How big can oak trees get


Red Oak vs. White Oak Tree Growth Rate & Key Differences

Red oak, white oak, which oak? Oak trees may all seem the same, but there are differences between them that are worth knowing of. Their growth rate, maximum size, bark and leaf color, and adaptability are some things to consider when planting an oak. 

In truth, white oak trees have grey bark that tends to be divided into small, vertical blocks on the tree, while red oak trees have dark red/grey/brown bark with a scaly texture. White oaks live up to 600 years and grow 18in annually, while red oaks live up to 500 years and grow 24in annually.

Truthfully, oak trees are quite durable, they are beautiful, and they can grow to last incredibly long. When it comes down to it, personal preference is a big player in choosing a tree, and we want to give you the right keys to do so.

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What is the Lifespan of a Red Oak vs. White Oak?

There’s no question that red and white oaks have significant differences, but what exactly does that mean? Why does it matter?

For one, the lifespan of these two species can say a lot about longevity, their prime, and what to expect from each species.

White oaks as individual plants live for around five hundred to six hundred years. 

Lake Forest College research shows that red oaks, while similar in lifespan, do have a timeline that is cut a bit shorter than that of their white oak counterparts. Red oaks live about three hundred to five hundred years. 

So, we can see that the lower end of the typical lifespan of a white oak corresponds to the higher end of that of the red oak species. 

While let’s face it, that many hundreds of years are still almost longer than we may be able to comprehend, there is a good deal of variety within what that looks like between red and white oaks.

If you’re interested in learning how long oak trees live, you can view our guide and data of the full lifespan for each common oak tree here.

How Quickly Does An Oak Tree Grow?

Okay, now let’s talk about annual growth. White oaks grow incredibly slow at a rate of about 12 to 24 inches per year, which is relatively slow in relation to other trees of a similar caliber. 

Red oaks are pretty similar in this regard. Thanks to research from the Nebraska Forest Service, we see that red oak trees grow at a rate of about 18 to 24 inches per year. On average, this happens just a little more quickly than the typical white oak.

Physical Characteristics of Red & White Oak Trees

One of the most identifiable traits of difference between white oak trees and red oak trees is, naturally, their physical traits. Most commonly, this includes their various bark, leaf, and color differences.

If you’re interested, you can read our guide with the pros and cons of the best oak trees to plant here.

Bark Color

Bark color provides the most noticeable difference between red and white oak trees and is KEY to identifying the difference between each.

Red Oak Tree Bark Color

When trees are still young and trunks are thin, the bark is a smooth light grey. The winter sun causes this light color to be quite reflective, and the bark is surprisingly smooth before age has a chance to change its design. This can sometimes be seen on large branches of a mature tree. 

The bark of a red oak tree has a dark color that can only be described as red/grey/brown and has a scaly texture with thin, rounded ridges. Twigs end in a cluster of buds, and the red oak ends in reddish-brown twigs that display light-colored buds. 

As the bark ages, ridges develop and leave the trunk a mix of shiny grey with dark fissures coming through. On old trees, the bark deepens further to be a dark brown shade. In very aged trees, the very bottom portion of the trunk sports fissures that are deeper and ridges that are no longer the flat, even texture of a middle-aged tree. In old trees, there is a more pronounced texture and darker colors that range from dark grey to black. 

White Oak Tree Bark Color

The bark of a white oak tree is grey and tends to be divided into small, vertical blocks thanks to shallow fissures that run the length of the trunk. These thin, irregular flakes vary from light to a deeper, more ashen grey color.

Twigs are grey to purple in color, with buds that have blunt points. This is a bit unlike those of the red oak, which are a bit softer with more muted edges and coloring. 

Leaf Shape and Color

Below, we’re going to break down the leaf shape and color for red oak trees and the major differences for each. If you’re interested in learning the difference between oak and maple trees overall, you can read our piece on the major leaf and bark differences of oak and maple trees here.

Red Oak Tree Leaf Characteristics

These moderately shiny leaves have a wide variety of colors throughout the seasons; in the summer, they range from light to deep, dark green, and then shift to gold or crimson as the summer creeps on.

The leaf of a red oak tree is smooth, almost shiny. As deciduous trees, they have some irregular bristle-tipped teeth. They, on average, are about 4 to 10 inches long and 3 to 6 inches wide.

In the fall months, the leaves of a red oak continue to deepen to either a vibrant orange or an even deeper crimson. In the fall, these leaves can be bright red, maroon, crimson, golden-yellow, yellow-brown, or a mix of color even darker but just as stunning.

White Oak Tree Leaf Characteristics

White oaks have leaves that range from 5 to 9 inches long, while their width is smaller at 2 to 4 inches. Instead of more jagged, bristled points, they have blunt-ended ones that vary in size and shape based on the location and other trees around. 

The leaves are pretty thick and may not fall from the tree throughout the winter months, unlike those of the red oak. They will fall off eventually but do tend to last longer and provide a very picturesque contrast of bright white against a deep reddish-brown color.

Best Oak Tree Hardiness Zone

Old northern red oak tree (Quercus rubra) with colorful autumn leaves in a park.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what exactly the best growing zone for an oak tree is? Have you wondered if that differs between red and white oaks? Well, we are certainly glad that you’ve kept reading this far because this one’s for you!

First, what on earth is a hardiness zone? 

The USDA defines different hardiness zones across the country, which can be found on a map here. Oak trees fall into the lower number range, which means that they are hardier trees. Okay… and?

Well, this means that these trees can do well in lower temperatures. 

The way that the USDA hardiness zones work is that each zone represents a range of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The zones are then divided into letters A and B. They break down the 10-degree temperature range in half, the lower 5 degrees of the range and the higher.  

For example, zone 5 represents minimum temperatures in the range of -10 to -20 F. SO, subzone 5a would be referring to temperatures of -10 to -15 F, and subzone 5b refers to -15 to -20 F.

Does that make sense? If you aren’t quite there, we get it. This is a lot of letters and numbers to think about. So, we are going to explain a little more. 

