Are Oak Trees Angiosperm or Gymnosperms?

Angiosperm plants have seeds enclosed in protective structures. Most hardwood trees--including oaks--are angiosperms. An oak"s seeds lie within its acorns. The acorn"s caps and hard outer shells allow the seeds to survive for months, improving their chances of sprouting.

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Angiosperm plants have seeds enclosed in protective structures. Most hardwood trees--including oaks--are angiosperms. An oak"s seeds lie within its acorns. The acorn"s caps and hard outer shells allow the seeds to survive for months, improving their chances of sprouting.


Angiosperm plants have seeds enclosed in protective structures. An oak"s seeds lie within its acorns.

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Oak trees develop their leaves in the spring during April, May and June. Leaf production depends on when spring temperatures warm the region up, triggering new growth. Oak tree leaves appear at the same time that the oak flowers blossom.


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Pruning Timing

Remove dead or diseased limbs any time. Just before the tree begins putting on new leaves in late winter or early spring is the best time for maintenance pruning. Winter pruning can shock the tree, and late summer and fall cuts may not have time to heal before winter sets in.

Pruning Frequency

According to the University of Florida Extension, you should prune live oaks yearly for the first three years. Afterward, prune every five years until the tree is 30 years old. This pruning schedule helps the tree develop a strong branch structure.


Oak trees develop their leaves in the spring during April, May and June. Just before the tree begins putting on new leaves in late winter or early spring is the best time for maintenance pruning.

Oak Wilt Disease

If oak wilt disease is a problem in your area, take special care when pruning. Oak wilt disease is a fatal disease usually spread by beetles. According to the Texas Forest Service, in early spring the beetles that spread the disease become active, and exposed cuts are vulnerable. Delay pruning until midsummer when the insects are less active, and treat cuts with pruning paint. Oak wilt disease also spreads through infected pruning tools, so disinfect your tools between cuts.

How Long Do Oak Trees Live for?

Oak trees are known to live for centuries, with the majority living at least 200 years. The oldest oak tree on record is estimated to be more than 1,000 years old.


If oak wilt disease is a problem in your area, take special care when pruning. Oak wilt disease also spreads through infected pruning tools, so disinfect your tools between cuts.

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Dig away the ground around approximately 25 percent of the above-ground roots with a small shovel. Select roots that are approximately 1 foot in diameter or less as these will provide fewer nutrients to the tree than the larger roots. Continue to dig until the surfaces of the selected roots are uncovered.

Cut the root at the point where it pokes out of the soil with a sharp hand saw, taking care that you do not cause damage to any surrounding roots or vegetation.

Recover the root with the soil that was previously removed. This will ensure that the newly severed roots do not become susceptible to fungal or bacterial infections.

Water the tree. Provide the tree with a healthy drink of water to replenish the recently compromised root system.


Dig away the ground around approximately 25 percent of the above-ground roots with a small shovel. Cut the root at the point where it pokes out of the soil with a sharp hand saw, taking care that you do not cause damage to any surrounding roots or vegetation.

Cover the area under the tree with a 2-inch layer of wood mulch. The decomposing mulch will offer nutrients to the tree"s roots while protecting the ground from any erosion, which will also expose roots that would otherwise remain underground.

How to Prune a Live Oak Tree

Remove weak or damaged tree limbs. Use a pruning shears for limbs less than 1 inch in diameter. For larger limbs, use a pruning saw.

Start each cut where the branch growth begins from the trunk. Make cuts in the same direction that the limb grows so new bark will close the tree"s wound.


Cover the area under the tree with a 2-inch layer of wood mulch. Start each cut where the branch growth begins from the trunk.

Prune tree limbs to a desired first branch height after several years of maturing. This will provide access under the tree for lawn care and pedestrians. The most common height from ground to first limb is 8 feet.

Prune damaged forking branches. Make cuts just outside the dead or diseased branch. This will encourage the healthy portion of the branch to heal over the wound.

Prune branches between 12 and 18 inches apart after the oak tree is several years old. This will decrease the need for crown thinning and allow good air flow within the tree.


Prune tree limbs to a desired first branch height after several years of maturing. This will decrease the need for crown thinning and allow good air flow within the tree.

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The maximum height of oak trees varies according to variety and growing conditions. As of 2010, the tallest measured United States oak--at 146 feet--was a chestnut oak in Fairfax, Virginia. Live, bur, pin, scarlet and willow oaks also measured more than 130 feet in 2010.

Information on Shumard Oak Trees


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Description

Shumard oak trees average about 75 feet tall, although they are shorter in cooler climates and can grow to more than 100 feet. The leaves are typically 6 to 8 inches long, with seven, nine or 11 bristle-tipped lobes. The trees are deciduous, with fall leaf colors that range from hues of red and yellow on brown leaves to russet to orange-red.

Growing Conditions

Shumard oak trees grow in rich, moist woods, especially near creeks or swamp. The tree grows in acidic, neutral or alkaline soils. Seedlings require full sun to develop, but established saplings and trees can tolerate partial shade. Established trees can tolerate drought but may lose leaves.


The maximum height of oak trees varies according to variety and growing conditions. Seedlings require full sun to develop, but established saplings and trees can tolerate partial shade.

