- Suitable as a woodland tree, hedgerow tree or parkland tree
- Native (one of only two native oaks)
- Deciduous tree with broad crown and lobed leaves, catkins are followed by acorns
- Supports more life forms than any other native tree
- Very long living
Grown on our farm in Herefordshire. Buy with confidence - read our customer reviews.
The specifications shown below are our normal range but we often have additional options. If there is something that you are looking for, it's often worth contacting us.
|Product Options||Height||Age||Root Type||Specification||1+||100+||500+||Quantity Qty|
|30-40cm||2 yr||Bare Root||1U1 (undercut)||£1.00 (ex. VAT)||£0.90 (ex. VAT)||£0.80 (ex. VAT)||
|20-60cm||1 yr||Cell grown||cell grown||£1.90 (ex. VAT)||£1.80 (ex. VAT)||£1.70 (ex. VAT)||
|40-60cm||2 yr||Bare Root||1U1 (undercut)||£1.20 (ex. VAT)||£1.00 (ex. VAT)||£0.90 (ex. VAT)||
|60-80cm||2 yr||Bare Root||1U1 (undercut)||£1.55 (ex. VAT)||£1.40 (ex. VAT)||£1.25 (ex. VAT)||
We have Quercus robur bare root trees in several sizes and specifications. They are grown from seed (acorns) but normally take more than one year to become viable plants. The 1U1 specification are sown into seed beds and then left in situ for two full growing seasons before they are lifted ready to be sold, having had their roots trimmed underground at the beginning of the second growing season which helps them develop a fibrous root system and speeds up top growth.
In some years, depending on the growing conditions, some of our crop become ready to sell (at lower prices than normal) after just one year and if we have any of those they are listed on the product table as 1+0 which means they are seedlings (sometimes called whips) grown from seed in one growing season.
All these plants are grown by us in Herefordshire.
We always have several batches of seed in this species including UK provenance (often Welsh) so if the seed provenance is particularly important to you, please give us a call so that we can allocate plants from the best batch for your needs.
In addition we have cell grown Quercus robur plants which are grown by one of the UK's best specialist growers and these are ideal for forestry or woodland creation or amenity planting, and these plants are available all year round.
You can read more about the specifications we offer on the tab just below the pricing table - to the right of this product description.
Quercus robur is the most majestic of all our native trees, and a home to more wildlife than any other native tree species. It features in most woodlands and is sometimes the dominant species in lowland woodlands and forests - and actually the second most common species of tree in the UK. Oak wood is tough and gets tougher as it seasons. Oak framed buldings are still constructed of wood that is not yet seasoned (green oak) so that it shrinks as it dries. Its timber is much prized for furniture and historically for ship building. Admiral Lord Nelson used 6000 oak trees to build HMS Victoria and the 14th century roof of Westminster Hall was pre-constructed from 600 oak trees and then assembled on site. But as well as producing construction timber, oak can also be coppiced every 20 -25 years.
Oak trees are very long living – some specimens are thought to be over 1000 years old but many do not make it to old age. There are two examples in Somerset (Gog and Magog) thought to be 2000 years old and King Offa's oak in Windsor Great Park is thought to be 1300 years old (Offa was an 8th century Anglo Saxon king of Mercia). Its form is a very broad, spreading crown with heavy branches. The largest oak tree in the UK is in Sherwood Forest and has a spread of 28m and a root spread of 40m from the trunk - it's called Major Oak named not for it's magnificent size but after Major Hayman Rooke who's 1790 book called "Remarkable Oaks" commented on this particular specimen.
It is estimated that a 400 year old oak tree can host more life forms than any other native tree - up to 284 different species of insect in its canopy and support 2000 different types of bird, bat, lichen and fungi.
Oak trees produce up to 25m highly nutritious acorns over their lifetime (but will not start producing acorns until the tree is about 40 years old) feeding endless generations of squirrels, mice, jays, badgers, deer, pigs, sheep, cows and horses as well as producing the seed needed for the next generation of oak trees (we literally sow the acorns which contain one seed - see photo). But in some years there can be tremendous acorn shortages and Autumn 2021 was one of those years, leading to shortages for tree nurseries (ourselves included) to sow the following spring and therefore shortages of tree saplings available to buy in the 2022/23 season and likely also in the 2023/24 season, so customers are advised to order early (even a year early) to secure planting stock.
Sacred to the gods of thunder and lightening, the mythological reputation may have some basis in fact because mature oak trees are often taller than surrounding trees and they have a high moisture content, making them well placed to conduct lightening. When trees are hit by lightening the sap heats up rapidly and evaporates into steam, blowing off parts of the bark and marking the course of the lightening strike.
