Station Park Swamp White Oak

Oaks are strong, long-lived trees, and their wood is quite valuable. But gardeners who, like Lincolnites, have homes surrounded by Oaks, get numerous benefits from living Oaks as well. Mulch is one benefit. Oak leaves don’t alter the pH of the soil, even if used in large amounts. They are easy to carry, close by in our yards, and so light compared to the bags of mulch we lug from the store. And, best of all, they are free of charge!

Oak leaves are a great source of organic materials that are added to the soil as they decompose. Some research shows their leaves contain up to 1% nitrogen, about as much as the composted cow manure used to fertilize soil. So, don’t send your leaves away!

You may also mow Oak leaves into your lawn, enriching the soil and feeding the grass with no adverse effects. Or you may till them into your veggie gardens. Do it in the fall, so they decompose for next year.

Oaks are North American trees that come from the Beech family. The Oak right next to the arbor at Station Park is a Swamp White Oak — a tree known to survive a variety of habitats. There are over 500 different species of Oaks. And some of them are evergreens. The Swamp White Oak can only be distinguished from similar Oaks by the bark on young branches, which peels profusely.