A live oak north of the Mason-Dixon?

    A reader had a question about oak trees following a post about Philadelphia street trees from Ground Level blogger Nicole Juday: Had he discovered a live oak in his neighborhood?

    In her Ground Level column, Nicole Juday wrote the last post in a series on Philadelphia street trees on the mighty oak tree.

    NewsWorks reader Jack Peters wrote in to ask about indentifying one tree in particular, the live oak, a traditionally Southern species:

    “We have oak trees in our neighborhood that have pointy narrow leaves, somewhat like those of “live” oaks that are down south. Are these truly oaks or have we misnamed them?”

    Juday wrote back:

    “I have only seen one live oak in Philadelphia, which is in Fairmount Park near the Horticultural Center. We’re pretty far north of its usual range. I wonder if the oak trees you are seeing are willow oaks. These are large trees with tiny, narrow leaves the size of minnows.

    “Another possibility would be the sawtooth oak, a smaller tree whose leaves have little barbs (like the blade of a saw). A check on Google images should confirm whether either of these guesses are right.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.