A hardiness zone deals with the information on what types of plants can survive certain climate conditions, including the ability to survive in a given minimum temperature range. Queue our hardiness, or growing, zones! 

Hardiness is a measure of how well a plant will survive cold temperatures; the USDA zones cover the basics of these temperatures and predictions but, like most systems, cannot account for every factor. 

Precipitation, elevation, and freeze dates are some things that get overlooked in this system. It is, however, the standard, and so, therefore, we are explaining in those terms.

Now, does that make more sense? Let’s talk about what hardiness zones our oak trees fall into. Spoiler alert, this is one of the biggest similarities between these two species.

Also, if you’re thinking about planting an oak tree in your backyard, refer to the hardiness guide and check out our piece on planting oak trees in your backyard. 

Best Red Oak Tree Hardiness Zone

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources tells us that red oak trees thrive in partial to full sun and can be found in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 7. Generally, temperatures from 10 to -30 Fahrenheit are going to be survivable when it comes to red oak.

Red oak trees generally can survive up to USDA hardiness zone 8. Red oak trees can live anywhere from 300-500 years and can reach a full height of up to 140ft. Annually, red oak trees can grow up to 24in per year.

White Oak Tree Hardiness Zone

Now, here’s some interesting info for white oak trees.

White oaks range from zone 3b to zone 9b. Generally, varieties of white oak trees can survive in temperatures as low as 30 to -40 Fahrenheit. White oak trees can live anywhere from 500-600 years, grow up to 18in annually, and reach a full height of 80ft.

The reason for this range that we see for both types of oak is that some varieties of white oak may be a bit less hardy than others. Additionally, there are many factors to consider when looking at these zones. Temperature is not the only extenuating circumstance that could cause issues with a tree. 

Oak Tree Adaptability

Red and white oak trees are quite adaptable, but what kind of soil do they like, and where do they grow best? Well, let’s get to it!

Red Oak Tree Soil Preference

Red oaks can thrive in any soil. It doesn’t get much more adaptable than that, does it? 

Red oak trees prefer moist, deep soil that is rich and slightly acidic, but it can easily adapt to dry soils with neutral or even slightly alkaline pH.

White Oak Tree Soil Preference

One type of soil that white oaks do not thrive in is that which is shallow, too compact, or overused.  

White oak trees grow their very best in areas that have moist yet well-drained soils. However, like red oaks, they are adaptable to more adverse conditions thanks to their deep root system that allows them to tolerate drought as they mature. 

This species thrives in areas with slightly acidic, deep, rich soil where the sunlight beams and the water is not too abundant. 

How Tall Do Red and White Oak Trees Grow? 

Red and white oak trees can get pretty dang tall! Below, we’ve outlined a bit of a scenario for you regarding the natural growth of these oak trees.

Red Oak Tree 10 Year Height

At 10 years, the red oak tree is starting to get taller, so much so that it has now outgrown the people who planted it.

After 10 years, red oak trees are still quite young, but the trunk is getting a bit wider, and the height begins to make it look like a substantial tree. Red oak trees will be 15 to 20 feet tall at 10 years after first being planted.

White Oak Tree 10 Year Height

The white oak begins its first portion of life a bit more gently; following the red oak closely, a white oak tree will be 10 to 15 feet tall after 10 years of growth. Still taller than any person, it has not quite matured to the thickness or texture of a mature tree.

Red Oak Tree 25 Year Height

After 25 years, the red oak tree doubles and triples its size and will grow 35 to 40 feet tall. After 25 years, red oak trees will stand above a typical 2-story home and tower over people, younger trees, and most suburban architecture.

White Oak Tree 25 Year Height

At 25 years after being planted, a white oak tree will reach about 30 to 40 feet tall. At this point in its lifespan, the white oak tree is now a close competitor in the height category to the red oak.

Red Oak Tree 50 Year Height

50 years after the red oak tree was planted, it is about the height of a 4-story building, reaching 55 to 65 feet tall.  

White Oak Tree 50 Year Height

Did someone say a 4-story building after 50 years? Try a 5-story since the white oak is now generally taller for its age at 50 to 75 feet tall.

What is The Peak Height of an Oak Tree?

Overall, both red and oak trees have remarkable heights once fully grown. Here’s a peek at their full height below.

Red Oak Tree Peak Height

White oaks may have surpassed the red ones at the three 50 year mark, but let’s not forget that there are a ton of varieties of this species, and the northern red oak is one of them.

In many forests, red oak trees grow straight and tall, reaching a peak height of anywhere from 90 feet to an incredible 140 ft tall, while the trunk’s diameter reaches around 2 to 3 feet.

White Oak Tree Peak Height

The peak height of white oak can vary between the types of trees that fall under this title.

White oak trees often mature to something between 50 and 80 feet tall but are they are capable of growing upwards of 100 feet tall. 80 to 100 feet is a common range when we get to the ‘highest’ range of mature growth in this tree. In the individuals that grow to about 100 feet, the diameter of the trunk is going to be about 3 to 4 feet. 

These get HUGE.

That’s a Wrap!

Now that we know a little more about the major types of oak trees, how they grow, where they thrive, and what they can be expected to become in a few centuries, it’s clear that there is a lot to know about oaks.

Red and white oaks are similar trees but, at the end of the day, there are many differences that shape their identities as individual species. 

Keep in mind that white oaks tend to live a little longer, so if you’re worried about your descendants reaping the benefits of a specific tree you’ve planted, this might be the one for you. 

Red oaks, however, grow a little faster at 18-24 inches per year and can thrive in any type of soil. Now that is a combination of speed and adaptability that we can support.

Really, the choice is yours. What shade of bark or height do you want? What is a better option for your environment? The questions may be endless, but we hope this provides you with a good reference of what tree might just be the one for you.

Thanks for reading! Now, go plant a tree!!

References

Cook, E. R. (1985). A time series analysis approach to tree ring standardization (dendrochronology, forestry, dendroclimatology, autoregressive process). The University of Arizona.

