I’ve driven past this tree almost daily, a few blocks from my abode.
UTEP’s Juan Blanco told me about this tree, and how our far-out west Texas urban forester, Oscar Mestas, has more details. Richard Burges planted this oak in 1915, after building his house. A former Texas state legislator, originally from Seguin, he introduced the bill to form the Texas A&M Forest Service.
There’s more – here. Photos from 1/3/2014 –
Proof-positive some oaks don’t need rich, chocolate cake soil…this is arid, rocky and alkaline El Paso; not fertile soils ala Fargo or the Blackland Prairie. This tree does have irrigation, but nothing like riparian cottonwoods thirst after with age.
I don’t know if this tree was brought in from California, but it’s most definitely not a Coast Live Oak / Quercus agrifolia. (form, bark, foliage, acorns, …)
Contrary to the above link, I agree with another speculation – that Burges brought this tree with him from the live oak epicenter (and brisket belt) of central Texas, since he was in Austin while in the Texas State Legislature. Though, live oaks growing wild in hot, dry valleys and canyons in inland California were more proof they could be used in desert gardens.
You might recall my photos of different live oaks from nearby foothills.
No wonder others and I specify this winner in regional landscapes!
Unlike humid central Texas, this oak has no ball moss growing on its branches. With the combination of smog and dry air here, no lichens are evident, either. But you get the idea.
I’ll try to dig up some old photos, or take some new ones, of a few species of common live oaks in southern California or San Diego.