Here at tentree, we’re no stranger to the oak tree. We’ve planted thousands of silky oak trees in Nepal and fire-resistant white oak trees in Oregon. Oak trees are truly interesting, amazing trees. Here are 10 facts about oak trees that might surprise you!
Oaks grow tall
Oak trees can grow to gargantuan sizes. Some are able to reach 70 feet in height, 135 feet in length, and 9 feet wide. One of the largest oak trees is found in Goose Island State Park. Their sheer size makes them thirsty trees, absorbing upwards of 50 gallons of water a day. This makes them great urban trees, soaking up rainwater runoff and preventing erosion damage.
Oaks produce a fruit
Did you know that acorns are a fruit, not a seed? Oak trees don’t start producing acorns until they reach around 20 years old. One oak tree can make 2,000 acorns every year, but only about 1 in 10,000 will become a new tree. Long odds!
Oaks feed wildlife
Numerous animals subsist on the acorns and leaves dropped by oak trees. Pigeons, ducks, pigs, deer, squirrels, and mice all find a delicious snack in an acorn! But be warned. The tannic acid found in acorns can be toxic to cattle, especially young cows.
Oak is used to make alcohol
Oak wood barrels are often used in the storage and manufacture of various alcohols. Wine, whiskey, and brandy are all stored in oak barrels. Some types of beer are oak barrel aged as well.
Oaks make instruments
Oak wood is well known for being hardy and strong. Oak makes solid furniture, ships, floors, and Yamaha drums are even made out of oak trees!
Oaks live for centuries
Almost all species of oak trees live at least 200 years old. Some oak trees can survive for thousands of years. One oak tree, planted by King John, has survived for 800 years through the reigns of 35 other monarchs.
America’s national tree
Oak trees were declared America’s national tree in 2004, symbolizing the nation’s strength and sturdiness. It is also the national tree of England, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Wales, and Serbie.
Oaks in the armed forces
Oak leaves are symbolized in the ranks of the United States Armed Forces. A silver oak leaf designates a Lieutenant Colonel or a Commander. A goal oak leaf indicates a Lieutenant Commander or Major.
Oak tree mythology
Oak trees are associated with numerous mythologies and religions around the world. In Norse mythology, the oak tree is the sacred tree of Thor, the god of thunder. The Greeks believed oaks to be a sacred tree of Zeus, the king of the gods. It is also a significant tree to the Slavic god, Perun. The Bible makes mention of the oak tree at Shechem, and oak groves were planted by Druids for religious rites.
Oaks and Robin Hood
Perhaps the most famous oak tree is the Major Oak near Edwinstowe, a village in the heart of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England. This tree is said to be as old as 1,000 years old and is believed to have been where Robin Hood and his merry men took refuge from the law.