Germination, Sowing and After Care Information for English Oak
The English Oak is a magnificent tree that almost everyone in Europe is familiar with, long-lived with a large wide spreading crown of rugged branches. It is a highly important tree for forestry and conservation purposes producing an excellent, versatile and durable timber whilst supporting a huge number of insect and animal species.
Best suited for medium loams and heavy soils including clay and even heavy clay soils and unlike the Red Oak it can even be grown on soils that experience some seasonal water logging. Dislikes dry or shallow soils but is otherwise drought tolerant once it is established. Suitable for soils of wide ranging pH from acid to alkaline soils over limestone. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or in full sunshine and can resist strong winds.
1. For sowing deep containers are required to accommodate the strong taproots of this species. Pots at least 20cm should be used and serious growers should consider using modules such as root trainers that allow air pruning of the roots to take place. These allow the production of superb young plants with no root distortion. Planting in shallow containers will cause severe root deformation.
2. Fill your chosen container with a good quality compost and press the seed into it to a depth of a couple of cm's (just under 1 inch). The orientation of the seed is not critical, generally speaking it is best if the root emerges to one side of the seed.
3. Make sure that the seed is covered, watered and place in a frost free place for germination to begin. If the seeds of the species become frozen they will die!
4. Initial shoot growth is very rapid and within a few weeks from germination the seedlings will be between 10 and 20cm high. The trees will then rest for a few weeks before developing a terminal bud that will break into rapid new growth if the conditions are right. This usually brings height growth to 20 to 40cm. To encourage maximum growth ensure that the trees are never stressed because of a lack of water and that they are well nourished and grown in a warm, sunny position.
5. Trees should be planted in their permanent position as soon as is practical. If they are large enough, at the end of their first growing season and certainly at the end of the second. Allowing them to be grown in too shallow a container for any length of time will cause permanent root deformities that can lead to the failure of the tree once it grows to a large stature.
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