Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...
Here are two of Kentucky's native trees growing side by side in a Christian County pasture. The large, spreading tree on the left is a southern red oak ("Spanish oak"), and the tree on the right is a black walnut.
Apparently both have grown to maturity with almost unlimited room to spread their branches. The difference in branching structure of the two trees is interesting. The southern red oak has spread out luxuriously in all directions. The black walnut is taller but the diameter of its spread is somewhat smaller than the oak, despite all the growing room it had.
I don't know why I cut off the top of the black walnut in the photo! I guess I was looking just at the southern red oak which has a lot more visual impact currently.
The black walnut appears to have been struck by lightning (see the long stripe of missing bark on its side), but it's still alive. It has just lost its leaves early, as black walnuts always do. They're one of the first trees to go bare in the fall. It's had a good crop of nuts, though, and some are still hanging on the tree.
Southern red oaks are one of my favorite trees. A large, beautiful specimen grows along our lane. I'd estimate its age as several hundred years. Sadly, a shelf fungus is growing on one of its roots, and that's not a good sign. It means that root is dead.