The Wye Oak Lives

Cloned seedlings on sale now

The Wye Oak, fallen in 2002, lives on in cloned seedlings.

Seedlings of the Wye Oak are once again offered for sale by Maryland Department of Natural Resources. I myself can guarantee that these are truly seedlings of the original Wye Oak, as I started cloning them in the late 1990s before the Wye Oak was destroyed by high winds 2002. It normally takes 28 to 32 years for oak seedlings to mature and start producing acorns. Clones are quicker. I produced 33 Wye Oak clones, which started producing acorns within eight to 10 years.
    These seedlings are identical to the Wye Oak seedlings sold before disastrous winds toppled the ancient progenitor. The Wye Oak contributes one-half of the genetic makeup of these seedlings, while the other half comes from surrounding white oaks.
    The Wye Oak always impressed me because of its massive structure, its resistance to the white oak blight that occurs every summer, its lack of appeal to predatory gypsy moths and its status as the Grand Champion white oak, which made it the largest white oak in the world. It lived to a ripe old age of 460 years, despite the fact that it had a trunk cavity large enough to accommodate a card table and four card players. A manhole cover was bolted on the west side of one of the brace roots and removed periodically so that the cavity could be inspected to control termites and carpenter ants.
    In 1974 and ’75, I grew approximately 75 Wye Oak seedlings in five-gallon containers for DNR to distribute in 1976 to communities in Maryland and to other states in honor of our country’s 200th anniversary. Seedlings of the Wye Oak are well distributed through this country because many who lived in Maryland but moved away purchased Wye Oak seedlings to plant in the yards of their new homes. Many school children in Maryland planted Wye Oak seedlings on Arbor Day.
    Purchase Wye Oak seedlings from DNR at shopdnr.com/wyeoakseedling.
aspx. They sell for $50 plus 6 percent sales tax. Residents of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware add $8 for shipping and handling. The seedlings will be shipped spring of 2012.
    Order now because there is a limited number of seedlings and orders will be filled on a first-come first-served basis.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.