Essay — Fall into Spring

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Spring arrives in five days, but the garden is already a palette of pink, red, and white thanks to the azaleas, dogwoods, and camellias. And on top of all that color, the oak trees are raining brown leaves.

Yes, in Carpenter Country’s mystical part of the world, oaks drop their leaves in spring instead of fall.

What kind of oaks?, you ask. Well, for years, I’ve called them Live Oaks, but I was wrong. The oaks dropping tons of leaves all over the yard are actually Laurel Oaks.

Image source: HL Carpenter

Image source: HL Carpenter

According to a 2006 study done by the University of Florida, Laurel Oaks grow tall, have a compact, oval top and usually live fifty to seventy years.

In contrast, the branches of a Live Oak can spread into a canopy of over 100 feet and the trees often live as long as 300 years.

Avenues of Live Oaks, decorated in Spanish moss, festoon a street in our county. They’ve also beautified photos, movies, and books. It’s hard to imagine how many snowbirds these magnificent shade trees have welcomed to the Sunshine State.

If you have a Live Oak in your yard, consider yourself lucky. A study done in 2003 found that a single Live Oak can add as much as $30,000 to the value of a home.

Darn, I wish I had at least one of them growing in my yard.

Two would be even better.

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