Oak tree

Main characteristics of the oak tree

The oak tree belongs to the fagaceae family and is widespread on a large scale throughout the European continent. The largest specimens exceed thirty meters in height and live up to five hundred years. Oak varieties can be divided into two large groups: deciduous and evergreen. The plants that begin to lose their foliage with the first autumn colds are found in the continental areas while the others live better in typically Mediterranean climates. Oaks have an erect and vigorous trunk surmounted by a well-branched crown that can take on an umbrella, oval or rounded shape. The bark has a light gray color that in the first years of life is smooth but with time it cracks.

Leaves and seeds

The oak tree is characterized by lobed leaves of different shapes depending on the variety. Some are very large and silvery green in color while others are smaller and have a more pronounced color. The smooth margins are presented with numerous edges or rounded. In autumn the deciduous leaves turn yellow and then turn orange and finally, before falling, they have a carmine red color. The seed of the oak, also known as the acorn, remains firmly attached to the branch until it completes its maturation. It has a leathery casing inside which the real seed is contained: a delicacy for squirrels, dormice and wild boars that in the absence of other decidedly tastier things, make great feasting.

Oak cultivation

The oak plant propagates easily by sowing. Collect the fallen acorns in the autumn season and sow them immediately in pots that you will keep outdoors, even during the coldest winters. Prepare a suitable soil for their germination by mixing peat together with a small percentage of fine river sand and place it in the vase after having placed some small pieces of stone on the bottom. In this way you will be sure of obtaining a perfectly drained soil capable of providing the seed with a good chance of germination. If the seed takes root and begins to produce roots and leaves, wait at least two years before planting it in the chosen place that will have to be sunny and ventilated.

Oak tree: Using the oak

Oak is grown for numerous purposes. It produces highly sought after and expensive timber with unique characteristics. In fact, having a slow development, its wood has a good calorific value and its strong fiber lends itself well to the creation of furniture or parquet boards of great value. It is rarely cultivated for its fruits except in rare cases, when it is necessary to forage wild animals. It is well suited for decorating public parks or private gardens. As an adult it does not need attention and does not even need pruning. For this reason it is the most suitable tree for those who are not familiar or have specific skills in green maintenance. In some areas, oak is used to create very shady tree-lined avenues.

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