Quercus robur or the English oak is a large deciduous tree with a rounded, broad crown; branching is upright and spreading; growing to a height of 30 - 40 m. Growth rates are very slow although this species is very long lived i.e. 1000 years although the “norm” is 200 years. Quercus robur has an extremely high ecological values supporting numerous insect and wildlife species. The timber is highly prized for furniture and building purposes.
Culture for English Oak
A very hardy genus. Grows optimally in deep fertile well drained soil in sun or partial shade. Tolerant of city conditions and high pH although susceptible to frost and cold winds.
Concerns about English Oak
English oak is susceptible to a number of pests and disorders. Acute oak decline, honey fungus and powdery mildew are the major fungal diseases which attack this species whilst oak processionary moth (OPM), aphids and gall wasps are the major insect pests. In addition various bracket fungi can result in wood decay. Deer and rabbit can prove problematic.
Management Practices for English Oak
Sample soils for nutrient and pH levels especially if deficiency symptoms were evident during the growing season. The key to successful oak health management is to keep the tree in optimal health. Air-spading to alleviate soil compaction and control honey fungus combined with soil applications of biochar, appropriate fertilisers, phosphites and mulch. OPM control requires specialist training. Contact the UK/I laboratory if an outbreak of OPM is suspected/confirmed.