Uses

Shumard oaks make good shade trees and are often planted as street trees. Lumber from the Shumard oak is hard, heavy and close-grained and used for veneer, flooring and furniture.

How to Identify Red Oak Trees

Identify the red oak by its size and form. The red oak tree reaches a mature height of 60 to 75 feet with a 45-foot spread and 1- to 3-foot-diameter trunk. The tree has a dense, rounded crown.

Study the leaves. The red oak’s thin, dark-green leaves have seven to 11 shallow, waxy lobes with bristle tips. The 4- to 8-inch-long leaves are arranged alternately along the stems and turn russet-red to bright red in autumn.


Shumard oaks make good shade trees and are often planted as street trees. The red oak’s thin, dark-green leaves have seven to 11 shallow, waxy lobes with bristle tips.

Look at the bark. The red oak tree’s bark is rough and dark near the base of the trunk and has broad grayish ridges divided by fissures on the upper trunk.

Examine the acorns: on a red oak tree, they should be round to oblong and ¾- to 1-inch long with a thick, brown cup that’s saucer-shaped. The cup doesn’t have fringe and is shallow with flat scales.


Tip

Although they’re inconspicuous and sometimes difficult to see, you can also identify the red oak by the pale yellowish-green catkins that it produces in April and May. These flowers emerge at the same time as the spring leaves are growing on the tree.


Warning

Don’t confuse the red oak with the scarlet oak tree, both of which grow to about the same size and have red autumn leaves. Unlike the red oak, the scarlet oak tree has deeply-lobed leaves that are small, only 3- to 5-inches long. The scarlet oak also has light-brown acorns that have much deeper cups than those of the red oak, with the cup covering about half of the nut.


Use

The bark from cork oak trees is used to make cork stoppers for wine bottles. Although cork trees do grow in some other locations, only cork from the Mediterranean region is of high enough quality to produce natural wine corks, according to the Jelinek Cork Group.

California Cork Oak

Cork oak trees were imported to California and planted. Although the trees still grow in California, the bark on them turned hard and woody and cannot be used to produce cork stoppers.


The red oak tree’s bark is rough and dark near the base of the trunk and has broad grayish ridges divided by fissures on the upper trunk. Although the trees still grow in California, the bark on them turned hard and woody and cannot be used to produce cork stoppers.

Considerations

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, cork stoppers are an important source of income for thousands of people in the Mediterranean region, and the trees support one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity. Alternative wine bottle stoppers threaten the market for natural cork stoppers, and the WWF has started a program to conserve cork oak landscapes.

How Far From the House Should an Oak Tree Be Planted?


Plant oak trees at least 5 to 10 feet from a house, the University of Nebraska recommends. Avoid locating oak trees near sidewalks, driveways or other structures to reduce root competition and vulnerability to pests and diseases.

How to Prune Burr Oak Trees

Trim the trees between December and March, which is the season that growth is at a standstill. Pruning them during the growing season can easily lead to disease and insect infestation.

Prune young burr oak trees as little as possible in their first two years of growing. The roots need time to become established.


According to the World Wildlife Foundation, cork stoppers are an important source of income for thousands of people in the Mediterranean region, and the trees support one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity. Alternative wine bottle stoppers threaten the market for natural cork stoppers, and the WWF has started a program to conserve cork oak landscapes.

Choose the strongest vertical branch to be the central leader or trunk for the tree. Use shears to remove other shoots that grow next to it, competing with it.

Do more pruning in the second to fifth years. Cut off lateral branches that grow straight up along the central leader branch.

Climb a ladder and trim off branches that are too large. They should be less than half the diameter of the trunk.

Remove branches with V-shaped joints, which are not as strong as U-shaped ones, when the tree is five to ten years old. Use pole pruners to reach into the canopy.


Choose the strongest vertical branch to be the central leader or trunk for the tree. Use pole pruners to reach into the canopy.

Raise the burr oak"s crown by cutting off limbs that face downward from the bottom of the canopy. Crown raising will improve the tree"s shape and allow for clearance below.

Saw off diseased, damaged or dead limbs as soon as you spot them. Trim them at the point where they meet healthy branches.

The Average Size of Oak Trees


The average size of mature oak trees is 50 to 70 feet tall. Oak trees live more than 200 years and take 20 to 50 years to produce the first crop of acorns. The larger and older the oak tree, then the more acorns it produces.


How to Prune Northern Red Oak

Use hand pruners to remove small stems and branches from the leader (main branch) of a young northern red oak. Cut branches a quarter inch above the bud. The bud should face the outside of the plant to force a new branch to grow outward.

Use a pruning saw or pole pruners for large branches. Make three cuts in the branch to avoid tearing the bark. The first cut should be 18 inches from the trunk on the underside of the branch at a depth that is half way through the branch. Make the next cut 2 to 3 inches above the first, cutting until the branch falls to the ground. Locate the branch collar, a small swelling coming from the trunk of the tree, and cut the remainder of the branch.

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Use hand pruners to remove small stems and branches from the leader (main branch) of a young northern red oak. Make the next cut 2 to 3 inches above the first, cutting until the branch falls to the ground.

Apply latex wound sealant to prevent insect damage. Use the wood chipper to grind branches into mulch. This mulch can be added directly to garden beds or placed into a compost bin to breakdown and used in gardens. Clean pruners before using on the next tree to avoid transmitting possible diseases.