Why plant Audubon® Native Shumard Oak Treeling?
When you learn that many bird populations have shrunk drastically in recent years, it’s easy to feel discouraged and helpless. “What can I possibly do to make a difference?” you may wonder. Well, you can do a very significant thing by planting bird habitat in your own garden! Oak Trees—a boon to birds in acorns, insects, and shelter—should be at the top of the list for your bird-friendly landscape, and Shumard Red Oak is one of the finest choices you can make. Shumard Oak provides all of these things to wildlife, and its fast growth and beautiful fall color endear it to humans, too. Splendid!
The Shumard Oak grows wild in the Southeast and in the Lower Midwest. It is closely related to Pin Oak and Scarlet Oak and can interbreed with them, making identification difficult. Shumard Oak grows in a variety of habitats, from bottomland soils that may be under water for several weeks in spring to dry upland conditions. Growth is best in deep, rich soils with regular rainfall. The national champion resides in Clay City, Kentucky, and measures 136 feet tall and over 100 feet wide. Its trunk is more than 7 1/2 feet thick. The Shumard Oak was named after Benjamin Franklin Shumard, a 19th century physician and geologist who worked in Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas.
How to use Audubon® Native Shumard Oak Treeling in the landscape?
Any wildlife-friendly garden situated on a large property ought to include native Oaks, and the Shumard Oak is a fine choice. Its large, striped acorns feed turkeys, quail, and other birds, along with deer, squirrels, and many other wild creatures. It takes a long time for a tree to begin bearing acorns, however—most don’t start until they’re around 25 years old. In the meantime, the foliage is excellent forage for tiny insects, which in turn feed many native songbirds.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Shumard Oak Treeling
Shumard Oak is an easygoing and adaptable shade tree that will tolerate many growing conditions—wet or dry soils, high or low pH, sandy or clay soils. The one thing it will not stand for is shade, so plant it where it will get sun all day long. Irrigate with the Bower & Branch Elements™ Watering System and feed annually with our Elements™ Fertilizer to help your tree establish a strong, healthy root system. Because of the risk of your tree contracting Oak wilt, a serious fungal disease, never prune Shumard Oak while it is actively growing. Prune only from December to February.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. If planting in the fall, use Elements fertilizer while planting and start your regular annual fertilizing the following fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established as it gives your tree the nutrients it needs to produce lush new growth for the following spring.
How To Prune
A young tree may need a little extra support to ensure that it lives a long and healthy life. Stake your new Treeling with a 6-8 foot tall wood or bamboo stake. Use expandable ties that will stretch as the tree grows, fastening the stake to the main trunk from the base to the top. Check the ties every few months, at least twice a year; ensuring the ties are not digging into the trunk. If there is any sign of this, take the tie off and reattach it, giving the tree more room to grow.
As your tree grows, remove a few of the lower branches each year in mid to late summer. Remove these lower branches before they reach 1/2 inch in diameter. It is better to make small cuts to avoid cutting a large, more mature branch - this is too stressful for the tree. Each year, make any corrective pruning needed, paying particular attention to removing damaged branches, rubbing branches, multiple leaders at the top, or suckers at the base. Limit any pruning to no more than 25% of the branching structure in a given year. Pruning benefits the tree and helps to achieve a balanced tree form.
After two or three years you can feel free to remove the stake from the tree.