How big is an oak tree

Oak Tree – Tree Works

Everything you need to know about the mighty English oak tree, from identification tips to typical characteristics; a step by step lifespan; how to prevent disease and the best methods of oak tree care.

The mighty English oak is feasibly the best known and most admired British native tree. It is certainly the most common tree species in the United Kingdom, particularly across the central and southern deciduous woodlands.

General Facts

Known as English oak, common oak
Latin name Quercus robur
Location UK, Europe, South West Asia
Foliage Deciduous
Lifespan 1,000 years+, average 150-250 years


Height Average 20 metres but can grow up to 40-45 metres
Spread At least 8 metres but the width can often grow to match the height
Appearance Sprawling, twisted branches and rough, ridged bark
Leaves Grow in bunches; display 5-6 deep lobes with smooth edges and very short stems. Bright green in spring, deep green summer to early autumn turning to yellow, golden then deep rust coloured in autumn.
Flowers Long-hanging yellow pollen-producing catkins
Fruit Acorns appear in summer growing from long stalks held tightly by a cup-shaped base, transitioning from green to brown before falling to the ground in early autumn to either take root and germinate or provide food for wild animals and birds.


Ideal soil Chalk, clay, loam, sand – oaks are lime tolerant and prefer fertile, deep soil that is moist but well-drained
Soil pH Alkaline, neutral, acid
Aspect North, south, east or west facing
Exposure Full sun or partial shade


Pests Oak gall wasps, leaf-mining moths, caterpillars, aphids
Diseases Oak Decline including Acute Oak Decline and Chronic Oak Decline; powdery mildew

How to Identify the English Oak Tree Through the Seasons

Spring: Bright green leaves begin to emerge in late April together with yellow hanging catkin-style flowers. The distinctive twisting limbs can still be seen through the new leaf growth.

Summer: A full canopy of rich green leaves forms a majestic portrait. The canopy is at its fullest and small clusters of acorns are starting to appear


Autumn: Leaves start turning yellow in early autumn as the acorns fall to the ground. Gradually the leaves transform through a mini kaleidoscope of colour, from yellow to golden, rust to dark rust and finally, golden brown.

Winter: The leaves have finished falling and the branches are bare. It can be tricky at this time of year to identify a tree generally; however the oak gives it away with its expansive, weighty branches that wind and coil and its knobbly ridged, rough bark.

The Lifespan of an Oak Tree

Acorn: The oak tree starts life as an acorn. Each acorn carries a single seed and when that germinates, a taproot is produced. This taproot will act as an anchor for the tree, and will stay with the tree throughout its life.

Seedling: In the spring, the seed produces a shoot which will go on to grow leaves to pull in energy from the sun to support growth.

Sapling: Once the seedling has been growing for a year or so it becomes a sapling which will continue growing, providing it does not become food for passing herbivorous wildlife and that it gets enough sunlight and water.

Young tree: During the first 100 years of its life, an oak tree is considered young. It will start to produce a full crop of acorns at around the age of 40-50 years, by which time it will usually have reached its ultimate height, although it will continue to grow into adulthood.

Adult: By 100 years old the oak tree will reach adulthood and will be producing large crops of acorns, achieving peak production at around 80-120 years at which point its growth starts to gradually decline. During its lifetime, an oak tree will produce in the region of 10 million acorns which have the potential to grow into a new generation of oak trees. An adult oak tree will continue to grow to around 45 metres in height.

Old Age: After 700 years the oak tree has reached old age and will be producing few acorns and growing at a much reduced rate. By 1,000 years of age the tree will start to die.

Oak Trees and Wildlife

The English oak is of key importance to the UK’s wildlife, supporting more life forms than any other tree native to the United Kingdom. British birds enjoy the rich supply of hundreds of species of insect and the shed acorns provide important sustenance for the likes of badgers and deer.

Once the fallen leaves of the oak tree start to decompose, they form a rich mould that supports a range of insects and beetles. Birds find refuge in the nooks and crannies of the oak tree’s bark, whilst numerous species of British bat will roost under loose bark or in holes made by woodpeckers whilst enjoying a feast on the generous supply of insects which have made their home in the expansive canopy.

Oak Tree Symbolism

Thanks to its long lifespan, the oak tree has for hundreds of years been considered a national symbol of strength and survival and has over the years played an important role in English culture. The Christmas Yule Log was traditionally cut from the oak tree; ancient kings would adorn themselves with oak leaf crowns and a host of organisations worldwide use the oak leaf as a key emblem denoting environmental harmony, including the likes of the Woodland Trust.

