Tree Of The Week — The Mighty Oak

What a relief — still there. Tropical storm Isaias knocked down many of our towering shade trees, but this oak behind the Woods-Gerry Gallery on Prospect Street has emerged unscathed. And this was no accident. Seen here is a case study in how proper pruning and maintenance can help the big trees survive hurricane season, year after year. Opening the crown and reducing wind resistance allows the wind to blow through without pulling the whole thing down. (Tree services can be expensive, but a lot can be accomplished in the first ten years or so when you can easily reach the branches.)

So let’s not despair over our recent losses — get out there and plant a replacement, one of the many species of giant canopy trees that will be enjoyed by future generations. Oaks are just one of your choices, but the two species mentioned above are extremely hardy here, tolerant of city conditions, and have deep roots that won’t mess with nearby pavement.

I believe the tree pictured here is either a Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) or a White Oak (Quercus alba). Feel free to enlighten me. Either one would be a good choice for your yard.

Check out the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program and learn how to get new trees for your street.

Consider joining the PVD Community Tree Keepers:

In Fall 2016 the Providence Parks Department’s Forestry Division and PNPP together launched Providence Community Tree Keepers (formerly Providence Citizen Foresters). The program provides technical training on pruning and stewarding of young trees to residents who already have a basic understanding of gardening/plant biology or who have participated in tree planting/stewardship efforts before. It is a terrific opportunity to engage further with our urban forest and become a leader in the Providence tree community! Volunteers who complete the program are authorized to prune and maintain young city street & park trees, in accordance with PCTK policies and guidelines.

URI has a great reference site, Rhode Island Woods, with cultural specs and tree identification help.

*At least. I’m just guessing. All I know is I needed a wider angle lens to capture the entire crown of this spreading giant.


Get over to the Woods-Gerry Gallery and set a spell . . . great views of the city from up there and some wonderful shade plantings which thrive in the dappled light. This is the trunk of this week’s tree.


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