LeBlanc, D. C., & Terrell, M. A. (2011). Comparison of growth–climate relationships between northern red oak and white oak across eastern North America. Canadian Journal of Forest Research41(10), 1936-1947.

Dougherty, P. M., Teskey, R. O., Phelps, J. E., & Hinckley, T. M. (1979). Net photosynthesis and early growth trends of a dominant white oak (Quercus alba L.). Plant Physiology64(6), 930-935.

Tardif, J. C., & Conciatori, F. (2006). Influence of climate on tree rings and vessel features in red oak and white oak growing near their northern distribution limit, southwestern Quebec, Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research36(9), 2317-2330.

Key Facts — Forest Wildlife

The oak is a well-known and beautiful tree, but did you know that it comes in a wide variety of species and distinctions? Read on to learn more oak tree key facts and identification information.

Quick Facts About Oak Trees

Family:Fagaceae
Genus:Quercus
Physical Description:Oblong, multi-lobed leaves; some are serrated or pointed, while others are rounded. Trees are generally tall with narrow to wide canopies. They produce both male and female flowers and bear nut-like fruits called acorns. Most oaks are deciduous, but some are evergreen.
Geographical Distribution:Widely distributed across North America and Asia; also found in parts of Europe and Africa.
Native Habitat:Varies by species; generally moderate temperate to tropical climates. Some oaks thrive in hot, dry desert climates, while others prefer colder climates.
Number of Species:Roughly 500 to 600
Average Height:40 to 80 feet depending on species and growing conditions; some grow well over 100 feet.
Average Lifespan:150 to 300 years
Wildlife Uses:– Many animals and insects eat acorns
– Insects and some animals eat oak leaves
– Many forms of wildlife use oak bark and twigs in nest building
– Birds and small mammals take shelter on oak branches
– Larger animals take shade beneath oak trees’ thick canopies
Human Uses:– Oak wood is often used in building and construction
– Trees are planted and grown for shade and ornamental reasons
– In some areas, acorns may be sold as animal feed
– Some people prepare and use acorns in cooking and baking

How to Identify Oak Trees

Oak trees fall into two broad categories: white oaks and red oaks.

  • White oaks generally have leaves with more rounded lobes. Their acorns are generally longer and more narrow than red oak acorns, and they mature within a single growing season.
  • Red oaks generally have bristled, serrated, or pointed lobes. Their acorns take two growing seasons to mature and are generally rounder and stubbier than white oak acorns.

Oak trees are tall and mostly deciduous. Live oaks, which grow in warmer climates, are evergreen; some species of oak grow as evergreens in warm climates. 

Oak trees usually have rough, ridged bark. They produce distinctive, tassel-like catkins in spring.

Where Do Oak Trees Grow?

Oak trees can grow throughout the world, but they are native to North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. North America has nearly 300 native species, more than any other continent.

Oak trees grow in nearly every state in the US. Mexico has an even wider variety of species than the US.  

There are around 100 species of oak found in China, the main “hot spot” for oak growth outside of North America. 

How Long Do Oak Trees Live?

It depends on the species as well as environmental conditions. Average oak lifespan is 150 to 300 years, but it isn’t uncommon for trees to live much longer than that.

One southern live oak tree found in Louisiana is estimated to be as much as 1,200 years old according to Country Roads Magazine. Check out our guide on what to do if your oak tree is not thriving.

How Many Types of Oak Trees Are There?

According to the UK organization Trees for Life, there are about 450 species of oak throughout the world. However, other sources estimate the number may be as high as 500 to 600 species.

Oaks cross-pollinate profusely, so hybrid species are constantly being discovered. For this reason, scientists have a hard time agreeing on the exact number of official species.

How Big Do Oak Trees Get?

It depends on the species, but oak trees typically reach 40 to 80 feet tall and have a canopy that’s slightly narrower than their height. Some oaks may grow over 100 feet tall with the proper soil conditions.

Check out the following video to learn more about one of the largest oaks in the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3GSNEj-m8cVideo can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: SPOONER LIVE OAK UNDISPUTED BIGGEST WORLD CHAMPION (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3GSNEj-m8c)

Conclusion

Oak trees are found throughout the world in a variety of habitats, but they are most widely distributed in North America and Asia. These tall and beautiful trees have a variety of uses among both humans and various forms of wildlife.

Read also about other forest trees – here are our guides about Pine, Sycamore, Acacia.

Oak - a symbol of power and longevity. Cultivation, reproduction.

Diseases and pests. Oak bark application, decoction. Kinds. Photo - Botanichka

There are several interesting facts about oak: At the Paris exhibition in 1900, an oak ridge sawn from a 485-year-old oak 31 m high and 169 cm in diameter was shown. that is, on the territory of the modern Shumerlinsky forestry enterprise of the Chuvash Republic.

And in 1861, in the Yadrinsky district of the Kazan province, an oak “50 feet long” (that is, 15 m high) and “48 inches in the upper cut” (213 cm in diameter) was cut down. This tree was counted 500 years old, at that time it was completely fresh, healthy and still growing in volume ...

Oak was a sacred tree of many peoples, including the ancient Slavs and Celts, it was worshiped as a deity. Even today it remains a symbol of courage and resilience, and not just, so to speak, “impenetrability” ... By the way, to see an oak strewn with acorns in a dream - to well-being and career growth.

Pedunculate oak (summer, English, common) (Quercus robur). © Leafland

Botanical description

Oak ( Quercus ) is a genus of deciduous or evergreen trees of the beech family. The leaves are alternate, simple, pinnatipartite, lobed, serrated, sometimes entire. Oak flowers are small, inconspicuous, same-sex, monoecious; staminate - in long hanging catkins, pistillate - single or several, sessile or on a pedicel. The fruit is a single-seeded acorn, partially enclosed in a cup-shaped woody cupule.