Caring for an Oak Tree

Oak trees benefit from regular pruning during their younger years. Young oaks will develop a strong central leading branch when regularly pruned, and will usually experience a growth burst after pruning, providing it is done at the right time. Formative pruning is a specialist process which should only be carried out by experts who are trained to understand the biology of the tree and how it should be cared for at the various stages of its early growth.

Mature oak trees should be regularly pruned to remove dead wood and broken branches. This again is a specialist job requiring experience in working at height and of using fit-for-purpose cutting tools capable of dealing with the thick, expansive branches typical of an oak tree.

It is important to bear in mind that pruning slows growth whilst instigating bud development, vital for the healthy development of the tree. If entire limbs are removed for any reason other than being dead or diseased and therefore posing a risk, the tree could suffer damage due to its interior being exposed to the sun: another reason why specialist attention is vital.

Furthermore, due to the risk of Oak Decline, it is vital that oak tree pruning is carried out at the right time of the year. Again a qualified, experience expert tree surgeon will be able to advise on this. Further information on pruning an oak tree.

If you have an oak tree on your land that needs expert tree care, why not talk to Tree Works? As fully qualified and highly experienced tree surgeons, we are able to offer extensive knowhow on all aspects of oak tree care. For a free, no-obligation quotation, give us a call on 07781 416 354 or get in touch here.

Oak Tree Root System – StudiousGuy

An Oak is a tree or shrub belonging to the Beech family. Oaks have genus Quercus which covers about 600 species all over the world. Oak trees are characteristics of Northern Hemisphere. Oak trees are available in Temperate forests, Tropical forests and Mediterranean forests. They are great shade trees and many species of Oak have scenic fall colours. Fruits of Oak trees are called Acorn. Acorn is technically a fruit that contains seeds but due to its hard outer layer, it is regarded as a nut. Acorn is specific to the trees of Quercus Genus including Oaks.

Oak trees are a vital part of a forest ecosystem. The bark of many Oak trees is thick which protects them from forests fires. The trunk of Oak trees stores water for use during unfavourable conditions. Oak trees support a complex ecosystem with many species including humans. Oaks are susceptible to fungal diseases which rot the inner part of the plant. Oak trees are common in America, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. Mexico (North America) is the largest centre for Oak trees containing 160 species overall, following China (Asia) which holds approximately 100 species.

The Oak tree is officially the National tree of the United States of America (USA). Oak is one of the most loved trees in the world and is considered as a symbol of strength, morale, resistance and knowledge. In Greek mythology, Oak was a symbol of Zeus (The God of Thunder).

Index of Article (Click to Jump)

Plant Specifications

  • Oak trees are very large in size. The average height of an Oak tree is 70 feet having a width of 9 feet. The branches of Oak trees can reach up to 135 feet in length.
  • Due to their large size, Oak trees can absorb a great amount of water. An average Oak tree can absorb nearly 50 Gallons of water per day.
  • Most Oak trees have lobed leaves but it can be serrated and flat in some species. Leaves are spirally arranged.
  • Oak trees produce acorns from the age of 20 to 50 years. Each acorn takes 6 to 18 months to mature. Young acorns contain Tannic acid which is toxic for cattle and can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure. Tannic acids in the acorn protect the Oak trees from fungi and insects.
  • Oak trees are deciduous but few are evergreen, for example, Live Oak trees.
  • The average life span of Oak trees is 200 years while some species survive up to a thousand years.
  • Oaks produces both male (androecium) and female part (gynoecium) of the flower, also known as Bisexual or perfect flowers.

Types of Oak trees

There are 30 different types of Oak trees found all over the world. Overall, the 600 species of Oaks are categorised into two main types, that is, Red Oak trees and White Oak trees.

Red Oak Tree White Oak Tree
  • Leaves have pointed lobes tipped with tiny bristles
  • Leaves have rounded and smooth lobes
  • Acorns take two years to reach maturity
  • Acorns take one year to reach maturity
  • E.g. Willow Oak, Black Oak, Water Oak, Pin Oak, Northern Red Oak, etc.
  • E.g. Chinkapin, Post Oak, Bur Oak, White Oak, etc.

