Today I want to share a guest post by a very talented friend, Jay White. Jay is an amateur horticulturist and garden writer/blogger from Brenham, Texas. His wonderful wife Sally was my son’s teacher last year! So we adore this family for many reasons. This past weekend, Jay planted two very large, and very beautiful, Empire Live Oaks in our yard. I asked Jay to guest post about the experience and his thoughts are below. You can read more of his wonderful tips on his blog here. . . and thank you Jay and Sally for your help with the wonderful trees!
When Holly and Elton bought their house 13 years ago, there were two large and beautiful water oaks in the front yard. Throughout the years, Holly came to love these trees. Not only did their massive size shade the yard and provide a sense of age and presence to the home, they protected the front of the house from the summer sun and reduced her cooling bills. However, what Holly treasured most was the way that the leaves and branches filtered out the glare of the hot Texas sun and bathed her living and dining rooms in a lovely soft and warm light.
Unfortunately, like many of us, the drought of the last three years killed Holly’s water oaks. The removal of the dead trees drastically affected the way the house looked from the street. However, it was the way that their absence changed the light inside the house that upset Holly the most. Holly told me that as a decorator, she is extremely sensitive to the visual. When she created her interior spaces the filtered light provided by the oak trees was as much a component of the rooms as were the rugs, the furniture and the paint choices. The missing trees changed the light and the light changed the visual impact of the room.
Holly and I started discussing this project back in August. However, we waited until now to move forward because October is the optimal time to plant trees in our part of the state. I recommended two 65 gallon Empire Live Oaks for her yard. Unlike standard live oaks that tend to branch toward the ground (and interfere with mowing and kill all of the grass under the canopy), the Empire Live Oak was developed by Tree Town USA to grow a thick, straight central trunk and develop an upright branching pattern that allows grass to grow under it (even St. Augustine) and does not interfere with mowing.
The trees we selected were massive. At over 16’ tall and 300 pounds each, it took me, my son and Holly’s landscape crew to get them installed. While this took some effort, the results were definitely worth it. The trees were big enough to fill the empty space left by the old trees and tall enough to once again fill the house with the warm, filtered light that Holly was missing.
Trees add so much to a home. Not only do they increase resale value and help reduce energy bills, Holly showed me that they can also help make the inside of your home more beautiful too.
Holly and Elton even had a little tree ceremony with their boys to welcome the trees and promise to water and care for them! If you would like to add some trees to your landscape, or learn how to better care for the ones you already have, be sure to stop by my blog. In addition to great tips on vegetables and ornamentals, you will find several articles about tree selection, installation and care. Hope to see you there. -Jay White
Thanks Jay for sharing on the blog. You can see from my big smile how thrilled I am with this addition to our home. We have been getting a lot of rain so I am hoping the trees will do well and establish deep roots. We did have a little ceremony with the boys. Henry took it a bit more seriously than his brother but they are very excited about the trees! To find out more about Empire Oak trees read Jay’s post here from his blog. Empire oaks were developed by and are grown exclusively by Tree Town USA. Check out more about Tree Town here, you can ask your local garden center about getting these specific trees!