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Old 06-01-2010, 10:13 PM   #101
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Chinkapin oak is a common tree here. It thrives on limestone and does well in poor dry alkaline soils. Therefore it loves it in our field. Whoever built our house decided to keep one just off the back side of the house which is a blessing and a curse because it does shade the southwest side of the house from the blazing summer heat but it also is constantly dropping stuff on the deck all year round, spent flowers in the spring, tiny unripe acorns that begin to fall in mid-summer continuing through larger mature ones in autumn that hurt bare feet to walk on, leaves that will fall early if we are in a drought year just like the tulip trees and dead twigs all year 'round. It also gets some sort of leaf spot most years. We also have to prune off many branches as they encroach on the roof and gutters so it's sort of lopsided. Still the good outweighs the bad.

We have a pretty large one in the field. Here are some photos of it. That's a dogwood on the right and a black cherry on the left for comparison of size. The other is the tree behind the house. I'd forgotton how it has grown taller than the house now.
Thanks, linrose. It is a taller mature height than I had originally read. If I get it, or something similar, I'll plant them far from the house.
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:14 PM   #102
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That's a beautiful tree next to the house. Thanks for the picture. When I purchased the two that I have I was told that this oak is atop the food preference chain of all oaks for wildlife. What I've seen in the two years mine have been producing mast, it is true. What is your experience with its wildlife drawing capacity?
That is what attracted me to it...and the fact that it produces when it is so young.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:18 AM   #103
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It's hard to say if the Chinkapin oak is responsible for all the turkeys we have here because we are in oak-hickory territory, they have lots of nut trees to choose from. The other common oaks we have are Southern Red Oak, Black Oak, Blackjack Oak, Shingle Oak, Post Oak and White Oak. Our most common hickories are Mockernut and Sweet Pignut hickory. Chinkapin oak is supposed to be attractive to ruffed grouse but I think we are just south of their natural range. I've never seen one here.

Speaking of milkweeds I have two big colonies of some kind of milkweed, I'm not sure which. I've never taken notice of them before but now I'm interested. I should go down and see if they are blooming yet. They may be poke milkweed. One group is in a low area that gets spring flooding and the other is on a hillside. Anyone know by the photos what they are?
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Where do you fall on the "native plant gardener" scale?-milkweed-1.jpg   Where do you fall on the "native plant gardener" scale?-milkweed-2.jpg  
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:45 AM   #104
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Hm, those could actually be dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum). It looks like common milkweed but much smaller, and the flower cluster is looser.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:09 AM   #105
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Looks like dogbane to me too...
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #106
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I never knew what dogbane was, thanks for clearing that up for me. I saw the milky sap and the umbels of flowers and just thought milkweed. Is it good for anything? I think it's toxic. Should I get rid of it?
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:14 PM   #107
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No, I agree, but even when I purchase a plant at my local gardening center, I'm never confident that the source of the plant is local.
Sometimes the natives will have a plastic info tag that identifies the grower. If it's a small local grower and they're specializing in propagating natives, the plants are likely to be local genotypes (no guarantees though). I usually ask the nursery staff, too. It doesn't hurt for the manager to know that natives are being sought, and that people are "checking labels".
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:21 PM   #108
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Is it good for anything?
Dogbane is a good nectar source for butterflies...
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:38 PM   #109
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I've noticed there are (I'm guessing) two species of dogbane; one has a much more attractive flower than the other. I have a few growing near the edge of our yard, of course, it is the less attractive one.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:09 PM   #110
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I never knew what dogbane was, thanks for clearing that up for me. I saw the milky sap and the umbels of flowers and just thought milkweed. Is it good for anything? I think it's toxic. Should I get rid of it?
I don't know much about it other than the fact that monarchs will not eat it and will starve if you accidentally give it to them instead of milkweed.
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