  • Leaf of Red Oak Tree

  • Leaf of White Oak Tree

Live Oak Tree

  • The Live Oak trees, also known as Evergreen Oak trees are the group of Oaks that do not shed their leaves throughout the year, that is, always remain alive. Live Oak trees keep their leaves until they die.
  • As depicted by the name, these Oaks remain evergreen/live even when other Oak trees become leafless during the winter season.
  • This evergreen foliage of Quercus Genus is common in North America, especially in the warmer area along the Atlantic coast from southeast Virginia to Florida, west along the Gulf Coast to Louisiana and Mexico, and across the southwest to California. They’re also present in Southern Europe and South Asia.

Pin Oak Tree

  • Pin Oak, scientific name: Quercus palustris, is an Oak of Red Oak tree category. It is a popular landscape Oak due to its easy transplant and pollution tolerance. Pin oak is also commonly called swamp Spanish oak due to its tolerance to wet soil.
  • Pin Oak trees can be easily distinguished due to the oval shape of their canopy.
  • They’re fast growers and prefer clayey soil and bright sun. It prefers a minimum of 6 hours of daily unfiltered sunlight for a better outcome.
  • Pin Oak trees are mainly found in eastern and central America. Other than America, they’re also native to the extreme south of Ontario, Canada and are even introduced in Australia, South Africa and Argentina where they’ve well adapted to the climate.
  • Pin Oaks have glossy dark green leaves and the plant can reach up to a height of 60 to 70 feet.
  • Pin Oak tree’s leaves turn scarlet and bronze during fall.

Water Oak Tree

  • Water Oak Tree, scientific name: Quercus nigra, is also a plant of Red Oak family. It is native to North America and plays a great role in maintaining the ecosystem of  New Jersey to Florida and west to Texas.
  • This plant is short-lived compared to other Oak trees and is easy to nurture. The average life span of Water Oak tree is 30 to 50 years.
  • The wood of Water Oak is comparatively soft. It is a weak wooded tree prone to many diseases. It is medium-sized, shade and ornamental landscape Oaktree.
  • Water Oaks can tolerate the extreme quality of the soil. It prefers to thrive in wet and swampy areas but can also grow in drained, compacted soil.
  • Water Oaktree is a copious producer of acorns due to which it is a part of food chains of a variety of nut loving animals including squirrels, raccoons, turkeys, pigs, ducks, quail and deer.

Oak Tree Root System

The roots of the oak trees are very strong and extend to a great distance underground compared to the tree canopy. Initially, when the roots arise from the acorn, they grow as a Taproot system with primary root growing horizontally deep into the soil but later on, with the plant maturation, the Taproots gets transformed into an extensive root system.

Roots of the Oak trees spread up to 3 to 7 times the diameter of the tree’s crown, therefore they need a wide space, not just above the ground but under the ground as well to thrive to their fullest. They lie around 18 inches from the ground. Root hair present on the tip of the lateral roots helps in the absorption of water and nutrients from the soil which gets transported into the system.  Oaktree roots require obstacle-free space under the ground with no underground pipeline, buildings or the roots of other large trees. If two Oak trees of same species are grown side by side, they can share a common root system by the process of grafting.

Roots of Oak trees grow best in the soil which is little acidic having a good amount of oxygen. The amount of water in the soil depends upon species to species. Some roots grow best in wet soil while some prefer drained, compact soil. Few species of Oak trees even survive in drought conditions, for example, native California oaks (e. g California white oak).

Roots of the Oaktree shows the symbiotic relationship between fungi named Mycorrhiza. A symbiotic relationship is a unique type of interaction between organisms of two different species which can be either harmful or beneficial to those species. In the case of Oak roots and Mycorrhiza, the fungi form a layer over the roots and protect the roots from other disease-causing fungi.  Mycorrhiza also increases the drought resistance capacity of the Oak trees and shares the nutrients they collect with the roots.

Oak Tree Root Diseases

Roots of Oak trees are susceptible to fungal diseases. Due to the fungal attack on some roots, the roots get rotten and the infection reaches up to the tree trunk. Due to the fungal infections, the tree gets cut off of the water and nutrients supply and die eventually. Fungus feeds on the roots of the Oak trees. Various anti-fungal sprays are available to keep the Oak trees from getting the infection.

