Oak (Quercus)

Oak is a big tree

When we talk about oak, we refer to various species of the Quercus genus that have very similar characteristics and needs. In general, they are plants with a rather slow growth rate but that, nevertheless, can enjoy a fairly long life.

With them it is possible to have a spectacular garden, one of those old ones in which it was very easy to disconnect from the routine and have almost direct contact with nature. Do you want to know everything about the magnificent oak tree? 

Origin and characteristics

Oak leaves are green in spring and summer

Oak are a series of deciduous trees distributed throughout America, Asia and Europe, found from 0 to 2000 meters above sea level, growing on soils often free of lime.. Its leaves are large, up to 18cm long, with very serrated margins, green in color except in autumn when they turn yellowish or reddish before falling.

A forest of these plants is known as an oak, oak, or oak. The species that are called like this are:

  • Quercus faginea: known as Carrasqueño oak, Valencian oak or Quejigo, it is a deciduous tree native to the Mediterranean region. It reaches 20 meters in height, and blooms between April and May, before the oak. See file.
  • Quercus humilis: known as downy oak, it is a deciduous tree that normally reaches 10-15 meters, although it can reach 25m. It is native to central and southern Europe, Turkey and Crimea, but is in danger of extinction due to habitat loss. It blooms in spring.
  • Quercus petraea: known as sessile oak or winter oak, it is a deciduous tree native to the mountains of Europe, found in beech, birch, sessile pine and / or other oak forests. Its flowers sprout about April-May.
  • Quercus Pyrenaica: known as melojo or rebollo, it is a deciduous tree native to the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa and France that reaches 25 meters in height. In Andalusia (Spain) it is a species protected by law. See file.
  • Oak: known as common oak, horse oak, cajiga or ash oak, it is a deciduous tree native to Europe, found in association with beech or oak. It is the national tree of Germany and Latvia. See file.
  • quercus rubraKnown as American Red Oak, American Red Boreal Oak, or Northern Red Oak, it is a deciduous tree native to the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and northeastern Mexico. It reaches 35-40 meters in height, and is one of the most beautiful species, because in autumn its leaves turn red. See the file (and let yourself fall in love 😉).

Their life expectancy can be anywhere from 200 to 1600 years, much longer than any animal.

What are their cares?

The trunk and leaves of the oak are very decorative

If you want to have a specimen of oak, we recommend that you provide it with the following care:


The climate that is favorable to it is the temperate type. Needs to feel the passing of the seasons; In other words, in order for it to grow well, it is essential that it be hot in summer (without reaching the extremes of 40ºC, yes), and that in winter the temperature drops below 0ºC.


Being a large plant, it needs a lot of room to grow. Thus, should be planted in a spacious garden, at a distance of about 10 meters from pipes, walls, etc., as well as from other tall plants.


  • the garden: grows in fertile, loose soils, rich in organic matter and often fresh.
  • Flower pot: its cultivation in a container is not recommended, although during its first years of youth it is possible to keep it there with substrate for acidic plants.


Oak acorns are fed to livestock

Oak is a plant that does not withstand drought, but does not like waterlogging too much. For this reason, it is highly recommended to check the humidity before each watering, for example by introducing a thin wooden stick (if it comes out with a lot of adhering soil when you extract it, we will not water).

Other options are to introduce a digital humidity meter, or if it is potted, weigh it once watered and again after a few days.

You have to use rainwater or lime-free.


From early spring to late summer It is advisable to pay it with guano (for sale here!), manure or other household fertilizers once a month. If you have it in a pot, use liquid fertilizers, such as this for acid plants following the indications specified on the package.


It's not necesary. Just remove the dry, diseased, weak or broken branches that it has.


The Oak multiplies by seeds in winter, since it needs to be cold before germinating. The way to proceed is as follows:

  1. The first thing to do is fill a tupperware that has a lid with previously moistened vermiculite.
  2. Then, the seeds are sown and copper or sulfur is sprinkled to prevent the appearance of fungi.
  3. Next, they are covered with a layer of vermiculite -also moistened-, and the tupperware is covered.
  4. Afterwards, the tupperware is put in the fridge, in the sausage area and so on for three months.
  5. Once a week, it will be removed and opened to renew the air.
  6. After those twelve weeks, the seeds will be sown in pots of about 10,5 cm in diameter with substrate for acid plants.

