Quercus humilis

Today we are going to talk about a type of oak. It is about downy oak. It is known by the scientific name Quercus humilis and also by Quercus pubescens. Tree capable of growing between 10 and 15 meters in height and even exceeding 20 meters if the environmental conditions are favorable. It is a tree with many uses and that we can find forming dense forests.

In this article we are going to tell you all the details about Quercus humilis and the care it takes.

Main features

It is a tree with a trunk that can be straight. Its bark is ashen brown in color and turns black over the years as it matures. It also presents longitudinal cracks in the crust.

Their branches are sinuous and the twigs they have annuals are hairy style. It has simpler and alternate leaves. They can dry on the tree and stay there until spring, when they will be discarded by the tree itself for new leaf growth. The underside has a completely hairy texture in the spring and in some moments of the summer. Its blade is thick, but it does not harden as occurs with other trees such as kermes oak or holm oak.

Its root system is quite large and powerful with the appearance of secondary roots that serve to cover more land. They extend longitudinally to be able to capture more water and nutrients that make it grow and have a good flowering time.

As for their flowers, they have both male and female. Those that are in greater numbers at the ends are usually male flowers. They are found in groups from April to May and are in the twigs all year round. The female flower, however, are solitary or almost solitary. We find it on a peduncle with a hairy texture and they are capable of generating acorns grouped in a single peduncle. The fruiting season is in the fall of the same year.

Distribution area and seasonal requirements

This tree is not very demanding in terms of the type of soil in which it can develop. It tolerates more limestone soils better than other oak species. Mainly, they survive well in colder and wetter terrain. It is also not at all demanding in terms of fertility, depth and humidity. One thing that is somewhat demanding is the pH of the soil. It does not survive well in fairly acidic soils. He prefers those basic or neutral ones, although he also accepts some soils with the presence of plaster.

This type of tree is found in dry and stony terrain. The right climate has to be mild. Normally, the ideal is that the rainfall in the area where it is located should be above 600 mm/ year so that it does not have problems in its development. Likewise, it is capable of tolerating times in which rainfall is around 400 mm/ year.

In summer it is enough that there are rains of around 150 mm a year and they are usually covered with the typical summer storms. It is quite vulnerable to strong frosts or prolonged droughts. The area of ​​distribution is usually found more by a margin of temperatures. Ideal values ​​should be above -3 graphs and below 24 degrees. Height can also be a limitation when it comes to being distributed by zones. Normally, we find specimens of Quercus humilis from 400 meters to 1,500 meters. However, they can exceed these limits although it is more common to see more of them in this strip.

One of your important requirements is the amount of light you need. We find it mainly in southern Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus.

Vegetation structures of Quercus humilis

We are going to count the main vegetation structures in which we find this downy oak. Normally, they tend to hybridize with other species of the Quercus genus such as the rebollo or the gall oak. One of the hybrids that can generate from these crosses is the Quercus Petraea.

Due to the main characteristics it has and its seasonal requirements, we know that they have high light requirements for the youngest shoots and feet. From here we can intuit that the more mature forests will be lighter. Today it is quite difficult to find forests that are not disturbed by man. They are usually cut down for firewood or kept very clear to provide pasture.

The main Quercus humilis associations that we find are:

  • Oak groves with boxwood.
  • Mixed forests of Scots pine and Quercus humilis.
  • Forests with beech trees.
  • Oak groves with ferns.
  • Oak groves mixed with sessile oak.
  • Some associations with the gall oak.

It is very useful in forestry since it is normally used to obtain firewood with yields of up to 2 tons per hectare per year. We can find it in the areas of the Pyrenees and pre-Pyrenees where pastures and pesudodehesas systems are used. The density of the trees is usually over 20% and they offer shade in summer and acorns in autumn.

Care and uses

In gardening, Quercus humilis is widely used as a shade tree. Due to the density of its branches and the height it possesses, it is perfect for creating shaded areas for different activities. It serves to relieve us of the heat in summer or to go on a picnic with family and friends.

It can be reproduced by seed and must be done in spring, when temperatures are higher and there is a better guarantee of success.

As for care, since they can be adapted to many types of soil, we must take into account the drainage. The soil cannot be puddled or the roots will end up rotting. The ideal location is in full sun. It needs environmental humidity, although it can bear well droughts in summer and some moderate frosts in winter.

I hope that with all this information you can learn more about Quercus humilis and the care it needs. Do not forget that you can ask what you want in the comments.

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