The oak tree is a strong deciduous tree with deep roots, which can grow fairly quickly the first 80-100 years then slows down in growth for the next few hundred years. The oak has antiseptic properties, and is known as the king of trees. More insects feed on the tree than any other species, with support for 30 species of birds, such as nut-hatches, woodpeckers, warblers, and flycatchers. There is also 300 species of lichen associated with the oak. Two main types of native oaks are found in Britain. The common oak which has acorns with long stalks, and the dominant oak with acorns which sit to the right on the twig, rather than from a short stalk.
The leaves are dark green with curvy edges and are about 8cm. The spread of the tree produces good conditions for blue bells, foxgloves, primroses, and wood sorrel to grow under it’s shade.
Oak Berries (Acorns)
Catkins flower in spring, and acorns appear in autumn. Acorns were placed on window sills to guard the home from lightening and harm by our ancestors. In folklore the tree was associated with the God Thor, and other thunder Gods, believing to protect the tree itself from being struck by lightening.
Woodlands, hedges, parks are the main areas to see the planting of oak trees. Brown dye from the bark made ink, and was also valued in the leather tanning industry. Ships, tutor houses, woodcarving, furniture, doors and heavy weight bearing beams were all made from oak.
The oak tree fairy
The tree spirit was said to be of masculine strength, giving fertility power, endurance, and prosperity to those who sought its help.
Boiling its bark was used to treat harness sores on horses, and in the past used externally for piles, and internally for diarrhoea.
Transition Wilmslow have some expert people with a developed sense of awareness as to the role trees play in our lives: and seek to bring this knowledge into focus for the health and well being of us all. A small section of a recreational area off Gravel Lane has been planted with fruit trees with this objective in mind. In Styal woods a number of oak trees have been planted within the hedges by people wishing to remember someone who has been important in their lives. Trees can mark occasions in many ways.