Oak grows slowly, at first (up to 80 years) - stronger in height, later - in thickness. Usually forms a deep tap root system. Gives abundant shoots from the stump. Photophilous. Some types of oak are drought-resistant, quite winter-hardy and not very demanding on soils. It begins to bear fruit at the age of 15-60, in open places earlier than in plantations. It reproduces mainly by acorns. For sowing, acorns collected in the same year are used, because. they quickly lose their viability. There are about 450 species of oak in the temperate, subtropical and tropical zones of the Northern Hemisphere. In Russia - 20 (according to other sources, 11) wild species in the European part, the Far East and the Caucasus; 43 species of oaks are grown in culture.

Most important in forestry is English oak , or summer ( Quercus robur ), - a tree up to 40-50 m high and 1-1.5 m in diameter. The leaves are elongated obovate, with 5-7 pairs of short lobes , on petioles up to 1 cm long. Acorns 1-3 on the stalk. Blossoms simultaneously with the blooming of leaves from 40-60 years. Fruits abundantly every 4-8 years. Grows fairly quickly in side shade, but requires good light from above. Lives up to 400-1000 years. Distributed in the European part of Russia, in the Caucasus and almost throughout Western Europe. In the northern part of the range it grows along river valleys, to the south it goes to watersheds and forms mixed forests with spruce, and in the south of the range - pure oak forests; in the steppe zone it occurs along ravines and gullies. One of the main forest-forming species of broad-leaved forests in Russia.

Close to English Oak Rock Oak , or winter ( Q. petraea ), with almost sessile (2-3 each) acorns, found in the west of the European part of Russia, in the Crimea and the North Caucasus. Georgian Oak ( Q. iberica ) grows in the eastern part of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia with leathery leaves and sessile (1-2) acorns; Large Anthered Oak ( Quercus macranthera ) with densely pubescent shoots and sessile acorns or on a short stem grows in the high-mountain zone of these regions. The main species of the valley forests of Eastern Transcaucasia - Cork oak - Q. suber) gives a cork. The bark and wood contain tannins (tannins) used for tanning hides. The dried bark of young branches and thin trunks of English oak is used as an astringent in the form of an aqueous decoction for rinsing in case of inflammatory processes in the oral cavity, pharynx, pharynx, as well as for lotions in the treatment of burns. Acorns are used as a substitute for coffee and as food for pigs and some other agricultural products. animals. Many species, such as Chestnut oak (Q. castaneifolia), are cultivated in gardens and parks as ornamental plants.

Growing oak

Oak acorns, unlike the seeds of the vast majority of our other trees, do not retain their germination capacity when dried and stored for a long time at room temperature. Therefore, it is necessary either to sow them in the fall before the snow falls and the soil freezes, or to provide them with special storage conditions. Autumn sowing is the easiest, but there is a serious risk of damage to some of the acorns by rodents.

For spring sowing oak acorns must be properly preserved. The best storage conditions are at low (about 0° or slightly above) temperature, high humidity and moderate ventilation. Acorns can be stored in the basement, where potatoes are well preserved in winter; you can also dig them into the soil in the fall to a depth of at least 20 cm, covering the top with a sheet of waterproof material, leaving a layer of air between this sheet and acorns and providing protection from mice. In any case, healthy acorns without external damage should be stored for winter storage, preferably collected in dry weather and dried at room temperature for a week. Any special preparation of seeds that have survived the winter is not required before sowing.

Before sowing, evaluate the quality of the acorns by opening a few of them. Live oak acorns have yellow cotyledons, and at the place of their connection with each other there is a live (yellow or red-yellow) embryo. Dead acorns are black or grey. By external signs, it is not always possible to distinguish living acorns from dead ones. Soaking acorns in a container of water gives good results - dead acorns mostly float, live ones mostly sink (if there are a lot of acorns, then this method of separating the dead from the living is quite recommended, but a small part of the live acorns will be lost).

If you have not been able to stock up on acorns since autumn, then in some years (after a large harvest of acorns and under the condition of a "failure" of mice, and if the winter was not very frosty) you can collect live and germinating acorns in the spring in the nearest forest or park. It is necessary to collect germinating acorns in early spring, almost immediately after the snow melts, otherwise you will find damaged roots in many acorns. Collected oak acorns must either be sown immediately or stored until sowing in such a way that the roots do not dry out (for example, mixed with wet leaves in a plastic box put in a refrigerator or a cold basement). Even with short-term storage, it is necessary to ensure that germinating acorns do not become moldy (throw away damaged ones immediately), and ensure their ventilation. The faster you can sow the acorns collected in the spring, the more of them will be able to develop into seedlings.

Oak acorns. © TwidOak sprouted acorn. © Beentree

Sowing acorns

When sowing acorns, mark out parallel furrows 15–25 cm apart in the bed. Arrange the acorns in the furrows at the rate of 15-50 pieces. per 1 m of the length of the furrow, depending on the quality and size (if the acorns are large and almost all live, then they should be laid out less often, if small and with a large proportion of dead and doubtful - thicker). If you plan to plant annual oak seedlings in a permanent place, then acorns should be sown even less often - at a distance of 7-10 cm from each other (this will ensure the maximum growth of each tree). Press the acorns into the bottom of the furrow so that they are at a depth of 2–3 cm from the soil surface in spring planting and 3–6 cm in autumn. After that, level the furrow by covering the acorns with earth.

Acorns germinate for a very long time. First, they develop a powerful root, reaching a length of several tens of centimeters, and only after that the stem begins to grow. Therefore, oak sprouts can appear on the soil surface only a month and a half after the start of germination. Do not rush to conclude that your oak trees have died and dig up a bed with crops (as the experience of novice amateur foresters shows, this happens). If in doubt, try digging up some acorns. If their roots have grown, then the acorns are alive.

Care of oak seedlings

Oak seedlings suffer much less from weeds and drying out of the soil than coniferous trees (due to the supply of nutrients in the acorn, large roots and leaves immediately develop). However, try to always keep crops free of weeds and ensure watering during severe drought, especially if you want to get large seedlings in one year. Stop any additional watering about a month and a half before the time when mass leaf fall begins in your area - this will allow oak seedlings to better prepare for wintering (too late growths in oak often freeze out in winter).

