Chocolate, Caramel or Toffee?

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I must have had Halloween treats on my mind when looking at my northern red oak (Quercus rubra) yesterday. The foliage color is not the typical brilliant orangey-red that I associate with this species. They are distinctive around town this time of year---their huge, colorful crowns can be seen from blocks away. Why are the leaves on my tree brown? I have no idea. They always go from green to yellowish, then straight to brown---no stopping for red!

There are several oaks that do well in our region. Two of the best (for their drought hardiness and adaptability to heavy clay soils) are the bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor). In Denver’s older parks you can see good examples of the broad, rounded English oak (Quercus robur). Our native scrub oak (Quercus gambelii) doesn’t always adapt well to urban settings. These oaks are all fairly slow growing, but have nice strong branches that hold up well to heavy wet snows. Most of them are huge trees that need lots of space to grow to their full potential.

So what’s your favorite---chocolate, caramel or toffee? Have a fun Halloween!

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