When you live in a place which experiences strong winds from time to time, choosing trees for your yard becomes more than simply considering height, colour and girth. Limb strength and strong root systems are crucial to avoid property damage, or worse, from declining trees during high winds. Fortunately, Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii), indigenous to the Eastern U.S., has survived a few of the most destructive winds on the planet — from hurricanes. Shumard oak grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Determining Wind Resistance
In the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, a study on the effects of hurricanes on urban trees charted the degree of hurt trees suffered in storms with winds ranging from 85 to 165 mph. Branch loss and if the tree dropped, leaned or stayed upright in the storms helped scientists determine which tree species would be wind resistant. Bigger trees, generally speaking, suffered much more wind damage than smaller islands. The strongest tornadoes can produce winds in excess of 300 mph. Trees rarely survive such strong storms.
Standing Up to Wind
The University of Florida study ranked Shumard oak at medium-high wind resistance. Live oak (Quercus virginiana), which rises in USDA zones 7 through 10, is among only four pine species with greater wind resistance ratings. In areas which don’t experience hurricane-force winds, Shumard oaks can be a secure addition to the yard provided that they’re properly cared for. Oaks have a strong root system to help hold them at the ground when winds batter the canopy.
Factors to Consider
Merely measuring the speed of winds blasting throughout the yard is not sufficient to ascertain the immunity of any tree species. The state of the soil, overall health of the tree, the tree’s size and age, plus the amount of rain and the forward speed of the storm itself also donate to the tree’s ability to withstand high winds. Old trees and trees suffering from damage or disease might be less reliable and must be checked by an arborist for security’s sake. The Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at California speeds the Shumard oak’s division strength as strong.
Shumard oaks can endure more than 150 decades and develop 65 feet tall. The stately trees offer ample shade in summer and the deeply lobed leaves put on a stunning show when they change color in autumn. Shumard oaks grow well in wet to dry soil in full sunlight to partial shade. They bear clay, loamy or sandy soil with a pH level ranging from highly acidic to slightly alkaline. Proper growing conditions keep the tree healthy and protect its natural ability to withstand wind damage.