How deep are the roots of an oak tree

How Deep Do Oak Tree Roots Go?

The majority of oak tree roots grow in the top 18 inches (45 cm) of soil. These roots spread laterally from the tree, 3–7 times wider than the spread of the branches. The deepest root of the oak tree is the taproot, which typically grows straight down beneath the trunk to a depth of 3–5 feet (1–1.5 meters).

  • Lateral oak roots mostly grow at a depth of 18 inches.
  • Lateral roots grow 3–7 times the circumference of the oak’s branches.
  • An oak taproot grows to a depth of 3–5 feet.

Instead of picturing an oak’s roots as a mirror of the aboveground branches, picture a network of shallow roots that spread far and wide to gather nutrients and keep the tree anchored in place.

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Do Oak Tree Roots Grow Down or Out?

Oak tree roots spread outward more than downward. The majority of the roots that support your oak tree are within the top 18 inches of the soil. The only oak root that grows downward is the taproot, which grows straight down into the soil, typically to a depth of 3–5 feet.

  • Oak roots grow mostly outward, not downward.
  • Only the taproot, which is just below the trunk, grows downward.
  • The roots of a mature oak can spread outward 75–250 feet (20–75 meters).
  • The furthest spreading roots are extremely thin, hairlike fibers.

Although oak tree roots can spread out more than 200 feet, the roots taper drastically as they get farther from the tree. Most of these far roots are extremely thin fibers, more like thread or hair than large roots.

Are Oak Tree Roots Invasive?

Oak tree roots can be invasive and damaging to structures, paved surfaces, and pools if the tree is growing within 20 feet of the structure. Keep the following in mind:

  • Oak trees should be at least 20 feet (6 meters) from houses, paved surfaces, pools, underground water lines, sewer lines, septic tanks, and other structures. 30 feet (9 meters) is safer.
  • Roots can invade and clog water lines and septic tanks if the oak is planted too close.
  • Oak roots are capable of buckling pavement, such as sidewalks and driveways, if the paved surface is within 20 feet of the tree.

Keep in mind that oak roots spread even wider than that of other trees. Because the roots are relatively shallow, oaks are among the most likely trees to destroy nearby paved surfaces.

Can Oak Tree Roots Damage Foundations?

As with paved surfaces and underground water lines, oak roots can damage foundations. In order to assess if your oak tree is a threat to your home, consider the following:

  • Oak roots damage foundations within a 20-foot (6-meter) radius of the oak’s trunk.
  • At a distance greater than 20 feet, oak roots are too small to cause serious damage to a foundation.
  • Consider cutting down your tree or consult an arborist if you believe your oak tree poses a threat to your foundation.

Beyond 20 feet from the trunk, oak roots taper off into a network of very fine, threadlike roots. Although they may spread hundreds of feet, these small roots do not pose a threat to your home. If you have an oak tree growing too close to another structure, make a plan to fell the tree yourself or contact a tree removal expert.

Will Cutting Roots Kill an Oak Tree?

It is very dangerous to excavate the ground and cut oak roots within 20 feet of the tree. The roots within the first 20 feet of the trunk are critical supports that keep the tree upright.

  • Do not cut roots within 20 feet of the oak tree. Roots close to the trunk are crucial to support the tree.
  • Cutting roots within 20 feet may cause the tree to fall unexpectedly.
  • Fallen trees may damage homes, other structures, and vehicles. They may also fall into roadways or onto neighboring property.
  • Avoid excavating for patios, sidewalks, driveways, or foundations within 20 feet of your oak tree.

A 30-foot tall oak tree falling on your home can result in serious property damage. To eliminate this risk, think of the 20-foot radius around your oak’s trunk as a protected zone where no digging or root-cutting should take place.

Do Oak Tree Roots Grow Deep Underground?

Oak tree roots are relatively shallow, but make up for it in their lateral spread. While the vast majority of your oak tree’s roots grow no deeper than 18 inches below the surface, they can spread 3–7 times the circumference of the tree’s branches. In comparison, most other trees only have a lateral root spread around 2–3 times the size of their branch spread.

To keep structures, paved areas, and underwater sewer lines safe, plant oak trees at least 20 feet from these structures. Avoid excavating and cutting roots within 20 feet of your oak’s trunk, as this can seriously damage the tree and cause it to fall. Now that you know more about your oak, you can safely take care of it, or determine if the oak in your yard needs to be removed.

The Root System of Oak Trees | Home Guides

By Mary Simpson Updated December 14, 2018

Because it is not visible like the treetop, a tree's root system is not given the appreciation it warrants. This configuration of underground tentacles is the source of health or illness for the tree, and when winds buffet the tree, it serves as an anchor. The root system of a mature oak tree can total hundreds of miles. An oak's chief support, the taproot, grows vertically for some distance before branching out.

