measured the girth and shot straight up to check out the height. The tree was 235" in girth and it was about 100.5' tall. The girth was almost dead on what the MD big tree site reports (234") but the height was quite a bit less than what they report (123'). Their measurements are from September of 2007. I also brought back some twigs with attached leaves and buds to ID back home. The number of lobes was on the high side for swamp white oak and on the low side for swamp chestnut oak as they ranged between 9 and 11. However, the buds were dead ringers for swamp chestnut oak as they were 5-7mm in length and acute as opposed to around 3mm long and blunt for swamp white oak. I can't be certain that the twigs/leaves were all from the champion tree, but I think they were. This tree seems more like swamp chestnut oak than swamp white oak. Check out the pictures and see what you think. Unfortunately I don't have any close-ups of the leaves and buds.
MD champion swamp white oak #1?
MD champion swamp white oak #1?
MD champion swamp white oak #2?
MD champion swamp white oak #2?
Here are some typical swamp white oak bark pictures.
Kensington Metropark, MI #1 at base.  Deeply ridged.
Kensington Metropark, MI #1 at base. Deeply ridged.
Kensington Metropark, MI #1 looking up.  Deeply ridged.
Kensington Metropark, MI #1 looking up. Deeply ridged.
Kensington Metropark, MI #2 at base.  Plate-like ridges.
Kensington Metropark, MI #2 at base. Plate-like ridges.
Kensington Metropark, MI #2 looking up.  Plate-like ridges.
Kensington Metropark, MI #2 looking up. Plate-like ridges.
Bedford, MA.  Messy looking deeply ridged.  Almost blocky looking near base.
Bedford, MA. Messy looking deeply ridged. Almost blocky looking near base.
Doug

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tsharp
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Re: MD swamp white oak

Post by tsharp » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:58 am

Doug/Ellen, ENTS:
I agree that the bark does not look quite right for Swamp White Oak. Probably acorns were not available, but I use the long stalks(2") of the acorns for the SWO as a definitive characteristic. I happen to be a native of that area and can assure you that oak ID is interesting because of the proximity of the piedmont and coastal plain species meeting and hybridizing and introgressing or whatever they do when we are not looking.
From your picture is it appropriate to call that tree a fused muti-stem?
I can see my wardrobe for tree hunting needs an upgrade.
Tsharp

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DougBidlack
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Re: MD swamp white oak

Post by DougBidlack » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:32 am

Turner,

I don't know swamp chestnut oak all that well but I was under the impression that the acorn stalks were also relatively long. Unfortunately my oak book says nothing about this but I thought I read it somewhere else. I know that the length of the stalks on swamp white oaks is highly variable and the stalks on some around here in southeastern MA are only about an inch in length. For some reason I always thought that bur oaks always have short stalks but when I rooted around in my compost pile to check on some Tennessee bur oak acorn caps I found that they had longer stalks than the swamp white oaks from Massachusetts. I guess my point is that there seems to be a lot of variability concerning this particular characteristic, especially when you add in the potential for hybridization.

I agree that the MD tree is probably a fused multi-stem but I have to admit that I wasn't paying much attention to this possibility when I visited the tree.

Doug

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