The root system of a tree is not given the attention it deserves since it is not as apparent as the treetop. This arrangement of subterranean appendages is the tree’s predictor of health or disease, and it also acts as a foundation when the tree is surrounded by the wind. A mature oak tree’s root system can stretch for hundreds of kilometers. The taproot, an oak’s main support, develops vertically for a while before sprouting out.
Overview of the Oak Tree In Today’s World
Oak trees are part of a dynamic ecosystem that supports a diverse range of creatures, including humans. Oaks are prone to fungal infections that cause the plant’s interior to decay. Oak trees may be found in abundance throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. Mexico is regarded as the most abundant source of oak trees, with more than 160 species in total, followed by China, which has about 100 species. The oak tree is the United States of America country’s official or national tree. The oak tree is among the most popular trees in the world, and it is renowned as a sign of strength, courage, resistance, and wisdom.
Do You Know?
Oak was a sign of the god of thunder throughout Greek mythology.
Plant Specifications of the Oak Tree
Oak Trees are different from other trees of the world. What makes them unique are their characteristics or specifications which we need to understand before getting into the root system of it. It is said that oak trees are generally larger in size with a height of 70 feet and an exceptional width of 9 feet. Even its branches can spread up to 135 feet in height. Other properties of the oak tree are as listed below:
- As stated above, because of their huge size, oak trees may absorb a lot of water intake.
- On average, an oak tree can take up to 50 gallons of water on a daily basis.
- The leaves of most oak trees are lobed, however, other species have notched or flat leaves.
- The leaves of the oak tree are arranged in a spiral pattern.
- Oak trees have an average lifespan of over 200 years. While there are other species that may survive up to thousands of years long.
- Acorns are produced by oak trees between the ages of 20 and 50. It requires about 6-18 months for an acorn to grow and maintain itself.
- Oak trees are generally deciduous in nature. However, there are a few plants that remain evergreen. For example Live Oak Trees.
- The flowers of the Oak trees are bisexual i.e. it produces male and female parts both.
Types of Oak Trees
You might not have heard of the different types of oak trees but there are around 30 various kinds of them. Mainly these trees are differentiated into types namely: Red Oak Trees and White Oak Trees.
Red Oak Trees have their leaves with pointed lobes. They possess some tiny bristles on their leaves. The acorns of the red oak trees take about two years to reach the stage of maturity. Some well-known examples of red oak trees include black oak, water oak, willow oak, pin oak, northern red oak, etc.
While talking about white oak trees, their leaves are rounded with smooth lobes. Their acorns reach the maturity stage after a year of growth. Examples of white oak trees are chinkapin, bur oak, post oak, white oak, etc.
Now, let’s get to know about some other types of oak trees as well.
Live Oak Trees
- These Oaks, as the name implies, stay evergreen/alive even after other Oak trees lose their leaves in the cold season.
- The Live Oak trees, also referred to as Evergreen Oak trees are a species of oak tree that does not shed its leaves year-round, i.e., they are almost always active. The leaves of live oak trees remain on the tree till it dies.
- These evergreen leaves of the Quercus genus are found throughout North America, particularly across the temperate Atlantic coast. They can also be found in Gulf Coast and California. If you go towards South Asia and Southern European countries, you may also find some oak trees there as well.
Pin Oak Tree
- Pin Oak is also known as a Red Oak tree with its scientific name as Quercus palustris. Because of its ease of transplant and environmental tolerance, it is a favorite landscaping oak.
- For its affinity to moist soil, pin oak is sometimes described as swamp Spanish oak.
- What makes the pin oak tree clearly identifiable is the oval form of its canopy.
- They are rapidly growing plants that require clay soils and lots of sunlight. For best results, it takes at least 6 hours of unfiltered sunshine every day.
- Pin oak trees may be seen mostly in central and eastern America. They are indigenous to the southernmost tip of Ontario, Canada, and have even been imported to Australia, Argentina, and South Africa where they have acclimated well to the environment.
- Pin oaks have lustrous dark green foliage and may grow up to 60 to 70 feet in height.
Water Oak Tree
- Quercus nigra, often known as the Water Oak Tree, is a member of the Red Oak family.