In summer, oak seedlings are often affected by powdery mildew, a fungal disease. Powdery mildew is not able to kill oak seedlings, but can significantly reduce their growth. With a strong development of powdery mildew (if white bloom covers more than half of the area of ​​​​all leaves), seedlings can be treated with a 1% solution of copper sulfate or a 1% suspension of sulfur. Oak seedlings can be grown for two years in one place without a transplant, or they can be transplanted in the second year into a "school". The second method is preferable, because it allows you to form a more compact and branched root system, which suffers less when transplanted to a permanent place (for two-year-old seedlings grown without transplantation, the length of the main root can be more than a meter, and it is almost impossible to transplant them without damaging the root).

Oak seedlings should be transplanted into the “school” in spring, preferably as early as possible, so that the root system damaged during transplantation has time to partially recover even before the leaves bloom (it is also important that the soil is still moist during transplantation). When transplanting, cut off the main root of each oak seedling at a distance of 15-20 cm from where the acorn was located (in most seedlings, the remains of an acorn in the second year are still visible). This will form a more compact root system. It is possible not to cut the main root, but in this case it will be very difficult to dig up two-year-old seedlings without serious damage to their root system.

Oak seedlings. © Elektryczne jabłko

Place rows of seedlings at a distance of 25–30 cm from each other in the “school”, and seedlings in a row at a distance of 12–15 cm. When planting under each oak seedling, make holes 20–25 cm deep with a stake or spade handle ( the depth of the hole should be such that when the seedling is planted, the place of attachment of the acorn is 2-3 cm below the soil surface). Insert the seedlings into the holes (the main root of oak seedlings, unlike the root of conifers, is hard and straight and inserted into the holes without problems). Then fill the holes with earth and compact it with your hands so that the earth fits snugly against the roots of the seedlings.

Transplanted oak seedlings in the first weeks after transplantation suffer greatly from root damage - leafing is rather slow, and shoot growth is relatively small. Nevertheless, by mid-summer, the normal development of seedlings is restored, and by autumn, as a rule, large seedlings (30–50 cm high) are quite suitable for planting in a permanent place. If the size of the seedlings by autumn leaves much to be desired, then only the largest ones can be selected for transplantation, and the rest left in the "school" for another year.

If you are transplanting annual oak seedlings to a permanent place (this is quite possible if planting is done in areas with low grass cover or plowed soil), then do not cut the main roots of the seedlings - try to keep as much of their length as possible. The root system of an annual oak seedling is represented mainly by a long and straight taproot with weak and short lateral roots, therefore, for transplanting, it is enough to make a narrow hole of the appropriate depth using a stake or a shovel handle.

Types of oak

English oak (summer, English, or common) - Quercus robur

Occurs naturally in the European part of Russia, Central and Western Europe. A very powerful tree up to 50 m tall, in closed plantations with a slender trunk, highly debranched, in single plantings in open places - with a short trunk and a wide, spreading, low-set crown. Lives 500-900 years.

English oak (Quercus robur). © 2micha

The bark on trunks up to 40 years old is smooth, olive-brown, later grayish-brown, almost black. The leaves are alternate, at the top of the shoots close together in bunches, leathery, oblong, obovate, up to 15 cm long, with an elongated top and 3-7 pairs of obtuse, lateral lobes of unequal length. Lobes entire or with 1-3 teeth, often with auricles at the base of the leaf blade. The leaves are shiny, bare, dark green above, lighter below, sometimes with sparse hairs. In spring, the oak blossoms late, one of the last among our trees. Oak blossoms in April-May, when it still has very small leaves. The flowers are unisexual, monoecious, very small and inconspicuous. Male or staminate flowers are collected in peculiar inflorescences - long and thin, yellowish-greenish drooping catkins, reminiscent of hazel catkins. Acorns up to 3.5 cm, 1/5 covered with a cupule, ripen in early autumn.

Grows slowly, the greatest energy of growth in 5-20 years. Moderately photophilous, wind-resistant due to powerful root system. Excessive waterlogging of the soil does not tolerate, but withstands temporary flooding for up to 20 days. It prefers deep, fertile, fresh soils, but is able to develop on any, including dry and saline ones, which makes it indispensable in green building in many regions of Russia. It has high drought and heat resistance. One of the most durable breeds, some sources indicate a life expectancy of up to 1500 years.

Possesses powerful energy. Oak in Russia was considered a sacred tree. In the springs located in the oak forests, the water has an excellent taste and is particularly clean.

Propagated by sowing acorns, decorative forms - by grafting and green cuttings. It is well renewed by shoots from a stump. Acorns do not tolerate desiccation, as soon as they lose even a small part of the water, they die. In heat, they easily rot, they are very sensitive to cold and frost. This circumstance presents a certain difficulty for preserving acorns for seeds. In nature, there is no such problem: acorns that have fallen in late autumn in the forest overwinter in a wet bed of leaves under a thick layer of snow that protects them both from drying out and from frost. The germination of an acorn resembles the germination of a pea: its cotyledons do not rise above the soil surface, as in many plants, but remain in the ground. A thin green stem rises up. At first it is leafless, and only after some time small leaves appear on its top.

Red oak (Quercus rubra)

It occurs naturally along river banks, where there is no stagnant water in the soil, north of the 35th parallel of the North American continent, up to Canada. Tree up to 25 m in height.

A slender tree with a dense hipped crown.

Red oak (Quercus rubra). © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

The trunk is covered with thin, smooth, gray bark, cracking in old trees. Young shoots are reddish-felt, annual shoots are red-brown, smooth. The leaves are deeply notched, thin, shiny, up to 15-25 cm, with 4-5 pointed lobes on each side of the leaf, reddish when blooming, dark green in summer, lighter below, in autumn, before falling off, scarlet-red in young trees , in old ones - brownish-brown. Blooms at the same time as the leaves open. Acorns are spherical in shape, up to 2 cm, red-brown, as if chopped off from below, unlike English oak, they ripen in the fall of the second year. It bears fruit steadily and abundantly from 15-20 years. When young, it grows faster than European oaks.