Thus, they will germinate in 2-3 weeks.


En general, it resists frosts down to -18ºC and is not affected by late ones, but could not live in tropical or subtropical climates. I myself - I live in the south of Mallorca, annual temperatures of -1ºC minimum and 5ºC maximum - I have a hen and it hardly grows.

What uses does it have?


Oak is a deciduous tree that turns beautiful in autumn

Without a doubt, its decorative value is very high. As an isolated specimen it is spectacular. In addition, it gives very good shade.

It is also valid as a bonsai.

Cattle feed

The acorns they produce are often given to feed livestock.

Oak wood

It is durable, and easy to work and cut. It is widely used in construction, as well as for interior decoration. With it wheels, cars, ladders, bridges, railway sleepers, wagons, and a long etcetera are made.

And up to here the oak 🙂. What do you think of these trees? Do you have any?

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  1.   Maria Fernanda said

    I have an oak tree that has grown tall and its stem very thin.
    should I wait for time to pass or can it be fertilized with something appropriate?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria Fernanda.

      In order for the trunk to grow fat, it is important that it be placed outside, in a bright area, and in a pot that has to be increasingly wide and deep. It is also important to pay it with some compost, such as guano, compost, mulch, or if you prefer, some fertilizer for sale in nurseries. Of course, it is important to follow the instructions specified on the packaging.


  2.   Joaquin said

    Hi Monica, first of all thanks for the blog, very useful and complete information.

    I have three oaks, two sprouted (by the wet napkin and aluminum foil method) that I plant in separate pots at the end of July this year (No. 30 and No. 25 the size of the pots). The third one has been on the ground since March but just 2 months ago it started to come out of the ground (I stirred the ground and I was removing the rest of the rotten acorns).

    The problem is that all 3 stopped growing, both in stem size and leaves, like a month and a half ago. I am from Argentina, here it is spring and before entering it they were growing very fast, while we were leaving the winter. I had problems with aphids and I put a chemical insecticide (a horrible smell, I do not recommend it, better the natural). I fix the aphids but a few yellow spots came out (I don't know if it was the insecticide or sunburn from the watering). Thinking that the growth arrest could be the soil they had, which was medium hard, I changed ALL the soil to the 3 and put compost on it (keeping the roots submerged in water and avoiding the sun during the process). This change of land did not make them grow any more. Finally, Powdery mildew appeared about 3 weeks ago, and 2 weeks ago he sprayed Potassium Soap (once a week).

    The oaks in pots are with better coloration (the largest still shows powdery mildew). The one on the ground suddenly appeared many black dots on two leaves and is losing color (I sure applied iron sulfate). Aside from growth, is it okay to apply nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium plus magnesium to oak soil?

    The height they stayed at is 22cm (N ° 30), 12.5cm (ground) and 8cm (N ° 25).

    I leave images for if they are useful. Greetings.


    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Joaquin.

      Thank you very much for your words 🙂

      Based on your query, now that they are a little grown, it is a good idea to start paying them, yes. But if you can, try to get guano, which they sell in plant nurseries. The guano it is natural (it comes from the waste of seabirds or bats), and it contains the necessary nutrients so that young trees can continue to grow well.

      Anyway, if you have powdered copper, it would not hurt to throw a little around each one, since at this age they are vulnerable to fungi and copper keeps them protected.


      1.    Joaquin said

        You're welcome.

        Tomorrow I look for guano and copper sulfate (I was tempted to use the inorganic ones that I already have, but surely the guano is better).

        One thing that I forgot to ask, is there no problem that the two oak trees in pots are already grounded, or is it better to wait for a time for that?

        Greetings and thanks: 3

        1.    Monica Sanchez said

          Hi Joaquin.

          From experience, guano is a very fast effective fertilizer, comparable to that of chemical fertilizers, but with the advantage that it is natural. The only thing is that being already in autumn I would not recommend fertilizing your plants very often; that is, if there are frosts in your area in two months for example, it would not be good to pay them once a week because what they want is to rest, not to grow. A monthly subscription should suffice.