Understanding Root Systems

At the beginning of an oak's life, when an acorn first sprouts, most of its energy is spent on root development, with little growth aboveground. The initial root is the taproot, which grows deep underground, seeking a dependable supply of moisture. Once this is accomplished, greater foliage and branch growth can begin. Soon the taproot is surpassed by an extensive root system spreading horizontally. This lateral mass of roots will bring the tree moisture and nutrients for its lifetime. Most oak tree roots lie only 18 inches under the soil. They may spread, though, to occupy a space four to seven times the width of the tree's crown. Root hairs, located just back from the tips of the smaller roots, absorb water and minerals and send them circulating through the root system. When two trees of the same species grow side by side, they can even share root systems that have grafted together.

Dangers to Oak Roots

The greatest threats to the health of an oak tree's root system include poor drainage, trenching nearby and paving. If an oak is not in a site with adequate drainage, the balance of moisture, air and nutrients is upset. Overwatering or too much rainfall can smother the roots and lead to crown or root rot. Structural barriers, like concrete foundations, streets or even swimming pools downhill from oaks, can dam water, forcing it into the root zone of a tree. Digging a trench to install utilities too close to an oak can sever a portion of the roots and weaken the tree. Asphalt or concrete paving nearby may compact the soil and impede the exchange of gases, thereby damaging the roots.

Tree Care

Homeowners with mature native oaks should leave them to adapt to their environment on their own, except in a few cases. Oaks' thick, leathery leaves and their extensive root systems reduce the need for irrigation. Recently planted trees, on the other hand, should be watered weekly through summer. Watering is particularly critical from March to May to support the trees' new growth. For more established trees, never water close to the base of the tree, and don't water during the normal dry period in July and August. Most oak trees need no fertilizing beyond letting their fallen leaves decompose on the ground around them. Because exposed interior branches are subject to sun damage, very little pruning is recommended. Remove only dead, diseased or dangerous branches.

Planting Under Oak Trees

Most oak species (Quercus spp.) that are suited to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9 are very sensitized to any major soil disturbance. Plants placed beneath them need to be drought-tolerant, as well as shade-loving. No flowering plants or exotic grasses requiring summer water should be planted around established oaks, and even those that might be satisfactory should remain at least 6 feet from the tree's base. Some plants that can share the space with mature oaks, without disturbing their roots' exchange of air and water, include manzanita (Arctostaphylos), laurustinus (Viburnum tinus), bush anemone (Carpenteria californica), wood fern (Dryopteris) and coral bells (Heuchera). In lieu of plants, cobbles, gravel or wood chips make safe groundcovers under oaks.


  • California Oak Foundation: Oak Tree Care

Writer Bio

Mary Simpson began her writing career in 1968 on a Dallas oil magazine. Besides reporting and editing for several small Texas newspapers, Simpson has written for "Petroleum Engineer Magazine," "Denton Today Magazine" and put out an employee newsletter for a FEMA facility. She holds a B.A. in journalism and an English, both from the University of North Texas.

Formation of the root system of common oak (Quercus robur L.) depending on the method of creating cultures

Bibliographic description:

Ostapchuk, A. S. Formation of the root system of common oak (Quercus robur L.) depending on the method of creating cultures / A. S. Ostapchuk. - Text: direct // Young scientist. - 2014. - No. 3 (62). — S. 249-251. — URL: (date of access: 10/16/2022).

In the process of research, the root systems of 1–3-year-old crops of common oak and the dependence of their formation on the method of creation were studied. It has been established that oak crops created by sowing an acorn form a more powerful tap root system, penetrate to a greater depth, which will affect the productivity of oak stands in the future.

Keywords : forest crops, root system, establishment method, sowing, planting, tap root, fibrous root

The dependence of roots systems of 1–3-years old English oak plantations on its formation according to the establishment method was researched during the study. The plantations of English oak established by sowing of acorns form a stronger tap root system, and penetrate deeper what influence on oakery productivity.

Key words : forest plantations , root system, method of establishment, sowing , planting, tap root, fibrous root

