Posted 31 May 2011 - 06:21 PM
I walked some of the trail in the oak's vicinity, but missed it. I also didn't have the camera. The forest has the largest trees (other than remnant bald cypress) that I've seen in peninsular Florida. Of course it's not much of a region for big trees.
The area had sugar plantations during the British, second Spanish and pre-Seminole War American periods. That must have meant a big demand for firewood. Quite possibly the planters preferred to cut pines.
It's apparently impossible to date live oaks. Two large ones in my Jacksonville back yard were definitely fifty years old. The Fairchild tree is definitely much older. Live oaks don't usually have high canopies (inland, southern magnolias will grow up under them, go straight up, and develop canopies above the live oak. Sweet gums can do the same. So, according to Dr. Putz at the University of Florida, live oaks must need periodic low-intensity ground fires to keep those other hardwoods at bay. He thinks northern Florida is losing its live oaks.
You can run into chiggers anywhere. I doubt that tillandsia is a special magnet. During a May drought somewhere around 1901, a Spanish moss mattress factory in Jacksonville caught fire. Bits of flaming moss flew through the downtown area, setting everything on fire, other than the statue atop a column in the central square. Sort of a dress rehearsal for the San Francisco fire, which left the Union Square column intact. A prominent Jacksonville architect thought of moving to SF, but didn't.
Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Florida Climate Center zone 10a
arborday.org 2004 hardiness zone 10
4 km inland from Indian River