Bur oak

Bur oaks are characteristic of “oak openings” or areas of oak mixed with grasslands. The famous naturalist Aldo Leopold wrote about them in “Sand County Almanac.” They are robust against fire, which is one of the ways they survive. They grow slowly. Some get pretty big; others just get old but stay small.

There are two bur oaks that I know “personally.” One is at Dover Street School and the other in Humboldt Park. Both are big and old. They were old when I was young. The first pictures is at Dover. I played under it when I was in kindergarten. It used to be surrounded by asphalt, which evidently did it no harm. Now it has grass. The other one is in Humboldt Park. I admired it since I was young, although not as long as the one at Dover St.

The next picture are honey locusts along Pine Avenue. They were planted in the 1970s. They take a very long time to grow, but they keep on going and get pretty big. The last picture is a big old cottonwood at Grant Park. I like cottonwoods. They grow fast and don’t live long (for a tree) but they are good early succession trees.