FROM EL PASO TO TEXARKANA: NEW TEXAS
SUPERSTAR OAK SHINES IN
Writer: Robert Burns, (903) 834-6191, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacts: Dr. Michael Arnold, (979) 845-1499, email@example.com
Dr. Brent Pemberton, (903) 834-6191, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION - - In trials across the state, chinkapin oak
has proven itself to be one of the best adapted, drought hardy
of shade tree available, said a Texas A&M University horticulturist.
"Tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions
is one of
the chinkapin oak's best characteristics," said Dr. Michael
"Chinkapin oaks are very heat tolerant, thriving IN from
Central Texas and even in El Paso."
Because of it's hardiness, and its "handsome" qualities,
chinkaqin oak has recently been designated a Texas Superstar,
Begun in the late 1980s, the Texas Superstar program is designed
to identify plants that will perform well for Texas consumers.
member Executive Committee selects plants for trials that are
as far east as Overton, as far north as Dallas, as far south as
Station and San Antonio, and as far west as El Paso. Each year,
Superstar board members will select candidates for the program.
Selections come from the Committee board members' research and
observation - most are all Texas A&M horticulturists - to
from commercial nursery and plant farm owners, and private individuals.
Superstar candidates may come from out-of-state, but most generally
come from in-state.
"For example, one of our current candidates was found in
Central Texas cemetery - a flowering perennial," said Dr.
Pemberton, horticulturist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment
and member of the Superstar Executive Committee board.
Superstar candidates are tested from one to three years at the
various sites, with attention given to hardiness, disease resistence
But with the primary requirement being wide-ranging
adaptability, only a small percentage of the candidate plants
being designated as Superstars, Pemberton said.
Chinkapin oak, though not widely grown, easily met the wide
ranging adaptability requirement, Arnold said..
It is most commonly known as chinkapin oak, sometimes spelled
"chinqapin." But it is also known as bray oak, chestnut
chestnut oak, rock chestnut oak, rock oak or yellow oak. Chinkapin
chinqapin is generally believed to be derived from "chinkomen,"
Algonquin (Native American) term for chestnut.
This is name stems from it having 4 - to 6-inch long leaves
resembling those of chestnut trees. Chinkapins are what's considered
"medium size" shade tree, Arnold said, growing to be
in the 30 - 50 foot
" Thus, chinkapin oak remains more in scale with Texas
residential plantings than some larger shade trees," Arnold
Arnold writes in his official review of the tree: "The
foliage emerges reddish to green and matures to a dark lustrous
late spring. Foliage of chinkapin oak is not frequently bothered
insect or diseases, remaining presentable throughout the growing
In some years chinkapin oak will also develop a pleasing yellow,
orange-brown, to rich brown fall color. As a young plant the canopy
typically and upright oval, with the crown eventually becoming
rounded and spreading with age. The flaky light brown to grayish
bark is reminiscent of that of white oak. Chinkapin oak's sweet
are very palatable to a variety of animals, thus serving as an
environmentally friendly food source for attracting urban wildlife."
Arnold also noted in his review that it is chinkapin's heat
drought tolerance that makes the species so widely adaptable throughout
Texas. The tree species grows better in neutral to somewhat alkaline
soils, Arnold said, but also tolerates acid soils, another factor
lends to its adaptability.
"Chlorosis (yellowing of the foliage) so common on many
high pH soils is seldom a problem with chinkapin oak," Arnold's
Chinkapin oaks are also less susceptible to wilt than most red
or live oak species, " he said.