Chinquapin Oak Tree Planted - October 2021

The kids have been playing/practicing Fall soccer at the 'main park' here in Downers Grove called McCollum Park.  The athletic facilities are just fine - soccer fields, ball diamonds, basketball courts, etc.  But, if you take a walk around the exterior path at McCollum, you can't help but be struck by the size and diversity of the mature trees that have grown there including a bunch of different large Oak trees.  The have some VERY mature trees, some medium-aged ones and some young ones that appear to be planted via the Downers Grove Park Districts Memorial tree program.  

During one of the soccer practices, I noticed an oak tree that had a nice shape and narrower - yet coarse-toothed leaves scattered around the park.  I'm familiar with the common Red and White Oaks, but when I looked at the leaves of this particular tree (see below for photos), I wasn't sure what it was.  

Here, below, shows the tree with a nice shape:

And, here, below, is a closer look at the leaves:

Narrow, pointy leaves.  Hmmm...let's go look at that sign from the folks at Waterfall Glen that talks about the difference between Red and White Oak leaves.  Now I know:  this is a Chinquapin Oak tree.  

Seemed like an interesting tree and one that I'd love to grow and nurture on our back property.  So, imagine my delight when I came across a plant sale that was put on by a local unit of government.  They were selling very small trees at just $25 each.  I bought a couple of trees including...one of these cool Oak trees.  I recently brought it home and stuck it in the ground in the backyard.  

Below, you can see the small Chinquapin Oak tree - Quercus muehlenbergii - that we brought home in a five-gallon nursery container.  It is short - about 40" tall from the root flare to the top of the apical meristem. 

 

Here, below, is a look at the tag that reveals the spelling (from this nursery) of Chinquapin Oak.  However, the Morton Arboretum (among others) use the slightly different spelling of Chinkapin Oak.  (They also list some other names including: yellow chestnut oak, yellow oak, rock oak.)

The front of the tag you see above - features the non-profit who was selling the trees (Conservation Foundation).  You can learn more about them here - including how they changed their name in 1988 from the DuPage County Forest Preserve Foundation to the Conservation Foundation.  

On the back of the tag is the name of the nursery who grew this small tree:  Possibility Place Nursery

If you go spend a few minutes reading the history of the nursery, you'll discover that they do things a little different than most tree nurseries.  Here's a snippet of their process and how they've unlocked a different route to bringing trees to market beyond the Spring season:

The Chinquapin (or Chinkapin) Oak tree is described as "...generally considered to be a low-maintenance, long-lived tree....relatively good drought tolerance....native". A lot to like there, right?

This is the second Oak tree that I've planted in our backyard - the first being a slightly larger Northern Red Oak tree in Spring 2020.  I've posted this quote from Washington Irving about planting Oak trees here on the blog, but I want to put it here (below) again because it is relevant again with the planting of this tiny tree. Here's the quote below:

Nothing can be less selfish than planting Oak trees, he said.  My family can't possibly expect to 'sit in its shade', but there's something quite nice about trying to nurture this young tree to be something that can be enjoyed by a different family thirty years from now when it is mature.  

What does it look like now?  Here, below, shows the tree in the bed on the south side, planted in front of a couple of the Lilac shrubs (that I have to yank out because they're not doing well).


I'll water this in this Fall and hope that it returns next Spring.  I'm hoping that we'll see the typical sleep/creep/leap cycle, so that 2024, we'll have a tree that has grown up and reaches heights taller than me. 

In terms of keeping score, this is the 63rd tree planted since we bought the property and have 42 trees alive.

Across this being our fifth growing season here.

63 trees planted/5 growing seasons = 12.6 trees on average planted each season.
42 trees alive/5 growing seasons = 8.4 trees on average survive each season.

This is the eleventh tree planted this season which is now the third highest total behind the high years when I planted 17 trees (2018 and 2020). Ranking right in the middle of the pack for the five planting seasons. However...This will NOT be the last tree for 2021, so the totals will go up before Winter arrives when I plant a couple of other trees.

2017 (9 planted. 4 Dead. 5 of the original annual total alive now):
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.  (LOST)
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  5 Dead):
27, 28, 29.  A set of three small Canadian Hemlock Trees in our far backyard. (Two Lost)
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line. (One Lost)
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  LOST - October 2020.

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.  LOST - July 2020.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.
51.  Our third contorted tree - but one that checks A LOT of boxes.  Deciduous conifer.  Weeping.  Contorted.  Japanese.  Planted behind the front Maple - the Horstmann's Recursive Weeping Contorted Larch.  LOST - Aug 2020.
52.  Via the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - a columnar tree from Japan - the Red Fox Katsura Tree that I planted as an understory tree to the dying Chanticleer Pear Tree next to our driveway. 

2021 (So Far) (11 planted and 11 alive):
53.  A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard.   
55.  A large Weeping Nootka Falsecypress from Wannemaker's planted in the new bed on the northside. 
56.  A long-sought-after Emperor I Japanese Maple - our second Japanese Maple - that is now planted on the border near our new-to-be-created fire pit area in the backyard. 
59.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora Nana (or perhaps something else)

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