Quercus robur, commonly called English oak, is native to mixed woodland areas from the British Isles to the Caucasus. It has been widely planted in North America since the 1600s. It is a large, majestic, deciduous oak of the white oak group that typically grows in cultivation to 40-70’ (less frequently 100’) tall with a broad-spreading, rounded crown. Trunks are typically short, with ridged and furrowed dark gray to black bark. Fruits are oval acorns (to 1” long) on 1-3” long stalks. Acorn caps extend approximately 1/3 the acorn length. Acorns are an important source of food for wildlife. Short-stalked, dark green leaves (3-5” long) with 3-7 blunt lobes per side are blue-green beneath. Small auriculate lobes at the leaf bases distinguish this species from the similar American species of white oak (Quercus alba). Leaves are variable in shape. English oak has long been an important timber source in England. Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist well-drained loams, but adapts to a wide range of soil conditions. Hardy in zones 5-8.
Growing Instructions for the English Oak
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 2. Put the seeds in a ziplock bag. 3. Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 2 months. 4. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. 5. Sow the seeds 1 inch deep. 6. Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet. 7. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.