Botanical name: Quercus robur
Common names: English oak, Slavonian oak, pedunculate oak, black oak, Sherwood forest tree, Sussex weed, truffle oak, Polish oak or French oak.
Habit: Part of the white oak family it will grow to a height and width of about 30-40 feet. The leaves are simple and alternately arranged on the twigs. They are 4 to 8 inches long and 2 to 4 inches wide with the broadest portion toward the outer end of the leaf. The leaves are similar to white oak and are dark green in color. Young twigs are light brown. Flowers appear in April or May with both male and female flowers borne on the same tree. The fruit appears slightly slender being approximately ¾ to 1 inch in length and not very wide. The cap covers about 1/3 of the acorn. The bark of older trees is light to medium grey with moderately ridged furrows at maturity.
Culture: Grows in most soils and does best on moist, well-drained soils. It has shown to be extremely drought tolerant and its leaves will maintain their dark green appearance despite relatively high pH levels. Although it is not as large or long–lived as bur oak, it is a quicker growing species under dry conditions and growth of 12-18 inches a year is not uncommon. Although it does best on deep, well-drained soils, English oak is adaptable to extremely droughty conditions and high pH levels. It is native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia. Zones 5-8.
Use: Because of its adaptability to droughty conditions and its tolerance of high pH levels, it is an excellent choice in windbreaks. It does not tolerate shaded conditions very well; therefore, it should not be planted adjacent to fast-growing species that might over top it without adequate space between species. Acorns constitute a good staple food for a variety of birds and animals. Woodpeckers, jays, flickers, squirrels, whitetail deer and gamebirds such as wild turkey will consume the acorns.
Problems: Where there is high humidity, English oak’s greatest pest is powdery mildew. Although the white-appearing fungus is unsightly, it generally has no affect on the tree’s health whatsoever.