English oak trees are arguably the best known of British native trees. It is the most common tree species in the UK, especially in southern and central British deciduous woods.
Scientific name: Quercus robur Family: Fagaceae
Acorns are not produced until oak trees are at least 40 years old. Peak acorn fecundity usually occurs around 80 – 120 years.
English oak trees are a large deciduous tree up to 20-40m tall. As common oak trees mature they form a broad and spreading crown with sturdy branches beneath. Their smooth and silvery brown bark becomes rugged and deeply fissured with age. Oak tree growth is particularly rapid in youth but gradually slows at around 120 years. Oaks even shorten with age in order to extend their lifespan.
Leaves: around 10cm long with 4-5 deep lobes with smooth edges. Leaf-burst occurs mid-May and the leaves have almost no stem and grow in bunches.
Flowers: are long yellow hanging catkins which distribute pollen into the air.
Fruits: its fruit, commonly known as acorns, are 2–2.5cm long, borne on lengthy stalks and held tightly by cupules (the cup-shaped base of the acorn). As it ripens, the green acorn takes on a more autumnal, browner colour, loosens from the cupule and falls to the canopy below.
Oak trees accept most types of soil, including sand and clay. Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball. Mix a good compost in with the soil you’ve removed from the planting hole, then fill in the hole, tamping down the soil. Oaks can grow very large, so space it away from other trees. Oak trees resist strong winds and are drought tolerant once established.
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