Oak trees have long been a part of human history and mythology. To the ancient Greeks, the oak was the tree sacred to Zeus, King of the Gods. In Norse mythology the oak was sacred to Thor. In more modern times, the oak has widespread symbolism in many European cultures and is considered a symbol of endurance and strength. In fact, the oak was designated as America’s National Tree in 2004.
Oaks are vitally important to all the ecosystems in which they live. They are an essential species at the base of the food chain, where they provide food for native insects, which are in turn of utmost importance for nesting songbirds to feed their young. The trees also provide vitally important acorns that feed mammals, both large and small, before the onset of winter.
Oaks are long lived and provide shade and beauty in our landscapes. Contrary to the notion that they are slow growing, young oaks are vigorous growers when planted into sites with decent soil, given adequate water and protected from browsing deer. From my personal experience, I’ve grown an oak from an acorn and watched it grow into a beautiful specimen over 30 feet in height in just 25 years. Indeed, planting an oak is a gesture of love for our planet and all those that dwell on it. Take a child and show them how to plant this seedling. It’s a skill that they’ll need for the future.