There were few Red Oaks in Central Vermont when we moved here 40 years ago. They are now a prominent part of the forest in many areas—mostly spread by squirrels, Blue Jays and people. We’ve planted many along our streets because—despite the possibility of Oak Wilt—they are quite rugged.
I could count the White Oaks in the area on one hand, literally, until 15 years ago when a local college and our Montpelier Tree Board began to plant more of them. The ones that grew prior to that were 100-year old or more specimen trees that had clearly been planted in special places.
Nearer Burlingon, where the temperature is moderated by Lake Champlain, groves of ancient, immense native White Oaks grew. Sadly few remain, having been cut for timber or, more recently, by developers. If you happen to be at the shopping mall in Williston, Vermont, called Maple Tree Place—seriously, not a single native Maple on the place—one of these grand White Oaks remains, thanks to a push by the local zoning board, and is well worth stopping by to see (in red circle below), even if it is painful to see the surroundings.
We now have some wonderful Pin Oaks, Swamp White Oaks, a number of amazing Burr Oaks and one English Oak, all joys to behold any time of year. All tend to keep many leaves throughout the winter, possibly a throw-back to a more Southern heritage or some other factor.
The young leaves of both Red and White Oaks are just opening this week and many individuals are flowering—such lovely sights!