shock and awe

A blue jay has a specially adapted distended throat which allows it to hold acorns in a special pouch in its throat to store food.  This was just one of the multitude of facts, Bill Logan spoke about on March 10 at the NYBG symposium:   Preserving The Mighty Oak.

Logan:   Viking boats were made from “radially split” wood, which means an oak tree can be split in half, in quarters, in eights, etc.  A 200-year old tree can yield 64 planks. In addition, viking  boats were used with grown timber meaning timber that was grown to the right shape.

Angel Oak, SC

After Bill Logan’s talk, he rest of day was doom and gloom.  The outlook for the oak population in the US is not good.

Between oak wilt, bacterial leaf scorch and sudden oak death the future looks pretty grim. And how are some of these diseases transmitted: bought firewood.

Native American Indian using rock as mortar to grind acorns.

The last speaker of the day, Neil Hendrickson from Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories, raised an issue which really threw me.  After two days of listening to people talk about the importance of native plants at the Ecological Landscape Alliance Conference, I was astounded by Hendrickson’s insight into the entire idea of native plants.  If we believe in climate change and the ecological changes that are taking place; the idea that native plants are the way to go doesn’t make sense.

Yokuts Indian women gathering acorns.

The notion that native plants are “better” because they are adapted to the environment in which they live was thrown into doubt… because is the environment is changing and therefore, what was once native, may not longer be “native.”
We have to think about what plants will thrive in the environment we are dealing with NOW. We have to think about resilience.  Thank goodness I had the train ride home to digest the idea that maybe, I was on the wrong track.

New York Botanical Garden
Bill Logan:  The Horticultural and Cultural Importance of Oaks
Bill Schuster, Ph.D., The Ecological Importance of Oaks in the Northeast and Ongoing Research at Black Rock Forest Consortium
George Hudler, Ph.D., Diseases of Oaks, Including Phytophthora, Oak Wilt, and Bacterial Leaf Scorch
Gretchen Pettis, Ph.D., Insects that Afflict Oaks
Neil Hendrickson, Ph.D., Best Practices for Keeping Oaks Healthy





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