American Oak: [Growing, Care, Pests and Diseases]

Important points when planting American oak

  • When? The seeds of the acorn, fruit of the American Oak, must be sown as soon as winter arrives.
  • Where? In large gardens, away from buildings and on forestry land for the use of its wood.
  • How do we prepare the land? Soils must be well aerated, with excellent depth, with high permeability so that water does not puddle and with varied nutrients, rich in organic matter and pH 5-6.
  • How do we sow? The acorn provides the seeds that squirrels and birds carry when they consume it, watering them in fertile soil. And they are harvested in the fall and stored under refrigeration, and then planted in winter.
  • How do we pay? Every 15 days in spring and summer, with fertilizers rich in organic matter, vegetative growth will be enhanced.
  • When do they bloom? In spring,red, ovoid-shaped male and female flowers bloom.
  • Ideal temperature? It supports very low temperatures, it does well but excessive heat does not do it well, beyond 30ºC. It needs mild summers and cold winters.
  • How do we water? Intense irrigation water in summer, with a frequency every 2-3 days and the rest of the year changes to every 4-5 days.
  • Diseases and pests? It repels a lot of pests and diseases, but you have to be aware of the attacks of beetles that love its leaves.

What is American oak?

The American Oak, or Quercus rubra, belonging to the Fagaceae family, is one of the most spectacular deciduous trees in nature.

It reaches about 35-40 meters in height and has a trunk with an estimated maximum diameter of up to 2 meters.

Also known by the names of American Red Oak, Northern Red Oak or Boreal Red Oak, it is native to North America, growing in the northeastern United States.

But there are also specimens that have spread to the north of Canada and also to the south of the Gulf of Mexico. In Europe it is highly appreciated for forestry purposes, thanks to its rapid growth rate and its adaptability to various environments.

On a commercial level, its light reddish brown wood is highly valued in joinery, construction and carpentry. Spain has this beautiful species of tree in the north, which includes Asturias, Galicia, Cantabria and the Basque Country.

But equally, it has a presence in parks and public gardens. It is an imposing tree. It has a very dense, bushy crown with large branches, like its leaves, between 12 and 22 centimeters in length.

Its trunk is straight and cylindrical that gives a super hard wood, very robust. The spectacle that it offers in autumn is incomparable, when it is dressed in a simply brilliant red that amazes the eyes of any mortal. It has female and male flowers, which bloom in spring with a red ovoid or egg shape.

And the fruit is known as an acorn, which serves as food for squirrels and various species of birds that transport them from one place to another, making the seeds germinate, a very effective form of natural multiplication.

Where should we plant it?

Considering that it is a tree that grows a lot, it is necessary to plant it in a large garden as soon as the plant reaches a minimum height of about 30 cm.

Of course, away from buildings and where the morning sun rays reach it moderately, because it also needs shade to grow healthy.

When should American oak be grown?

This tree reproduces thanks to the seed stored in its acorns, which must be sown as soon as winter arrives, once they are harvested in the fall.

They must be kept in low temperatures that range between 4ºC to 6ºC, in order to preserve them. A curious fact is that a single specimen can produce between 200 to 500 seeds per kilo, with a germination rate of over 80% under favorable conditions.

How do we prepare the land?

The soils must be deep and highly permeable and well aerated, incapable of flooding.

Although the ideal is that they have a good level of nutrients, if not, there is no need to worry so much, because the American oak plant grows quickly, regardless of the quality of the land where it is located.

But there is something very important: it does not thrive in very arid or dry land when summer arrives, or very frosty or soggy soil in winter. The ideal is soils rich in organic matter, with a pH estimated at 5 to 6 and they should never be planted in limestone soils, which have a lot of lime.

How to plant an American oak step by step?

This tree has the rare quality that it can be multiplied or grown from seeds, but they must spend about three months in the cold, or they will not germinate.

For this reason, the following procedure must be followed, step by step, as soon as winter arrives and you want to obtain a robust and healthy American Oak.

