Because of their typically large canopies, oak trees are also valued for shade. Some oak varieties have distinctly lobed leaves. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Native oaks are found in different habitats, from swamps to dry land in higher elevations. It’s often found in traditional, craftsman, and mission style furniture and is the wood of choice for the Amish, as well as famed furniture designers Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright. The Northern pin oak is the home of the endangered Kirkland's warbler. These galls hold insect eggs and protect larvae, while not harming the oaks. Still other birds like barn owls and wood ducks use cavities in oaks to make nests. The acorn, the fruit of the oak, provides a food source to numerous animals, including squirrels, chipmunks, bears, deer and birds, such as ducks, woodpeckers and pigeons. Oak trees, specifically the interior live oak, scrub oak and coast live oak, are used in hillside stabilization projects because of their extensive root systems. Oak tree characteristics include hard wood, seeds called acorns and, often, lobed leaves. The swamp chestnut oak was also called the basket oak because its wood was easily split into thin strips and was used to make baskets for carrying cotton. The live oak, an evergreen oak found in the Southeastern United States, is used as a coastal wind break. The formations known as galls can be found on some oaks during summer and autumn. English oak acorns were also once used for making bread flour, prior to the production of wheat. English oaks make a very fine, hard timber used in furniture and architecture. The oak itself provides shelter to nesting birds and mammals and deer and other animals eat the twigs of the tree. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Today, oak is used for railroad ties, flooring, fi… In addition to uses for people, oaks provide sanctuary and food for many kinds of animals. In North America, some common species include northern red oak (Quercus rubra), white oak (Quercus alba) and coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia). Badgers and deer feed off the trees' acorns. Oak trees are attractive hardwood trees generally known for their sturdy wood. Oak forests provide habitats for many native species and are therefore important to ecosystems. Oak trees are sturdy hardwood trees, historically prized for wood. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. Oak wood has been used as a hardwood timber for thousands of years, yet it takes up to 150 years before the wood from an oak tree can be used for construction. Oak tree flowers and buds provide food for caterpillars, and invertebrates live off of the decaying oak leaf litter. e.g. The bark was used for tanning leather for thousands of years. Their botanical name, Quercus, means “beautiful tree.” Oak tree uses vary from timber and furniture to shade and medicine in nature. “Field Guide to Trees of North America”; National Wildlife Federation; 2008, “The Encyclopedia of North American Trees”; Sam Benvie; 2000. The willow oak wood is primarily used for pulp and paper production and many times for lumber. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. The oak is a slow-growing, long-lived tree. Both the northern red oak and white oak provide food for mammals and birds. Modern uses for oak wood include homewares, flooring, wine barrels and firewood. Dianne features science as well as writing topics on her website, jdiannedotson.com. Oak trees, specifically the interior live oak, scrub oak and coast live oak, are used in hillside stabilization projects because of their extensive root systems. The nuts themselves can be rounded or pointy, depending on the type of species. J. Dianne Dotson is a science writer with a degree in zoology/ecology and evolutionary biology. The swamp chestnut oak was also called the basket oak because its wood was easily split into thin strips and was used to make baskets for carrying cotton. California live oak forests are the habitat of reptiles and amphibians, according to “The Encyclopedia of North America Trees” by Sam Benvie. A surprising yet interesting fact about willow oak is that it has a lot of medicinal properties and has been used externally as an analgesic. Oak is a hard, durable wood. Other types of oak trees include overcup oak, sawtooth oak, scarlet oak, bur oak and pin oak among others. In England, English oak (Quercus robur) is the most common variety. Fencing and Decorating Gardens: In modern decoration system woods are also used for building the fencing and simple decoration for artificial gardening inside a home or on roofs. She spent nine years working in laboratory and clinical research. A decoction of willow oak wood chips or bark has also been proven to be extremely beneficial for chronic diarrhea and hemorrhages. Oak wood has a density of about 0.75 g/cm (0.43 oz/cu in) creating great strength and hardness. White oaks makes sturdy barrels and fence posts, as well as firewood. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, oak-tree leaves image by Galyna Andrushko from. It is used for its timber, for ecological projects such as soil retention and is a habitat and food source for animals. One of the more interesting oak tree characteristics is the presence of tannin in bark. Oaks provide animal habitats and food. Oak was used during colonial times for ship building, fence posts and for oak barrels because of its water resistance, according to the “Field Guide to Trees of North America,” by the National Wildlife Federation. Some animals that eat acorns hide them to eat another time, and by doing so they essentially plant new oak forests from any forgotten acorns. Sacramento Tree Foundation: Oaks and Wildlife, Woodland Trust: Oak, English (Quercus Robur), Arbor Day Foundation: Oak Trees — There’s an Oak Tree Where You Live, Three Rivers Park District: Species Spotlight: Northern Red Oak Trees. Oak is a hard, durable wood. Often used as a wood substitute for red oak, black oak is a small to medium sized tree that prefers to grow on poor soiled hillsides instead of valleys where the bigger White and Red Oaks grow. White oaks were used for various ailments such as diarrhea and asthma, and they were a source of antiseptics and washes. The wood is very resistant to insect and fungal attack because of its high tannin content. In other regions in the past, English oak leaves and acorns and bark were used to treat diarrhea and other maladies. The oak tree is part of the beech family, a large genus with over 200 species, most of which are found in the Northern Hemisphere. It is sometimes called yellow oak (Kentucky), yellowbark oak (Tennessee), or smoothbark oak (Georgia) depending on what State it is found. English oaks provide homes for many insects, which in turn provide a food source for birds. You can find numerous types of oak trees around the world. Oak is one of the most popular woods used in furniture and flooring in the US. A lifelong writer, Dianne is also a content manager and science fiction & fantasy novelist. White oaks are renowned for their highly durable wood, and they are prized for furniture, flooring and cabinets. Swamp chestnut oaks were also called cow oaks because its acorns were fed to the cattle of early settlers. Oak was used during colonial times for ship building, fence posts and for oak barrels because of its water resistance, according to the “Field Guide to Trees of North America,” by the National Wildlife Federation. Oak trees, specifically the pin oak, the chestnut oak and the Northern red oak, are planted along city streets and in parks, such as Central Park. Deer, blue jays, turkeys, rodents, raccoons, squirrels and bears use parts of oak trees for food. Red oaks have more pointed lobes and bristles, whereas white oaks have rounded lobes. Northern red oaks produce acorns between 20 and 25 years of age. Northern red oaks are used for many commercial products such as fence posts, railroad ties, floors and cabinets. The English oak produces acorns when it reaches 40 years of age. It also has very appealing grain markings, particularly when quartersawn. The acorns from holly oaks are fed to pigs. All Rights Reserved. They were used as ship-building material in the past. The coast live oak, in particular, has horizontal root branches that aid in anchoring the tree, according to USDA Forest Service. White oaks can reach 100 feet in height. The oak tree is part of the beech family, a large genus with over 200 species, most of which are found in the Northern Hemisphere. Oak wood is used for flooring, cabinets, furniture, pallets, firewood, and everywhere a strong attractive wood is required. Oaks tend not to produce acorns until they are quite mature. One of the classic oak tree characteristics is the acorn. Caroline Fritz has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in northwest Ohio. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Swamp chestnut oaks were also called cow oaks because its acorns were fed to the cattle of early settlers. 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