Uses of Oak Tree


  • Natives of North America used Red Oak for treating ailments and wounds. Oaktree can also be used to treat Diarrhoea, asthma and can be used as an antiseptic.
  •  The bark of the Oaktree contains tannin and this tannin is used for making tannin leather from hundreds of years.
  • One of the most important uses of the Oaktree is for shade. Due to their large crown size, they’ve been used as shade providers especially during summer seasons.
  • Oak trees hold great importance in an ecosystem as they are food providers and habitat for various animals and bird species.
  • White Oak wood is popular in timber trade as its wood is highly durable and is used for furniture, flooring and making cabinets in the houses.

Large oak: description, properties, benefits (photo)

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The mighty oak has been revered by people since ancient times. Among the ancient Greeks, it was a symbol of longevity, mental and physical strength, so wreaths made from oak leaves were considered the best reward for brave warriors. The largest and largest trees symbolized Zeus and were his natural monuments.


  • 1 Characteristics of the genus
  • 2 Description
  • 3 Flowering
  • 4 Diseases
  • 5 Application

Genus characteristics

Oaks are deciduous trees from the beech family. The oak genus includes about six hundred species of plants, which can be seen in all regions of the Northern Hemisphere, where a temperate climate prevails. The southernmost point of distribution of this plant is the tropical highlands, although some species grow near the equator, in Bolivia and the Greater Sunda Islands.

Most representatives of the genus are light-requiring (although there are species that prefer to grow in partial or full shade), resistant to frost and drought, undemanding to the composition of the soil and can grow on dry, acidic and even saline lands.

The oldest member of the genus

Mighty oak is a long-lived plant: the age of the oldest oak in Europe is from 1.5 to 2 thousand years. At the same time, it is not high: the height of the tree does not exceed 25 meters, but the diameter at the level of one and a half meters from the surface of the earth reaches four.

An old oak grows in Latvia, not far from the village of Stelmuzh, from where its name came from - "Stelmuzh old man". It is interesting that earlier there was a huge hollow inside the tree, because of which the old oak could die. To prevent this, the hollow was cleared of dust, which took several dump trucks to remove, disinfected and sealed the holes with copper sheets. True, such methods only briefly extended the life of the mighty oak. Its condition is currently close to critical: the bark of the oak is overgrown with mosses, lichens, fungi, and the likelihood that the old oak will die soon is high.


Not every plant manages to live to such an advanced age: usually these trees live from three hundred to four hundred years. For the first hundred years, they grow in length, depending on the species, they grow up to 20-50 meters, after which growth stops in height. But in diameter, a large oak tree grows throughout its life.

According to the description, trees from this genus are very similar to each other. Oak roots are thick, long, rod-type, but if a large oak grows on highly waterlogged or podzolic soil, where limestone or other dense rocks are close to the surface of the earth that do not allow to break deeper, then oak roots can be located superficially.

Oak wood is very dense, strong, hard and heavy, and its properties largely depend on where it grows:

  • If the soil is dry and sandy, the oak bark is thick and black. The wood is straw-yellow, fine-layered, hard, but slightly elastic;
  • Oak wood that grows on the coast of rivers or in lowland forest swamps, large-layered, has a pale pink tint, heavy, elastic, but cracks when dried. Oak bark is light gray with a bluish tint.
  • If the large oak tree is not growing on dry or wet soil (transitional), its wood will be yellowish in color and have better resilience than a dry soil plant, and less than that grown in marshes. At the same time, this type will also be inferior in hardness to the two previous types. The gray-brown oak bark, which has taken root in the transitional soil, is soft, thick, and a hollow often appears in the trunk of the plant.

Dark gray oak bark, completely covered with sinuous and deep longitudinal and transverse cracks. At the same time, in trees growing in colder latitudes, the oak bark consists of individual plates.

Large oak has a beautiful, extensive crown. This is due to a rather interesting arrangement of branches: the mighty oak is a light-loving plant, so the shoots produced by the tree very often change the direction of their growth, since they tend to grow only from the side lit by the sun.

The leaves of the tree are short-petiolate, leathery, with five to seven lobes. Plants from the genus of oaks are interesting in that for some trees the foliage falls off annually, for others, drying out, it remains on the tree until the buds begin to bloom. But in the third (most of them) the leaves remain on the tree for several years, which gives reason to call representatives of the genus evergreen.


Since the large oak is a long-lived plant, the young oak begins to bear fruit only at the age of 20-30. Although the tree bears fruit every year, a bountiful harvest is obtained every four to five years.

