October 24, 2016 0

Trees of Colorado: The Heritage Oak

If you want a large, stately shade tree for your landscape, consider the Heritage Oak. Oak trees come in a staggering variety of sizes and shapes and are one of the most widely distributed trees in North America with native growth in all of the lower 48 states. The Heritage Oak is a hybrid of the English Oak and the Bur Oak, combining the height of the English with the spreading habit of the Bur for a beautiful tree that’s up to 60 feet tall with a pyramidal spread of up to 45 feet.

Dark Foliage, Acorns and Fall Colors

Faster growing than most oaks, the Heritage Oak has leathery, lobed dark green leaves throughout the growing season. Its insignificant spring flowers develop into acorns, which can be messy but also attract a significant amount of wildlife, including birds and squirrels. Its fall color is an unremarkable yellow-brown before its leaves drop for winter.

Long-Lived, Adaptable and Disease Resistant

The Heritage is an extremely long-lived tree—some are over 300 years old—that adapts well to alkaline soils common to Colorado. It’s disease resistant, generally pest-free, and hardy to -30°F at altitudes up to 6,000 feet.

Strong, Low Maintenance and Ideal in Open Areas

Heritage Oaks have a strong central trunk with wide lower branches that taper toward the top. They’re very healthy and other than cleaning up acorns in areas that will be mowed, about the only maintenance needed is an occasional pruning in late winter to get ready for new spring growth.

Heritage Oaks are large trees that should be planted in full sun away from power lines or other overhead obstructions. Plant them in open areas to prevent crowding, but they can be complemented with showier shrubs and small trees that contrast with the oak’s dense monochromatic green. The Heritage likes average to moist soil, so applying a thick layer of mulch around the root zone will help hold moisture in dry spells and insulate the roots in periods of extreme cold. It’s highly tolerant of urban pollution, so it’s a good choice for planting in cities.

If you’re planning to add a Heritage Oak to your landscape, or need maintenance of existing trees, Donovan Arborists offers full landscaping services in the Denver area. Call us today at 303-623-8733.

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