The Helpful Gardener wrote:Mag man, you are missing the salient point; this gardener is in England...eliminates most of your list...
So VT, you're thinking that Worried just lost some land? That might explain the cryptic nature of this missive... What do you make of the lack of acorns? Sterility? Predation? Wishful thinking?
Well, the thought had crossed my mind. A single and rather hansome specimin in an open field that isn't wanted? Trees were very often used as reference points on early American surveys, and since most of the surveyors (Washington was one in our area) were trained in English land law, it stands to reason that trees were used as witness references in England.
Now the lack of acorns is yet a mystery to me. i am not all that familiar with the silvics of English oak so I'm not ready to render a solid opinion on that one. But erratic nut crops is rather common among the oaks. Often they will not bear in a year following a heavy crop... resting mode so to speak. Also late frosts, summer drought etc. may impact mast crops in any one year. Of course those species in the White oak division of the species take two years for acorns to mature, so there will always be at least one off year for any individual tree in this division.
On hybridizing of oak species. I have been a practicing forester for 30 years and have seen very little evidnece that natural hybridizing occurs much in the wild. The vast majority of oaks out there are pretty much true to form to species with some variation in leaf shape. But for the most part a practiced eye can pretty quickly identify a species. I won't say it doesn't happen occasionally and I have seen a few specimens over the years that I would suspect of being hybrids. Juvenile leaves of oak seedlings do vary widely in shape and size with in a species and often on the same seedling. though. I would not use juvenile leaf shape as an identification or hybridization criteria.