Just like people, oak trees are individuals and can vary greatly in their expressed traits. Thanks to this wide range of traits, and our desire to locate and propagate individuals who exhibit special qualities in acorn size or shape, form, acorn drop time, timber form, and others, we have no choice but to collect from these ‘specialty’ oaks and offer their seedlings directly to you! Our early dropping Shumard oaks are a prime example. We have found three parent trees who routinely shed their acorns much earlier than the surrounding Shumards. All three of these trees have distinctly different ‘skinny’ acorns compared to other Shumards, and they also shed their leaves and break winter dormancy prior to their surrounding counterparts. The early Shumard’s acorn drop coincides with our local white oaks, and can supplement or provide a backup mast source on the years that the white oaks fail to produce a crop. The selection process is old news in the plant and animal world, but the majestic oaks and their traits beneficial to wildlife, have been neglected…not anymore!
The specialty oaks and hybrids come with a higher price tag and for good reason. Most of the trees we collect acorns from are located on the back-side of swamps, in the middle of briar thickets, and at the mercy of deer and other critters who adore them. Toxey and his team literally fight mosquitoes, ticks, redbugs, snakes, and floodwaters to get to these trees and pack out as many acorns as they can. But considering these seedlings are truly one-of-a-kind and offer traits that can be used as a tool to enhance your properties wildlife viewing opportunities and overall value, we feel our seedlings are an investment and not a cost. For cheaper than a bag of fertilizer or wildlife feed, you can have an oak tree that in as little as 6-10 years can begin producing more food and attraction than any ‘short term’ product could begin to offer!
”Every tree is a snowflake” -- T. Haas