On the nursery, we always have to wait with bated breath for Quercus robur acorns to germinate - they are the slowest of all the species we grow often taking 6 weeks or more from seed sowing to the first signs emerging. Although they are sown quite deep into the soil, squirrels and crows will be watching us sow and many of the acorns we sow are lost to them. In the wild, jays and squirrels bury acorns to just the right depth and then fail to remember where they all are. Quercus robur saplings take two seasons to grow from the acorns we plant whereas many other species are grown in one season and this is a large factor in the the higher cost of each sapling sold (along with the cost to us of the acorns).
Quercus robur is particularly common in southern and central England but can be found throughout the UK. Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) tends to be a better choice for northern, western wetter areas. Oaks prefer deep, moist, fertile soil but will grow on poor soils and in very windy situations where it grows slower, resembling more of a large, wind shaped shrub instead of a majestic straight tree.
Whilst Quercus robur is a very popular choice for productive woodlands, it is also used as a hedgerow tree. It grows quickly to produce a broad crown but it does not prevent a hedge from growing properly under its shade and in its early years it will not steal moisture and nutrients from the adjacent ground because of its deep tap roots. Later it puts out a large root plate with smaller tap roots which give oak trees good drought tolerance. Oaks grow well in sun or partial shade.
The leaves are about 10cm long with 4 or 5 lobes, with smooth edges and virtually no stalk. The male flowers are long yellowish catkins which appear in bunches alongside the leaves and female flowers are small and inconspicuous. Acorns develop in autumn and mature from green to brown, and then pop out of the scaly cup and fall to the ground and “great oaks from little acorns grow”. The alternative name of pedunculate oak comes from the "peduncies" or stalks that the acorns grow on. The acorns are a highly nutritious foodstuff for small mammals which in turn attracts owls hunting for prey.
The leaves break down easily in Autumn to provide an excellent source of mulch to condition the soil.
The bark is smooth on young trees but as the tree ages, the bark becomes rugged and cracked which provide crevices for insects and bats.
The eventual height is usually around 20m (but can be up to 40m) and it is slow growing at about 30cm pa. It can take up to 100 years for Quercus robur to become a viable timber source – we are currently harvesting timber from oak trees planted by the Victorians.
This section gives definitions on the specifications of plants that we sell. We are specialists in field grown (or bare root) plants which are grown in two ways. The majority are grown from seed, some are ready within one growing season (seedlings or 1+0's) and some species require two growing seasons (1u1's). In addition to growing from seed we also grow from small plants or cuttings (transplants) which are much more widely spaced (taking more land, more irrigation water, fertilisers and labour). There are only a handful of bare root wholesale nurseries in the UK and of those even fewer grow transplants but Ray Jenkins has many years' experience of transplanting so we grow these in large volumes. Ray has written this blog about the benefits of bare root plants and how they are grown and another blog which gives further detail on bare root specifications.
The detailed specifications are shown below. If you are in doubt about what specification to use please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of the project (and photos if appropriate) and we will advise you.
1+0 - field grown in one season from seed, known as a seedling (sometimes called a whip), generally a slender single stem plant. These are the cheapest specification and are particularly suitable for planting where weed competition will be less intense, soil is shallow or on exposed windy sites. Gives a high root to shoot ratio and minimal plant "check".
2+0 - a 2 year seedling, field grown from seed in the same seed bed in two growing seasons where the species cannot be grown to a saleable plant from seed in one season
1U1 - 2 year old plant called an undercut, field grown for two seasons in the same seed bed and undercut by machine (a sharp blade cutting the roots under the soil level) after the first year to develop the root structure. We do this with several species which take 2 years to develop (eg oak, beech, hornbeam)
1+1 - 2 year old plant (transplant) grown from seed in the first year and then transplanted into a different area of the field and spaced out for the second growing season - a robust plant with a larger and more robust root system than seedling or undercut plant which will enable it to better withstand drought and weed competition. Often the best choice and the staple norm for farm hedging and this specification is a requirement of the Countryside Stewardship Grant
1+2- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two growing seasons giving a tall, stocky, bushy plant
2+1- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further growing season, giving a strong bushy plant
3+1 - as above but field grown for a further growing season for more height and a very bushy plant
1+3- 4 year old, one year field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for three years, giving a very strong, bushy plant
2+2- 4 year old, two years field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two years - a very mature plant suited to certain species like beech and hornbeam where we can offer almost instant hedging
and some that are a bit different.....
P9 - a plant grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel in a 9cm pot (for holly which germinates poorly in the field)
Cell grown - a plant grown in small deep cells (like a small yogurt pot) and then lifted out of those for transportation. Commonly used in forestry and large hedging projects. Very high quality plants with excellent success rate. See our blog on the benefits of cell grown plants.
C+1 or C+2 - a 3 or 4 year old plant initally started as hardwood cuttings grown on for a year as cell grown plants and then lined out in fields to grow on for a further 1 or 2 years (a technique used for Cherry Laurel)