          As of spring, yes, it can be paid more frequently (always following the instructions for use).

          Regarding your question, it depends on when the frost starts. Ideally, they should have at least two months of "good weather" so they can get through the transplant.


          1.    Joaquin said

            Hello Monica.

            The guano is already working (I didn't get copper sulfate, but the guano has copper). The little girl is already growing 7 new leaves and it is seen that new ones will come out soon ( https://ibb.co/gD64YN8 ). The ground one is spreading the stem but slower ( https://ibb.co/7VBJQc5 ). The large pot remains the same for now.

            I ask about the transplant because the nursery told me to wait a year before putting it on the ground. Clearly the potted ones are better (in terms of color and diseases) but I don't know if so much being in the ground is counterproductive to transplantation.
            Now here in Argentina it is spring. Where I live, the temperatures never dropped below 1 ° C (if it happened it was an exceptional day). In winter they are rarely below 5 ° C and above 16 °. In summer it rarely goes above 30 ° C (without exceeding 38 ° C) and drops below 19 ° C.


          2.    Monica Sanchez said

            Hi Joaquin.

            Wow, they do look pretty now. Congratulations 🙂

            Answering your question, it is true that it is worth waiting a little before putting it on the ground, and more if it has been in the pot for a short time since if it is removed and has not finished rooting, what the root ball is it would crumble and it would be harder for the tree to get through the transplant. But if you see that it has roots coming out of the holes in the pot, then it would be a good idea to put it on the ground.


          3.    Joaquin said

            Hello Monica.

            Come on, I wait for the root ball to grow. Now it only remains to give them the appropriate care until they are strong enough to fend for themselves.

            Thank you very much for all the information, it served me an amount.


          4.    Monica Sanchez said

            Thank you for trusting Gardening On.

            If you have any further questions or problems, we are here.


  3.   Marcelo said

    Good morning:
    My neighbor's rural property is incredibly dirty and with sheet metal constructions in poor condition. As I made 150 seedlings of oak quercus robus, I wanted to make a green wall to cover the view of the neighbor. I was thinking if possible, keep them at a maximum height of 4 meters and at what distance to plant them so that they close. (They are properties of 4 hectares, rural).
    Thanks since now.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello, Marcelo.

      I do not recommend it. Think that they are trees that can reach 40 meters. They tolerate pruning, yes, but not to that extent. They are not trees that are used as hedges.

      If you want, tell me what the minimum and maximum temperatures are and I will tell you some species of trees that can be worked as hedges, such as country maple for example.


  4.   Marcelo said

    It is very easy to get good oak seedlings. I have a Robus oak about 15 years old and last year it gave a huge number of chestnuts. Prepare soil and black nylon pots and plant 300 chestnuts. After winter they began to germinate and by the beginning of summer only 5 or 6 had failed (southern hemisphere, Uruguay). Note that seedlings do not withstand strong sun well and grow best in semi-shade. As the soil in the pots goes down as it tightens, it is necessary to replenish it up to the edge of it. I did it every two months, after the molts reached 20 centimeters in height. Now comes the heaviest stage, planting all the seedlings. I think they will occupy an hectare easily. One question, can they be planted in the early summer, having easy watering? Thanks since now.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello, Marcelo.

      First of all, thank you very much for your comment. I am sure that it will serve many.

      Regarding your question, the ideal is to plant them in spring, but if it is done with great care and care (without manipulating the roots much), and if they are also watered later, then it may be that they will resume their growth without problems soon. having been planted.


  5.   Juan said

    Hello, I have oaks about 10 months old, I have them in 20-liter pots outdoors and the largest ones are about 1 meter, taking into account that it will freeze soon, I should put them in a covered place although not Give them the sun, or if I leave them outside will they survive the frosts? Otherwise, another option is to make a greenhouse with nylon and enclose them outside.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi John.

      I would leave them all out. Oak is able to withstand moderate frosts from a very young age.
      But if you don't want to risk it, you can always leave some without protection and others with, for example with plastic.