A large oak tree blooms in the spring immediately after the leaves appear on it. The plant has both male and female flowers. Male can be identified by the pale pink color of the flowers, which are collected in two or three pieces in long earrings. After the earring blooms, the pollen released by it is viable for four to five days.

The female flowers are small, located above the male ones, they are characterized by a greenish tint with a raspberry color along the edges, and, like the male ones, are collected in small catkins.

The fruit of the plant, the acorn, which botanists believe is a nut, consists of one large seed. Since it is very sensitive to external influences, it is protected by a rigid pericarp and a cup-shaped cupule (a special formation of fused leaves), which at first completely surrounds the seed, and as the fruit grows and strengthens, it ends up at its base. Acorns ripen by autumn and, breaking away from the plush, fall down. Most germinate immediately, without waiting for the arrival of spring, while if the winter is severe, then many die.


Despite the fact that the large oak has a very strong wood, it is susceptible to infectious diseases caused by various fungi and bacteria. For example, necrosis (the process of irreversible cessation of cell activity) kills the plant in a very short time, and powdery mildew caused by a fungus is one of the most dangerous diseases, however, noticed at an early stage, after spraying with special solutions, quickly disappears.

Also of great harm is the gall midge, an insect pest that pierces the skin of the leaf and lays eggs inside it.

Grown up larvae form dense spherical growths of yellow color and live in the leaf until they turn into an adult insect, which cannot but affect the general condition of the plant.


Large oak is notable for the fact that its use is possible in many areas of human life - in construction, in furniture production, in folk crafts, in the food industry, medicine and even music (musical instruments are made from it). In addition, when landscaping streets, squares, parks, plants are also used for decorative purposes.

Plant wood is one of the best building and ornamental materials: it is distinguished not only by its density and strength, but also by fire resistance (the calorific value is much higher than that of many tree species growing in middle latitudes).

Bottle caps are also made from this tree: the bark of the cork oak, which grows in the south of France, in Spain, Algeria and the Caucasus, contains a thick layer of cork, which is several centimeters thick.

Acorns of some plant species have been used in the food industry, especially for trees that grow in the south. So, acorns of the Italian holm oak, sweet in taste. There is also evidence that the Indians often ate them. As for acorns growing on the territory of Russia, only a coffee substitute is made from them. Another interesting fact when it comes to the use of these plants is that oak roots are completely related to the most expensive mushrooms in the world - truffles.

Oak bark, acorns, branches, leaves have found their application in medicine. Acorns contain sugar, starch, tannins and proteins, fatty oil. The leaves contain dyes, pentosan, tannins.

The properties of oak bark are such that it has been used as a wound healing and anti-inflammatory agent. Since oak bark contains sugar, pectin, various acids, it is part of drinks that are used for colitis, liver diseases, bleeding of the intestines, spleen or stomach.

Also, the resulting decoction has a positive effect on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Oak bark is recommended even by dentists: a decoction of it helps with inflammation of the gums, thanks to it the mucous membrane hardens, as a result of which harmful bacteria are deprived of a nutrient medium. And after a while, the hardened shell is replaced by a new, healthy tissue.

Oak is 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 demonstrated. 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 meters high) and "48 inches in the upper cut" (diameter 213 cm) was cut down. This tree was counted 500 years old, at that time it was completely fresh, healthy and still increasing 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 ), - tree up to 40-50 m high and 1-1.5 m in diameter. Leaves oblong 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.

Similar to Pedunculate 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-mountainous belt of these regions. The main species of the valley forests of Eastern Transcaucasia - Long-legged oak ( Q. longipes ). Important forest-forming species of the Far East - Mongolian Oak ( Q. mongolica ) - frost-resistant and drought-resistant tree.

Oak wood has high strength, hardness, durability and a beautiful texture (cut pattern). It is used in shipbuilding, for underwater structures, because. does not rot; used in car building, in furniture, carpentry, cooperage, house building, etc. Some types of bark ( 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.

Oak cultivation

Oak acorns, unlike the seeds of the vast majority of our other trees, do not remain viable 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 a “shelter” 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, 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

Common 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)

Naturally found 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 southern Crimea, 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)

Wild in eastern North America.

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.

Storage of freshly harvested acorns in trenches is recommended. 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.

Oak diseases and pests

Plant wood diseases 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 tissue. 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

Galls 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.

Oak pests

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 harmful insects 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.

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