(Toledo, OH) In my yard is one of the largest oak trees in my neighborhood. To be completely accurate the tree straddles my property line, so two homeowners can lay claim to "possessing" the tree.
This oak is is over 100 feet tall, and has a circumference of over 12 feet. The canopy that the tree creates extends at least 120 feet, and it provides a great deal of shade in the muggy Toledo summers.
Quercus shumardii is its scientific name, but it also goes by the moniker of Shumard oak. The tree is about 150 years old, based on statistical tables that use circumference as a rough gauge to determining tree age.
Left: The sun trying to cut through the brilliant green of the oak leaves
The leaves on the tree are just beginning to fill out, but the full effect of their dense sun-blocking abilities will not be felt until June.
In addition the tree has been a source of recreation for my children (and extreme angst to me), providing them with massive branches that could support a small elephant. They must climb a neighboring pine tree to access the lowest branches, which are at least 20 feet off the ground.
I do not condone the climbing of this tree, but several of my children exhibit an almost reckless disregard for heights. I, personally, get dizzy climbing anything higher than a stepladder.
The tree produces copious amounts of leaves in the fall, and neighborhood squirrels make it a go-to destination to collect its acorns. They make sure to also raid my bird feeders year round, but I take a live-and-let-live attitude toward the furry rodents.
Among my favorite daily routines is sitting on a bench that I have parked under the tree, and watching the fish in the small pond I installed a few years ago. Even on the hottest days a brief respite can be reached under this tree.