Afternoon everyone and how is your Sunday so far?
Today has been one of research, questions and flower planting, perfect activities for the beautiful weather we are having today. The current temperature is 81 degrees and I just finished up the planting of some marigolds and bedding plants in the planters either side of my mailbox. Last year, they held the begonias the original owners had planted, but I wanted something different this year.
I had so many marigolds left over, I put some in the pots around my back yard.
Before we went to brunch and shopping however, I had to research what these seed pods I found in my front yard were.
Turns out they are a growth on our oak trees called an apple oak gall. It looks like a seed or a fruit, when actually it is the nursery for a wasp by the same name. What happens is the female oak gall wasp lays her egg inside the central vein of a developing oak leaf. Then, the egg takes over the leaf’s normal development and forms the round “gall” shape. The wasp larvae feeds on the nutrients the leaf provide during the summer until it chews its way out when it reaches adulthood. In the fall you might see dried up gall balls, each with a tiny hole where the wasp has exited.
When I opened the green ball, (which was light as a feather) it looked like a spidery cotton material inside and I thought maybe it was what an acorn started out as. Wrong. Who knew it was the home for a baby insect? They are not harmful to the tree nor are the wasps harmful to us. According to Ask A Naturalist website, if you find one that’s green and has a hole, it’s likely some other insect chewed it’s way in and ate the baby wasp. That’s bummer because some wasps are actually beneficial to the garden, eating aphids, ticks and other nasty bothers.
After the planting was done, I went on another quest to figure out what kind of oaks we have. Earlier when looking at the galls, I saw pictures of several different oaks and became intrigued at which type we had, based on the shape of our leaves.
David thought it was a live oak, but the leaves don’t match. I googled it and the closest thing I could find was the pin oak, which grows to about 65 ft and has a wonderful canopy (just like ours 🙂 ). So, unless someone has a better guess, I’m calling it a pin oak.
Other than that, it’s been a sort of lazy, do nothing weekend and we are now under a tornado watch. Welcome to spring in Texas!
Stay safe everyone and I will see you tomorrow for Motivational Monday!