Oak trees, in the Quercus genus, are grand looking trees that often have attractively shaped leaves and striking autumn colour. Known as the King of Trees, Oak trees have punctuated the British countryside for as long as we can remember. They're steeped in history, being of great cultural, mythological and religious importance.
Quercus is a large genus of trees and shrubs, with approximately 600 species. Most have attractive lobed leaves that can be evergreen or deciduous. They produce flowers in the form of catkins, with both male and female catkins produced on the same tree. Perhaps more iconic is the acorns that follow. Acorns are a type of nut and they each sit in an individual bowl like structure.
We offer an award winning selection of Oak trees, starting with the Common Oak or Querecus robur which is the one most people recognise. It is native to the UK, of great value to wildlife and makes a wonderful specimen in large gardens. Alternatively, Quercus rubra, a Red Oak, has ornamental foliage that turns red in autumn.
Quercus ilex, the Evergreen or Holm Oak, is valued for its evergreen screening properties. Whilst many Oak varieties are suited to medium and larger gardens, if space is limited then Quercus palustris 'Green Pillar' is an excellent choice with its narrow form. All of these varieties grow well in both full sun and partial shade, coping well with exposure to the elements.
Native to the Northern Hemisphere, Oak trees are a common feature amongst many landscapes in North America, China, Mexico and Europe. Oak trees are the UK's most common tree and have long dominated the British countryside. Known as the King of Trees, they have been a symbol for wisdom and strength and have played a large role in folklore. It was even thought that unless church pews were made from oak, your prayers would not be heard.
There are many famous Oak trees in existance around the world today, admired for their height and age. Famous oak trees include: the Bowthorpe tree in Bowthorpe, Lincolnshire which is thought to be 1000 years old and the Minchenden tree in Southgate, London, considered to be the largest oak tree in England with a girth of 27ft.
Oak wood is extremely dense, hard and strong. It is resistant to insect and fungal disease and has a high tannin content. These qualities, along with the attractive grain markings, mean it has been popularly cultivated for many different uses. Since the middle ages it has been a sought after wood used for prestigious buildings including the House of Commons in London and nowadays it is used for making flooring and timber frame buildings.
Barrels made of Oak are used in the process to make wines and spirits. The Oak wood adds flavour to the drink, different types of oak bringing out different attributes in the beverages. Oak chips are used for smoking fish, meat and cheese, a process for both preserving and adding flavour to foods.