Ryan Russell's blog

New Champions in New Mexico

Quercus oblongifolia

I enjoy finding giant trees, and always keep an eye open and a tape measure handy. Some of my finds are only giants in the sense that they are large for their species, such as my National Champion Prunus hortulana (30 ft tall). When my family and I got the chance to traipse around New Mexico in the fall of 2016, acorns and photos were not the only things on my mind. I also brought my tape measure. 

Following a very mild South Carolina winter, many species of plants had begun to break dormancy by mid-March, nearly a month ahead of schedule, setting the table for a potentially disastrous situation.  

Kansas City, Missouri’s Legacy Tree Program

Late September in Missouri is typically the start of acorn season, the most important time of the year for a quercophile. My good friend, Alan Branhagen, Director of Horticulture for Powell Gardens, south of Kansas City, had sent me pictures of a few cool oaks he had recently found. I invited myself up for a day trip to tag along with Alan and his lead propagator Jesse Stauffer-Baum.

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