- It is a North American species that plays an important role in the environment from New Jersey to Florida and westward to Texas.
- This plant has a shorter lifespan than other Oak saplings and is easier to care for.
- A Water Oaktree may live for 30 to 50 years on average.
- Water Oak has a softer wood than most other trees. It is a disease-prone tree with brittle wood.
- It is a shade and decorative landscaping Oaktree that is medium in size.
- The high quality of the soil is not a problem for water oaks. It favors moist and marshy environments, but it may also grow in well-drained, compact soil.
- Because the Water Oaktree produces a lot of acorns, it is a part of the food chain of a lot of nut-eating species like deer, ducks, pigs, turkeys, raccoons, and squirrels.
Oak Tree Root System
When an acorn initially emerges, the majority of an oak’s power is focused on root growth, with very little increased aboveground. The taproot is the first root in the oak tree, which develops deep below in search of a consistent source of moisture. After that, you can start seeing more leaf and branch growth in the tree itself. The taproot is soon overtaken by a horizontally expanding root system. This lateral root structure will provide the tree with nutrient absorption and moisture required for the rest of its life. The roots of most oak trees are just 18 inches deep in the earth. They can, however, stretch out to four to seven times the breadth of the tree’s canopy. Root hairs collect water and minerals and send the plant cycling forward through the root system. The root hairs of the oak tree are placed close back out from the ends of the smaller roots.
Oaktree roots thrive on soil that is slightly acidic and has plenty of oxygen. Species by species, the volume of water in the topsoil varies. Some roots thrive in damp soil, while others thrive in well-drained, compacted soil. Only a few oak tree varieties, such as native California oaks, can withstand drought-type land. The symbiotic link between fungi known as Mycorrhiza is depicted in Oaktree Roots. A symbiotic connection is a special sort of cooperation between entities of two distinct species that can be helpful or destructive to both of them. The fungi build a covering around the roots and safeguard them against disease-causing fungus in the case of Oak roots with Mycorrhiza. Mycorrhiza also improves Oak trees’ drought resilience and distributes the nutrients they acquire with their roots.
Diseases That Occur in the Roots of the Oak Trees
Fungal infestations are more likely to affect fragile oak trees. Armillaria mellea, Armillaria tabescens, and Inonotus dryadeus are several fungi that induce root rotting in white oak trees as well as other trees, according to some researches. Ganoderma and Phytophthora also induce root infection in vulnerable oak trees, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Oak trees that have been weakened by root disruptions or climate changes such as heat or drought or floods are vulnerable to these fungi that feed on the roots and then spread throughout the tree. The illness gradually depletes the tree’s water and nutrients, leading it to perish.
Oak wilt is caused by the pathogen Certocystis fagacearum. All oaks are affected by this disease. The breakdown of leaf veins is the most common indication of oak wilt. When the veins die, they change color, while the remainder of the leaf stays the same color or turns yellow. Even if the leaflets are green, they fall from the tree. This process begins on a single branch and extends throughout the tree. The infection is characterized by beetles that munch on sap and rooted grafts. The only approach to control this infection is to cut down the tree and discard or burn the roots as soon as possible. To prevent the infection from spreading, a ditch must be constructed around the diseased tree.
Maintainance of Oak Trees
To preserve oak trees healthy and vigorous, don’t alter the soil surrounding them. Keep movement to a minimum near the oak trees, and don’t do any substantial landscaping under or around them. Oak trees need not demand special watering since their root system absorbs enough water from the earth.
Uses of Oak Trees
- People in North America use the red oak tree in the treatment of wounds and ailments.
- The oaktree bark includes a compound known as tannin and it can be used to make leather and leather bags.
- Some people and animals use the Oaktree widely for obtaining shade under it. Because of its large crown, it can be used to provide shade in the summer season.
- Various bird species and animals depend on the Oaktree for their vegetation. It plays an important part in the ecosystem as a habitat for many organisms.
- Many traders of timbers use the Oaktree as it is well-known for its durable quality of wood.
- Many carpenters use the Oak tree in making furniture, cabinets, and flooring of the house.
Thus, the oak tree is useful in many ways, and to grow the Oak tree in a healthy way, its cultivation should be done properly keeping all the necessary tips in mind.