Frost resistant. Medium light-loving, easily tolerates lateral shading, but prefers full coverage of the top of the crown. Not drought tolerant. Wind-resistant, not very picky about soil fertility, can withstand even an acidic reaction, however, does not tolerate calcareous and wet soils. Resistant to pests and diseases, including powdery mildew - the scourge of our oaks. It has high phytoncidal properties. Due to its high decorativeness, resistance to adverse environmental factors, magnificent autumn decoration, it deserves the widest use in green building, for creating single and group plantings, alleys, arrays, lining roads and streets.

Downy oak (Quercus pubescens)

Naturally found in the southern Crimea, the northern part of Transcaucasia, Southern Europe and Asia Minor. Tree up to 10 m tall. Durable.

Downy oak (Quercus pubescens). © Petr Filippov

Significantly inferior in size to the previous species, with a low, winding trunk and a wide crown, sometimes even a shrub. Young shoots are strongly pubescent. Leaves 5-10 cm long, very variable in shape and size, with 4-8 pairs of obtuse or pointed lobes, dark green, glabrous above, grey-green below, pubescent. The scales of the plush surrounding the acorn are also fluffy.

It grows slowly, loves light and heat, lives on dry stony slopes and soils containing lime. Handles haircut well. Valuable species for green building in arid areas, grows on stony soils where other species do not develop. An excellent material for high hedges and figured, sheared forms.

White oak (Quercus alba)

Native to eastern North America. Grows in forests with other types of oak and hazel, on various soils, but better on deep, rich, well-drained, limestone; in the north of the range it is distributed no higher than 200 m above sea level. sea, in the south up to 1500 m a.s.l. seas.

White oak (Quercus alba). © Msact

Large beautiful tree up to 30 m, with powerful spreading branches forming a wide, tent-shaped crown. The shoots are bare, the bark of the trunk is gray, shallowly cracking. Remarkable for very large, oblong-oval leaves, up to 22 cm, with 5-9 obtuse lobes; when blooming - bright red, in summer - bright green, with a whitish-gray underside. In autumn, the leaves turn dark red or purple-purple. Acorns up to 2.5 cm, a quarter covered with a plush. Seeds are stored for spring sowing in semi-moist sand. In autumn, sown immediately after harvest and air drying. Germination of seeds is maintained until the spring of next year. Ground germination 80 - 85%. Embedding depth s. 5 - 6 cm.

Marsh oak (Quercus palustris)

Homeland North America.

A slender tree up to 25 m tall, narrowly pyramidal when young, later broadly pyramidal. Young shoots are thin, hanging, reddish-brown. The bark of the trunk is greenish-brown, and remains smooth for a long time. Leaves up to 12 cm long, with 5-7 deeply cut, almost to the middle of the leaf, toothed lobes, bright green above, lighter below, with tufts of hairs in the corners of the veins. In autumn they are bright purple. Acorns sessile, almost spherical, up to 1.5 cm, 1/3 covered by a cupule. Seeds are stored for spring sowing in semi-moist sand. Autumn with. sown after harvest and air drying. Germination of seeds is maintained until the spring of next year. Ground germination with. 80 - 90%. Embedding depth s. 5 - 6 cm.

Swamp oak (Quercus palustris). © Willow

Fast growing, less hardy than red oak and northern oak. It is more demanding on the soil and its moisture, as it grows in nature on deep, moist soils on the banks of rivers and swamps. It tolerates city conditions well. Looks great in single, group and avenue plantings, along the banks of reservoirs. In culture since the middle of the XVIII century. Grows in the parks of Ukraine (Chernivtsi), Belarus, Voronezh region. It freezes in St. Petersburg.

Willow oak (Quercus phellos)

Wildly grows in eastern North America.

A beautiful deciduous tree up to 20 m tall, with a slender trunk and a wide-round (pyramidal in youth) crown. Remarkable original shiny green leaves resembling willow leaves (up to 12 cm long by 2 cm wide). This similarity is even more enhanced in young leaves, strongly pubescent below. In autumn, the leaves turn dull yellow.

Willow oak (Quercus phellos). © Daderot

Differs in rapid growth, photophilous, unpretentious to the soil, tolerates temperature drops down to -23 ºС. Used in single and group plantings. In culture since 1680.

Holm oak (Quercus ilex)

Homeland Mediterranean, Southern Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor.

Evergreen tree up to 25 m tall, with a smooth dark gray trunk and a dense, wide spreading crown. The shoots are grayish-felt, the leaves are small, up to 8 cm, highly variable in shape, leathery, shiny, dark green, yellowish or whitish-pubescent below. Acorns ripen in the second year.

We recommend storing freshly harvested acorns in trenches. Permissible period of dry storage - until the next spring. Acorns are stratified in moderately moist sand for 2-3 months at 2-5°C, then sown in greenhouses or ridges, where they germinate at 0-15°C for 20-30 days. Embedding depth s. 4 - 7 cm.

Holm oak (Quercus ilex). © propio

Grows fast, fairly shade tolerant, hardy, tolerates temperatures down to -20°C without damage. Drought tolerant. Grows on dry rocky slopes and any type of soil. It tolerates a haircut, durable. Valuable, beautiful breed for park construction in the south of Russia. Good in group, avenue and street plantings, in regular gardens - to create dense high hedges and high walls, for which its small-leaved forms are suitable. In culture since 1819of the year.

Chestnut oak (Quercus castaneifolia)

Wildly grows in Armenia, the Caucasus and northern Iran. Listed in the Red Book of the USSR. Protected in the Hyrkansky Reserve. Forms pure or with an admixture of other deciduous forests on the crests of ridges. Light-loving mesoxerophyte.