Introduction. In the life of plants, the root system plays an exceptional role. It absorbs and transfers water, mineral elements, amino and nucleic acids, enzymes, etc. to the aboveground organs. The roots, processing the products of leaf metabolism, synthesize amino acids and their nitrogen compounds. Many scientists studied the structure and development of the root system of the common oak: A. I. Akhromeiko [1], P. P. Pokhiton [10], P. S. Pogrebnyak [9], A. G. Soldatov [12], I. N. Rakhteenko [11], M. I. Kalinin [5], N. N. Guz [4] and others. In pure stands, the oak develops a deeper root system, but the mass of small roots in a mixed plantation is greater than in a pure one [1, 11]. In pure oak cultures, due to the accumulation of roots in the upper soil horizons, there is an incomplete use of moisture, nutrients and other elements necessary for tree growth. Mixed oak crops, which have deep roots in the soil, use a larger volume of soil, which is one of the main factors determining the optimal performance of mixed oak crops compared to pure oak crops. Oak forms a root system that penetrates deep into the soil and helps it survive during droughts. According to N.N. Guz [8], the absence of a taproot in planted oak plants leads to a weakening of the biological stability of wood, and also contributes to its drying out. In the first years of its life, the common oak forms the root system more intensively than the above-ground part. Due to this, at the age of 4–5, oak roots occupy 80–89% of the total weight of the plant. Starting from the age of 6–7 years, there is a more intensive growth of the aerial part of the tree than the root system. According to M. I. Gordienko [3], oak crops have a deeper root system than plantations created by planting. However, seedlings form more powerful horizontal roots and use more soil for their nutrition than seedlings. According to A. O. Bondar [2], sowing eliminates the deformation of the roots, which is inevitable when digging up seedlings in the nursery and planting them in a permanent place.

Research methodology. The study of the root population of the soil is based on "Methods for studying forest communities" [7]. The study was carried out by analyzing the characteristics of the root system of 1-3-year-old crops of common oak, created by sowing and planting on fresh log cabins, with a creation scheme of 6 x 0.5 (0.7) m, on dark gray forest soils of the forest-steppe of Ukraine. In the study of the root systems of 1-year-old oak cultures, the method of complete excavation was used. The trench method was used to study the root systems of 2–3 year old plants. These methods make it possible to determine the morphological features and age-related changes in the underground part of plants, the distribution of roots along the genetic horizons of the soil profile, the presence of tiers of root systems, the spread of the tap root into the depth and the horizontal distribution of roots, the area and volume of tree nutrition.

Research results . After digging up the root system of annual crops created by sowing and planting, it is worth noting that already in the first years of plant life, differences in the structure of the root system are observed. Annual crops form a tap root system and form horizontal branches of the first order. It is worth noting that with an average height of annual crops of 19.1 cm, the root system has an average depth of 33.2 cm with deviations of 24–41 cm. A graphic representation of the depth of penetration of the root system into the soil is shown in Fig. 1

The root system of the planted crops differs significantly. In the first year of life, the plants reached an average height of 36.8 cm, and the root system - an average depth of 22.8 cm with a deviation of 19–28 cm. Horizontal orientation roots are formed, represented by first-order roots with their branches. The sown oak first forms the root system, and then the aboveground. Its root system, despite the difference in biological age of two years, is well branched and has a deeper extension. In the year of the creation of crops, oak seedlings are not able to create a more powerful root system compared to acorn crops. A planted oak, having a well-developed aerial part, gives nutrients to maintain vitality and to form an underground horizontal root system, but not its core part.

Fig. 1. The length of the root system of 1–3-year-old common oak plants, depending on the method of creation

When digging up 2-year-old planted crops, it was found that the oak creates a completely vertical tap root system. Oak roots reached a maximum depth of 101 cm with an average taproot penetration depth of 77.4 ± 8.3 cm. In crops created by planting, the root system is well developed, fibrous, but concentrated mainly in the humus and eluvial horizons. The tap root is missing. The greatest depth of root penetration into the soil is 61 cm with an average penetration to a depth of 48.4 ± 4.6 cm. The roots of the horizontal direction, which are represented by roots of the first to third orders, predominate in the root system. An important biological feature of oak is its regenerative capacity. This is the key to a successful engraftment of oak after transplantation. In one-three-year-old oak plants with pruned roots, each of them is restored. The total weight of the roots of seedlings with a pruned root system after restoration is significantly greater than the mass of roots of seedlings without pruning.

In the study of the root system of oak cultures created by planting, at the age of 3 years, no specimens were found that would form a tap root system. According to A.A. Bondar [2], in three-year-old crops such a root system is formed, which in the future will change little in shape and will only increase in size. The root system of planted plants is fibrous, the tap root is absent. The average root depth is 76.0 ± 6.8 cm, while the maximum penetration depth of individual roots of the third-fourth order is 94.0 cm. It is worth noting that the average height of planted crops is 92.0 cm. The bulk of the roots are concentrated in the upper soil layer with a depth of 10–40 cm. see These are second-order roots with third-fifth order ramifications.

