OAKtober is here! Seven-year-olds are reproducing! The 2023 mast year is joined by thriving bur oaks, descendants of the legacy Hobson Oak, now dropping acorns of their own. The Morton Arboretum, in cooperation with Naperville Outdoor Alliance, germinated several hundred of the legacy’s last acorns in 2016.
Proceeds from the sale of Hobson Oak seedlings have benefited the Arboretum, Naperville Park District Scholarship Program, School District 203 NNHS Bicycle Program, and Greene Valley Forest Preserve. In addition, many individuals planted and nurtured seedlings on the local landscape, the City of Naperville planted Hobson Oak seedlings to replace some trees lost from the 2021 tornado, and various Naperville parks welcomed some young bur oaks.
During its 250+ years, the distinct and beloved bur oak along the East Branch of the DuPage River just west of IL Route 53 near Naperville saw bison, Indigenous peoples, Euro-Americans, farm families, cars and contemporary utilities under its branches. Ultimately, a forester’s report sealed its fate. The legacy Hobson Oak was thoughtfully removed from the landscape on November 17, 2016.
Earlier that autumn, the last acorns were gathered. The Morton Arboretum germinated the majority (Possibility Place Nursery also partnered) and the next generation emerged. By 2018, they were ready to sink in permanent roots. Local residents with a passion for the Hobson Oak and the environment eagerly stepped up to plant a legacy bur oak seedling. Girl Scouts of Prairie Elementary School planted one on campus. Meadow Glen School and DuPage County also welcomed them.
For more information about how to plant and care for trees, The Morton Arboretum offers a free Plant Clinic, which provides assistance by phone (630-719-2424), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or walk-in. Plant a tree today!