Oaks just don’t get much leaf love. At least not when their brighter, more colorful brethren are showing off. Maples. Birch. Aspen. Beech. Even hornbeam gets more attention and pixels than does the mighty oak.
So when I went to Navarino State Natural Area, which is kind of famous for its oaks, I stopped to soak in their distinct beauty. I wasn’t able to do justice to some of the older ones, with their enormous sprawling branches, heavy canopies and corrugated bark, but some did present their good sides for me.
Oaks have presence. A kind of gravitas not found in many other trees. Yes, I am anthropomorphizing a bit, but I think it fits. Photographically they add richness and a comforting anchor to many foliage scenes. Check them out with these brightly hued tamarack pines –
At the Navarino SNA there are mostly red and white oaks, but also pin and swamp oak. They all provide a substantial acorn crop which is critical to deer and other wildlife. They also provide an extended season for photographers since oaks turn color later and hang onto their leaves longer; some well into spring. It’s thought that early and late leaf drops of the oaks are to provide immediate nutrients to the tree just before winter dormancy and then another in spring as the tree wakes to the warmer temperatures.
And although I didn’t do much of it on this outing, I’ve taken a lot of oak leaf pictures in the past. Here are some of my favorites.
If that doesn’t get you to notice the humble oak, I don’t know what will. For me, I’m going to try to pay more attention to these venerable trees.