How much do you know about oak? This is one of the most desirable woods for home furniture and decorative accessories and it belongs to the genus Quercus which includes more than 600 different species of trees. There are only several evergreen varieties, the rest being deciduous.
Oak trees are found in the northern hemisphere, growing in temperate climates, but also including the Mediterranean and tropical forests. Unfortunately, some species are threatened by deforestation, fungal diseases, insects and other invasive species. If you have any concerns about an oak tree on your property, contact an Essex Tree Surgeon. You can find an Essex Tree Surgeon at a site like Benchmark Landscape.
Here are some interesting facts about oak that you may not know:
Oak trees can grow to be very large in size, sometimes reaching up to 70 feet high and 9 feet wide. The branches have been measured to be 135 feet long.
Because of their sheer size, oak requires a lot of water every day, absorbing about 50 gallons a day.
One of the largest oak trees can be found at Goose Island State Park in the US. It stands 45 feet high, 35 feet wide, with an impressive range of 90 feet in diameter.
Oak trees have leaves that are shaped differently depending on their species. They can be serrated, lobed or flat with some species having leaves that contain feathers.
The trees produce fruit that act as the seed. An oak tree does not start to produce seed until between 20-50 years! Oak can produce a staggering 2,000 seeds per year with only 1 in every 10,000 growing into another tree.
The trees make both male and female flowers, the females are much smaller than the males. The male flowers are known as catkins and can be found growing in clusters.
The seeds are a nutritious food source for many animals such as pigs, squirrels, pigeons and rats.
Oak trees can be dangerous for animals however. Leaves, buds and seeds contain tannic acid which can prove toxic to livestock. This can lead to ulcers forming in the stomach, causing birth defects in calves and kidney damage.
Oak is very popular in construction because of its strength. It is used to build ships, drums, furniture and flooring.
It is also an option to use oak for the manufacture of wooden barrels used to store wine and whiskey. This gives the wine and liquor an aroma that is typically highly-sought after.
Such is the importance of oak that it is the national tree of many countries, including Latvia, Poland, the UK, Germany, France, and the US.
One of the oldest coins discovered in the UK is carved with an oak tree on one side.
Most oak trees will live to be over 200 years old, but there are some species that can survive much longer than that – up to 1,000 years. One particular oak tree planted in the United Kingdom during the reign of King John saw a further 35 monarchs on the throne after reaching the grand old age of 800 years.