Tall, up to 30 m, a beautiful tree with a slender trunk, the bark of which remains smooth for a long time, with a wide tent-shaped crown and large leaves, resembling the leaves of a sowing chestnut, up to 18 cm long, with large, sharp, triangular teeth. From above, the leaves are dull, dark green, almost bare; finely pubescent below, greyish-white. Acorns up to 3 cm, 1/3 covered with a plush.

Chestnut oak (Quercus castaneifolia). © Mmparedes

Relatively fast growing, medium frost hardy, not drought tolerant enough. Good in alley, group and single plantings of parks and forest parks. Suitable for cultivation in the southwestern and southern parts of Russia, on the Black Sea coast. In culture since 1830.

Large-fruited oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

North American species, growing as a tree up to 30 m high, with a thick trunk and spreading, tent-shaped crown. The bark on the trunk is light brown, cracking. Leaves obovate, oblong, up to 25 cm long, deeply lobed; shiny, dark green above, whitish-green below, pubescent, in autumn they acquire a spectacular yellow-brown color. Acorns are oval, large, up to 5 cm, 1/3 covered by a cupule.

Seeds are stored for spring sowing in semi-moist sand in the basement. In autumn, the seeds are sown after harvesting and air drying. Germination of seeds is maintained until the spring of next year. Ground germination 80 - 85%. Seeding depth 5-6 cm.

Large-fruited oak (Quercus macrocarpa). © Daderot

Almost as fast as English oak; in terms of frost resistance, it is close to it and to red oak, but more moisture-loving than these species. Decorative, used in green building, like other species. In culture since 1826.

Diseases and pests of oak

Diseases of plant wood are the most dangerous. Infectious diseases that affect wood are divided into two groups. Non-rotten diseases include cancerous ulcers and tumors, vascular diseases of trunks and branches, necrosis of bark and sapwood. Diseases of this group affect the most important tissues of trunks and branches and, if strongly developed, lead to the drying out of trees. Cancer ulcers and tumors develop and spread slowly and are usually caused by fungi and bacteria. Vascular disease develops and spreads quickly and can lead to the drying up of trees in a few years or months. Necrosis of trunks and branches can also form extensive foci of desiccation. Their distribution is ensured by the ability of pathogens to accumulate a huge amount of infection in the dead tissues of affected trees. The causative agents of necrosis are also semi-parasitic imperfect and marsupial fungi, sometimes bacteria. Rot diseases include wood rot of branches and trunks, root and butt rot.

Gall midge

By autumn, yellowish or yellowish-pink balls - galls - the size of a small cherry, often develop on oak leaves. They look like tiny apples of the correct spherical shape.

Galls - painful growth of leaf tissues. The gall midge insect, which looks like a very small fly, is to blame for their appearance. The gall midge pierces the skin of the leaf with a thin, sharp ovipositor and lays an egg there. Some time after that, a "ball" grows on the sheet. If such a ball is broken in late autumn, in the middle of it you can find a small white worm - a gall midge larva - or an already adult insect. In some years, oak leaves are literally dotted with galls - there are several of them on each leaf.

Gall on an oak leaf. © Fritz Geller-GrimmGall on oak. © RasbakGall on oak. © Saharadesertfox

Gauls are sometimes called ink nuts. This name is not accidental. Our ancestors at the time of Pushkin used them to make black ink. How to get ink in this way? It is necessary to prepare a decoction of nuts and add a solution of iron sulfate to it. Merging two weakly colored liquids, we get a completely black liquid. This chemical "focus" is easily explained. The gall contains many tannins, and they have the ability, when combined with iron salts, to give a thick black color. The same can be done with tea infusion (it also contains a lot of tannins). If a few drops of a yellowish solution of ferric chloride are added to a glass of weak tea, the liquid becomes completely black.

Pests of oak

Leaf-eating and stem pests, and fungal diseases are the most important factors that increase the drying of oak stands. Violation of the ecological balance of oak forest phytocenoses, especially in oak forest monocultures, leads to violations of the water regime of the territories, changes in light and temperature conditions in the plantation, and all together - to the formation of conditions more favorable for the development of pests and diseases.

Oak is damaged by a huge number of pests and diseases. Different authors give different figures on the number of pests and diseases that damage the oak. In the Tellerman forest area, 184 species of leaf pests were identified (Molchanov, 1975). Among the most common pests that damage the foliage, we should name: 5 types of silkworms, 5 types of cutworms, 6 types of moths, 8 types of moths, 8 types of sawflies, 2 types of leafworms, 11 types of gall wasps, 2 types of psyllids, 5 types of weevils, 2 types of Hermes, 2 species of aphids and 3 species of plant mites. Buds and flowers damage 12 species of gall wasps. Acorns are damaged by 2 species of codling moths, 3 species of weevils and 1 species of nutcracker. The trunk and branches damage 8 species of bark beetles, 7 species of longhorn beetles, 3 species of horntails, 2 species of woodworms, 1 species of flat-footed beetle, 3 species of borers, 1 species from the family of whetstones, 1 species of wood borers (Napalkov, 1953).

Sawfly caterpillars on oak leaves. © Beentree

In Europe, 542 species of pests damaging oak have been identified (Hrast Luznjak…, 1996). In total, 206 species of fungi were found, including zygomycetes - 3 species, mastigomycetes - 2 species, ascomycetes - 50 species, basidiomycetes - 43 species, deuteromycetes - 108 species. 1 virus was found - tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), 14 species of bacteria (Erwinia quercicola Geprges et Bad., Erwinia valachika Geprges et Bad., Pseudomonas quercus Schem, etc.). However, the influence of viruses and bacteria as causes of oak drying has not been clearly established (Ragazzi et al., 1995).

Healing power of oak

Young bark of branches and trunks, leaves and acorns of oak are used for treatment. The bark contains acids, resins, pectin, sugar. In acorns - protein and tannins, starch, fatty oil, sugar. The leaves contain tannins and dyes, pentosans.

