If you often read Western literature, oak trees are certainly not a strange name. This plant is called so often, even in European mythology, as if this genus has extraordinary mystical powers.
Even today, these plants are still a part of modern society. People love it for many reasons, from its lush shape to the philosophy in it.
They have even become part of gardeners’ collections around the world. If you are interested in enjoying its beauty in your garden, then read these instructions from start to finish.
Facts about Oak Trees
It is not an exaggeration to say that oak trees are special since there are some surprising facts about them.
From generation to generation, humans have indeed placed this plant in the highest place. Here are some facts about it:
Oldest Tree in European Mythology
People believe that these sacred trees have grown for 65 million years. It means that people have known them since ancient times.
No wonder the name of this plant appears in many classic literary works. Besides, oak trees are often associated with the existence of gods in the sky.
This belief probably arose because of its enormous size, shade, and very long life. Some tribes even worship the trees, especially those who live in Europe.
One of them is the Druid. They believed that marrying on that tree branch while carrying acorn would bring happiness.
Its Age Can Reach A Thousand Years
Not only existed 65 million years ago, but it also has a very long life. A specimen can reach 1000 years of age.
However, when it passes the 1000 year age limit, its growth will slow down. Apart from that, it also starts preparing themselves to die.
Currently, the oldest is in Mandeville, Louisiana, with an age of 1500 years. The owner, Carole Hendra Doby, named it Seven Sisters Oak.
Has a Giant Size
Mature oak trees grow up to 145 feet tall. Because it is tall and lush, this tree can protect its surroundings from the direct sun.
The Oak tree has a large diameter also makes people interested in making it a furniture material. However, you will need a large area of land to grow this plant.
It is Hard to Be a New Tree
During their lifetime, oak trees produce approximately 10 million acorns. They are not only seeds but also food for some animals, such as pigeons, ducks, and others.
The large number of animals that eat acorns makes it difficult for oak trees to reproduce by seed. Besides, there are various natural factors at play.
Oak trees only started producing acorns at the age of 50. As a result, the probability of growing into a new tree is only 1: 10,000.
However, some animals will be sick if they consume acorn, for example, dogs and horses. The acid contained in it will damage the stomach and kidneys.
During the 65 million years of existence, oak trees are divided into at least 600 species, both red and white. Its growth is spread throughout the world, starting from Europe, America, and Asia.
Unfortunately, the population of oak trees continues to decline. Their slow development, coupled with the high utilization, causes the number to continue to decline.
Until now, there are about 70 almost-extinct species. No wonder so many people are trying to preserve them.
Types of Oak Trees
We can find these plants in hundreds of species around the world. However, based on the oak leaves, we can divide them into two broad outlines, namely white and red. Here is the explanation:
White Oak Trees
The leaves of red oak trees are usually point-shaped, with fine bristles at the ends. The seed ripening process is quite long, reaching two years.
However, these will start to germinate shortly after falling to the ground naturally. Despite the long development, people prefer to plant these oak trees.
The reason is, this plant can grow to a height of 80 feet, complete with its dense, reddish leaves. It will give many benefits for everybody.
While still planted, red oak trees protect from direct sunlight and provide a shady feel. This tree also has strong roots that can survive a long life.
Also, many people use wood as furniture since it is sturdy and durable. Some of the common species are black, Japanese evergreen, water, pin, and willow oak.
Planting red oak trees was difficult at first due to the long ripening of the seeds. Moreover, you should ensure that the acorn is moist.
The recommended watering schedule in dry conditions is once a week. One thing, this plant is prone to interference, so you have to fence it off when they are young.
Red Oak Trees
Unlike the red type, white oak trees have round, smooth leaves. The seeds ripen faster, which is about a year. You can plant immediately after the acorn falls to the ground.
The height of trees is lower than red oak trees because they only reach 65 to 85 feet. Meanwhile, the diameter reaches approximately 40 feet.
Like red oak trees, the whites are often used as a furniture material but are less durable. The wood color is younger than the former and generally has a straight-line pattern.
Instead of the lower quality than the reds, you can still rely on it for various purposes. Some of the common species we encounter are chinkapin, bur, white, post oak, and many more.
The Best Oak Trees to Plant
In the previous section, you have read in detail the various types of oak trees. Now, what types are suitable for planting? To answer that, have a look at these recommendations:
It is capable of growing 60-75 feet and spreading throughout 25-40 feet. Many people use it as a shade because of its shape. In general, this tree has a straight trunk but is sloping with a canopy.
It is so-named because of the willow-like leaves shape. A single tree ranges in height from 60 to 75 feet, which is enough to provide shade.
