When I first purchased my land, I needed a lot of seeds. Acorns were my first seed obsession. You could find me in parks, strips of land along busy roads and front yards meticulously picking acorns one by one and taste-testing them. When I asked my brother Chris and my ‘agri-buddy’ and musician Jesse to help me plant a few on my property, I purposely omitted the detail of having 400 lbs of them in my pickup truck. When we met on a cold Saturday morning in September of 1981, the frost had frozen the top 1 inch of soil so I had to re-till the beds. There were no facilities, running water or even a barn at the time, but we got the white and burr oak acorns planted the same way they were collected; one by one.
For the next 4 years, the trees grew nicely. When they reached 5-6 ft. tall then I sold them to a landscape company near Chicago which helped me finance my barn. I noticed a few of the plants in the beds appeared to be intermediate between bur and white oak, so I kept one at the end of a row as a reminder of this first planting. This tree is featured in the image above with my brother standing next to me taken in July of this year. The second image is where we suck in our guts and try to appear younger than we are.
For many years, I didn’t really think about the long lasting influence my nursery would have. Now, I find that work, friendships, and personal relationships all blend with time. On a quiet level, those all seem to last. Seeing all the trees at my farm, I am reminded of people in my life.
Today, we call this tree “Fullness White Oak” because of its dense round crown. More than likely it is a hybrid with bur oak called Quercus bebbiana. We hope to offer seeds of it this fall.