Three-year-old oak crops created by seeding have roots reaching an average depth of 158.6 ± 11.7 cm, with an average plant height of 105.8 cm. This indicates a faster growth of the underground part of the plant than the above-ground part. Studies have found that in the upper humus layer there is a significant amount of thin horizontal roots, which indicates the development of the upper, nutrient-rich horizons. With a deepening into the soil, the root population decreases, vertical roots are found in small numbers, and taproots penetrate into the parent rock. The network of roots is especially developed in the upper 20 cm soil layer. The maximum depth to which the tap root penetrated was 194.0 cm. This means that the roots have taken possession of the upper water-intensive horizons of the parent rock. By the nature of their placement and external signs, shallow roots at a depth differ from the roots of the surface layers - they are weakly branched and stretch in the soil in the form of cords, and in the passages created by dead roots of other species, they intertwine with each other and form bundles. As M.I. Kalinin points out [6], the taproot system is formed in 70% of oak trees of natural origin. In planted crops, the number of individuals with a pronounced dominant main root does not exceed 45–50%. In about 30% of oak plants created by sowing, the main root at a depth of 40–60 cm is divided into 2–3 taproots, which, after branching, almost do not differ in linear weight characteristics. This is also confirmed by our research.

Conclusions .Analysis of research data revealed a logarithmic relationship between root length, age and method of creating crops. As a result of the research, it was found that there is a significant difference in the formation of the root system of the common oak, created by sowing acorns and planting seedlings. Sowing acorns contributes to the fact that the roots of seedlings in the first years of life occupy deeper layers of soil, which are better supplied with moisture. Oak seedlings are not able to create a more powerful root system compared to seedlings. They do not have taproots, which in their further development will affect their biological stability, survival and preservation of common oak trees.


1. Ahromeiko A. I. On the allocation of mineral plants by roots of plants / Ahromeiko A.I.-M.: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Ser. Biol., 1936. - No. 1. - S. 215–255.

2. Bondar A. Formannnya Lisovikh Nasajen at the DIBROV Podilla / A. O. Bondar, M. I. Gordienko. - K .: Harvest, 2006. - 334 p.

3. Gordienko M.I. Biological stability of oak depending on the nature of the structure of the root system / M.I. Gordienko, G.A. Poritsky // Forestry and afforestation. Scientific tr. USHA. - 1978. - Issue. 219. — S. 7–12.

4. Guz M. M. Korenev system in the villages of the Pravoberezhny Forest Steppe of Ukraine: monograph / Guz M. M. — K.: Yasmina, 1996. — 145 p.

5. Kalinin M. I. Root systems of trees and increasing the productivity of the forest / Kalinin M. I. — Lvov: Higher school, 1975. — 175 p.

6. Kalinin M.I. Forest root knowledge: pdruch. [for stud. vishch. navch. zakl.] / Kalinin M. I., Guz M. M., Debrinyuk Yu. M. — Lviv: ІЗМН, 1998. — 336 p.

7. Methods of studying forest communities. - St. Petersburg: NIIKhimii St. Petersburg State University, 2002. - 240 p.

8. Peculiarities of the root system of the splendid oak and regularity of water transfer in the tree / M. M. Guz, I. M. Ozarkiv [same name]. - Science. Bulletin of NLTU of Ukraine. - 2009. - VIP. 19.4. — P. 7–15.

9. Pogrebnyak P. S. Root system in the villages near the dibrovs / P. S. Pogrebnyak, M. N. Melnik // Pr. Іn-tu lіsіvnitstva AN URSR. - 1952. — T. 3. — S. 32–47.

10. Pohiton P. P. Distribution of tree and shrub roots in the chernozem zone / Pokhito P. P. - K .: Gosselkhozdat Ukrainian SSR, 1957. - 40 p.

11. Rakhteenko I. N. Root systems of trees and shrubs / Rakhteenko I. N. — M.-L.: Goslesbumizdat, 1952. — 107 p.

12. Soldatov A. G. Root systems of tree species / Soldatov A. G. — K.: Gosselkhozizdat of the Ukrainian SSR, 1955. — 104 p.

Basic terms (automatically generated) : root system, tap root, root, depth, crop, creation method, sowing, soil, deep root system, maximum depth.

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 log sawn from a 485-year-old oak 31 m high and 169 in diameter was shown.see This oak was cut down in the Bolshesurskaya forest dacha of the Kurmysh forestry of the Simbirsk province, that is, on the territory of the modern Shumerlinsky forestry 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.

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 ) grows in the alpine zone of these regions with densely pubescent shoots and sessile acorns or on a short stem. 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.

Oak cultivation

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 “harvest 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).

Transplantation of oak seedlings into a “shelter” should be done 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 damage to the roots - leafing is rather slow, and the growth of shoots 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 the 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-rounded (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, 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

Grows relatively fast, moderately hardy, not drought resistant 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 yellow-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

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 material is poured into 1 glass of hot water, boiled for half an hour, then filtered and the volume of liquid is brought to boiled water.

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