Through the Garden Gate … “Knocking on Wood: Trees, Part 2, Oak Tree
This is the second part of a blog on trees, this time focusing on the mighty oak. In California, we have some of the
The Valley Oak is the largest oak tree variety in North America. Mature trees are over 100' in height with a 150' spread and are up to 600 years old. Most large Valley Oaks are over 100 years old, and most seedlings are trampled by cattle, so few new trees are taking their place in the woodlands. As some of the mature trees become surrounded by growing cities, many are succumbing to the new microclimates, especially from too much water from lawns and other landscape watering. If you find yourself on an isolated island with a group of these old trees, such as in some of our State Parks, you will be in an almost magical place apart from the world, mostly unchanged since before the California gold rush.
Oaks contain tannins, used for tanning skins and giving that trade its name. These are also an important aging flavor for wines. These tannins were also thought to provide this apparent healing magic, but it's really not magic at all – tannins in oak trees are still used to bring down fever and staunch wounds among herbalists today, being a potent astringent.
- Article, (Plant folklore): https://gardenerspath.com/plants/plant-folklore
- Article, (Greek Mythology): https://www.britannica.com/topic/dryad
- Article, (Quercus lobata): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_lobata
- Photo A (Large oak tree seen from the bottom looking up to the canopy. https://gardenerspath.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/red-oak.jpg
- Photo B (Oak leaf in red fall color): https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1071184