For plantations with forestry purposes, the northern part of Spain is the one that most favors it. And if you want it for ornamental purposes, any large garden will do well, as long as the soil is free of lime.

Stratify seeds naturally

  1. Take a pot of good depth and large diameter and prepare it with a substrate rich in organic matter, mixed with perlite or vermiculite and black peat in equal parts.
  2. Spread the seeds out very carefully, preventing them from sinking too deep. She waters and lets time pass and you will see that in the spring they will have germinated in a spectacular way.

Stratify seeds artificially

  1. If you live in a region where winters are mild, then you should preserve the seeds with the help of a cooling process at about 6ºC or less, keeping them in the refrigerator for about 3 months before sowing, if you want to guarantee success in the operation. of cultivation.
  2. It is necessary to prepare a plastic container with vermiculite, moisten it, then sow the seeds and then spread vermiculite again.
  3. In spring, the seeds will have already germinated and when the plant reaches about 30 cm it will be ready to be planted in its definitive place of life.

Plantation frame

When you want to cultivate a plantation for forestry purposes, they should be planted with an intermediate distance between plants, between 4.3 to 4.4 meters.

Experts recommend that the seedlings do not have a height of more than 1 meter, in order to make them adapt to their new environment.

It is also recommended that during the first year a slow-release fertilizer for hardwoods mixed with the soil be applied in the hole of the plantation, which should be added in a dose of approximately 30 grams for each plant.

This notably helps to improve rooting and stimulates growth.

What care does the American oak need?

  • The soil where it will live should be slightly acidic, that is, with an estimated pH between 5 to 6 and excellent drainage.
  • One of the key factors of this deciduous tree is the irrigation technique. It must be made more intense in summer, every 2 or 3 days and spaced the rest of the year, where it will be enough to water every 4 or 5 days.
  • Both in spring and summer, the warmest months of the year, it must be paid religiously every 15 days to strengthen it, with organic or mineral fertilizers. The former are always preferable, because they do not cause any damage.
  • It supports very low minimum temperatures, freezing up to -25ºC, but it does not tolerate maximum temperatures exceeding 30ºC, so it is necessary to consider that although it is a rustic tree, it will survive as long as it remains in places with mild summers and very cold winters.. Otherwise, it is difficult for it to survive for many years.

What pests and diseases attack the American oak?

It is a fairly resistant tree to pests and diseases. But sometimes they can be attacked by pests such as beetles, which must be combated with the application of insecticides in doses recommended by experts.

How long does the American oak live?

It has an average lifespan of around 200 years.

How long does American oak take to grow?

It grows slowly, taking its time to form its grandiose structure, so it will spend up to 20 years in this process.

How long does it take to produce fruit?

7 to 9 years is how long an American oak is likely to need to start fruit production.

Either way, your productive peak will come in your 40s or 50s.

Can it be grown in a pot?

As it has a slow growth, it is possible to keep it in a pot for some time, but sooner or later it will be necessary to move it to the garden.

Another way to keep it in a pot is to work it as a bonsai.

How many times does the American oak produce fruit?

It makes one to two annual productions depending on the space where it is established.

Should the American oak be pollinated to obtain fruit?

It is not necessary to pollinate. This task is carried out by the wind naturally.

How cold can American oak tolerate?

The American oak has a high rusticity that places it in spaces where winters are cold and icy, withstanding up to -25° C.

How many American oak trees can be planted per hectare?

The dimensions of the American oak and the space occupied by its roots force the density of oaks present in one hectare to be between 70 and 100 units.

What Kind of Fertilizer Does American Oak Need?

It is not demanding in terms of the type of fertilizer, making good use of the nutrients provided by organic fertilizers in general.

How much heat and/or drought can American oak tolerate?

It does not do well in areas where summers reach temperatures above 30°C.

On the other hand, it does not do well in the summer drought, especially when temperatures rise a lot.

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