Oak bark is used as an astringent, anti-inflammatory and wound healing agent. Mixed with other plants, it is used to treat gastritis, colitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, diseases of the liver and spleen. Inside give a cold infusion (1 teaspoon of crushed bark is infused in 2 glasses of cold water for 6-8 hours), 2-3 tablespoons 3-4 times a day.

A decoction of oak bark (1:10) is used for pharyngitis, tonsillitis, skin diseases, stomatitis. For the treatment of burns, a stronger decoction of the bark (1: 5) is used. For skin diseases, an ointment is also used - one part of the condensed decoction of the bark to four parts of lanolin.

A warm infusion of crushed oak acorns in red wine (25% tincture) in the form of compresses is used to treat hernia, and folk healers recommend water decoctions for burns, skin rashes, and excessive sweating of the feet. In addition, a nutritious coffee drink is prepared from acorns, which is consumed with milk and sugar.

For gastric bleeding, intestinal inflammation, poisoning with heavy metals, alkaloids, mushrooms, henbane, dope, food poisoning, a decoction of oak bark is used. For this purpose, 20 g of dry crushed raw materials are poured into 1 cup of hot water, boiled for half an hour, then filtered and the liquid volume is brought to the original boiled water. Take 2 tablespoons 3-4 times a day.

Infusion of oak acorns helps with diarrhea and enterocolitis. It is prepared as follows: 1 teaspoon of dry crushed raw materials is poured into 1 cup of boiling water and filtered after cooling. Take 1/2 cup 2-3 times a day.

For gargling with chronic tonsillitis, pharyngitis, inflammation of the gums and stomatitis, a decoction of oak bark is used. For urethritis and cystitis, a decoction of oak bark is taken 2 tablespoons 3-4 times a day. For the same purpose, an infusion of acorns is used in a similar dosage.

For douching with cervical erosion, uterine prolapse, prolapse of the vaginal walls, vulvovaginitis and trichomonas colpitis, a decoction of oak bark is used: 20 g of dry crushed raw materials are poured into 1 glass of hot water, boiled for half an hour, then filtered and the volume of liquid is brought to boiled water. 1 liter.

A decoction of oak bark is used for baths and washings in case of allergic diathesis. For this purpose, 100 g of dry crushed raw materials are boiled in 1 liter of water for half an hour and filtered. With sweating feet on a decoction of oak bark, foot baths are prepared: 20 g of dry crushed raw materials are poured into 1 glass of hot water, boiled for half an hour, then filtered and the volume of liquid is brought to 1 liter with boiled water.

Cold decoction of the bark is applied for burns and frostbite, as well as for long-term non-healing wounds.

How old an oak grows

A giant oak in France, in the hollow of which there is a room with a bench carved right in the body of the oak, is more than two thousand years old. It is because of their age and gigantic size that many oaks have become relics of cities and peoples and are under protection. The king-oak, the Kaiser's oak, the 600-year-old oak, the oak-chapel, the master's oak, each of them is legendary.

Oak is hardy and unpretentious, but despite these properties oaks do not grow in South America and Australia, in Africa they are found only along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

In Russia pedunculate oak grows with its two varieties summer oak and winter oak differing in flowering time. Mongolian oak grows in the Far East and the Amur region. Rock oak grows on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus.

In the 18th and 19th centuries it was customary to decorate glades in front of the landowner's house with oaks, oaks were grown in palace and manor parks. Sometimes oaks are planted for landscaping cities, recently gardeners have also begun to pay their attention to this wonderful plant. Hence the logical question - how many years oak grows until the moment when it allows you to admire its beauty and grace.

It will take a long time, but if you have the opportunity and a place to plant an oak tree, be sure to plant it, and if you don't even manage to admire the fruits of your labor, you will leave a memory of yourself for many generations.

600-year-old oak

In ten years, the oak planted by you will outgrow medium-sized fruit trees in your garden - apple and pear trees, in 20 years the first acorns may appear on it , although oaks usually reach the age of fruiting at 40 years. Do not be surprised, for an oak 450 years is the age, as they would say about a man of the dawn of strength. Oak bears fruit with acorns about once every 4 years , but oak is grown not because of acorns, but for the strength and wisdom that it gives to its owners and this is not an allegory.

Plant an oak tree away from your home so that it doesn't turn out like in this photo.

Oak in the body of which the chapel is located - France.

The soil for planting oak can be different, the density and strength of the wood and its durability depend on it. And oak can grow on sand and stones, along river banks, in lowlands in swamps and in elevated places, among bogs. The main thing is that the planted seedling does not burn the sun, and the roots do not get wet in the water in the first years of their life. Usually oak grows up to 40 meters high , and up to 1.5 meters wide. The crown of the oak is gigantic, to match its height, so make sure that in the future it does not damage your home and nearby buildings.

It is better to plant an oak with acorns; when transplanting, seedlings with open roots do not take root well. If you are in a hurry to “live”, buy an oak tree in a skating rink, you can save 8 years or add them to your life, if you think it will be more pleasant for you. Plants with a closed root system take root and grow well, but unfortunately, an oak planted in this way will not be durable. Of course, it will be enough for your lifetime, but no more, this is due to the incorrect development of the root system of an oak seedling grown in a small vessel in the first years of life. Growing oak from an acorn, you will lose a couple of years, but the oak grown in this way will grow for a long time and your children, grandchildren and grandchildren of your grandchildren will remember you.

Angel Oak is one of the oldest trees on the planet.

As for the rhetorical question, how much oak grows per year in centimeters , there is no direct answer. In the first year of life, the growth of the plant is from 7 to 30 cm, the second from 40 to 80 cm, the third and subsequent years up to 15 years 60-80 cm. At the same time, the growth of an oak depends to a greater extent on natural conditions and species characteristics of the plant. In the forest, oak has a compact crown; in trees growing in open places, the crown spreads out like a huge tent, sometimes covering an area of ​​up to a quarter of a hectare.


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