The advantage of this kind is the trim acorns, which are not there in other types. Generally, people plant it on the side of the road or along the highways.
Because the plants are only 20 to 30 feet high, people call them the smallest of all oak trees. Despite their tiny size, these varieties are quite shady.
A proper place for planting the trees is a coastal area. However, many people grow them on the lawn as a fence or screen.
This time we are not talking about groups. There is a species known as the white oak tree. This breed can reach heights of 50 to 100 feet.
However, due to its slow growth, the averages can only grow approximately 10-15 feet in 10-12 years. Therefore it is not wrong to call it an investment.
White oak stems grow at the base. Hence, they can damage any sidewalk or patio if cultivated in the wrong area. Therefore, you should plant it in a large and permanent place early on.
Another tip, do not prune this tree outside of winter. In that season, the white oak will hibernate so that no action will damage it.
With an altitude that reaches 70 to 80 feet, you can get maximum protection from the hot sun. But in winter, the bark on the trunk will wrinkle to adapt to the environment.
Steps to Growing Oak Trees
If you have chosen the right seed, then the next step is to plant oak trees. You can use some methods. But in this discussion, we will focus on using seeds or acorns. Following are the steps:
Choosing the Right Seeds
First of all, you have to find the right seeds, according to the type you want to plant. Usually, acorns will fall from late September to early September.
Make sure everything is in good condition. You can usually plant white oak seeds immediately, while the red ones will still need a storage process until next spring.
A sign of a ready-to-plant acorn is that the lid loosens up so that it falls off easily. If you are lucky, you might find seeds that have started to sprout and have small sprouts.
The white oak is growing faster so that it can grow in just one season. Meanwhile, red variety will only develop after two seasons.
If you intend to plant the red oak trees, keep the seeds in the right conditions to avoid splitting or rotting prematurely. Then, let us learn how to store them well.
How to Store the Seeds
To plant the white oak, you do not need to store and do the seeds right away. Meanwhile, if you want to grow them soon, you should keep the acorns moist.
This storage method also applies to red oak trees. It is because seeds that dry out will lose viability and make the development imperfect. Here is how:
Place the seeds in a plastic bag filled with wet peat and sawdust. Close the bag but not too tightly.
After that, put it in the refrigerator with a temperature of 0-4 Celsius degrees or 32-40 Fahrenheit. Observe and make sure the temperature is right until the planting season arrives.
This method will give perfect results for red beans. However, if you want to plant white seeds, adjust the temperature to 0-2 degrees Celsius or 32-25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Planting Oak Trees
The next step is to plant the acorns of the oak trees. After going through the storage process, if you do, make sure the acorns are healthy and free of mold.
Firstly, put soil in to the pot. Choose a large container size as oak trees take up a lot of space as they grow. Do not grow them directly in the ground to avoid pests, fungi, and disease.
If the planting medium is ready, then you can immediately place the seeds in the soil. Do not bury them too tightly, and ensure that they are moist but not too wet.
Remember that the pot should have drainage holes. Otherwise, the roots will rot easily and the specimen might die quickly.
There are two ways you can do the transplant. Transplanting plants and seedlings will have different instructions. Here is the explanation:
You can do this action at least three weeks after germination. Another sign that the plant is ready for transplant is the appearance of oak leaves that look quite strong.
Otherwise, you should find the proper location. Make sure the oak trees grow in places away from streets, sidewalks, or patios.
The reason is, this plant is massive enough that its growth will damage anything on the surrounding soil surface.
The hole you prepare for transplanting should have organic leaf compost to support fertility. Put the germinated seeds in the soil that you dug. Bury and soak them in water.
Young Plant Transplant
If you are cultivating oak trees from young plants, the instructions are slightly different. One thing for sure, however, is to ensure the planting location is away from sidewalks and terraces.
First, dig a hole that is at least three times the root size. Ensure that there are no mold and disease in them, then place young oak trees in them. For this transplant, you have to bury it tightly.
Caring for plants
If you have transplanted it properly, the next step is maintenance. Do it regularly, but not too much. Excess fluid will make the roots rot quickly.
However, watering is not necessary in the cold weather. Meanwhile, during the summer, the oak trees will need more water.
Protect them to be always in a safe condition. Avoid some disturbance, such as heavy equipment or mischievous hands.
Oak trees are indeed special species because of their large size. Many people plant them because they provide comfortable shades.
Unfortunately, even though this plant has a long life, its population is currently decreasing. Thereupon, nothing is wrong if you help its preservation.
Planting oak trees takes patience because the growing process takes a longer time. Yet by doing so, you will take a significant part of the future.