Why plant Audubon® Native Black Oak Treeling?
Black Oak brings birds to your backyard and does it with style. Like all native oak trees, it attracts countless caterpillars, beetles, bugs, and leafhoppers, which many songbirds rely on for nourishment, especially when raising their hungry chicks. You’ll appreciate this tree for the beauty it brings to your landscape in all seasons. Spring brings showy yellow catkins and new leaves emerging fuzzy and red. Summer brings glossy green foliage and cooling shade. In fall, the leaves transform once more to shades of butterscotch, deep orange, or bronzy red. In winter, Black Oak’s bold framework is laid bare. Handsome and wholesome!
In the past, Black Oak was a utilitarian tree sought out by many different crafters and tradespeople. Woodworkers used the wood for split rail fencing, flooring, and barrels. Potters used it to fuel the fires for their kilns. Tanners extracted the tannins in the bark for curing leather. And dyers found a useful yellow dye hidden in the inner bark. (Scratch a branch, and you’ll see this yellow pigment for yourself.) Black Oak was widely available in the eastern states; it is native from Maine to Florida and west to Minnesota and Texas.
How to use Audubon® Native Black Oak Treeling in the landscape?
The list of caterpillars that Black Oak supports is incredibly diverse. Most of these are animals you have never heard of. For example, it feeds moths such as the hesitant dagger moth, the slowpoke, the girlfriend underwing, the silky sallow, the spun glass slug, and the green-dusted zale!
Hardiness Zone: 3-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Black Oak Treeling
Plant your Black Oak in an area where it will have lots of elbow room and will receive full sun all day. It is not fussy about soil and will be quite drought tolerant once it’s established. Water regularly during the first couple of years while it is putting down roots. Little pruning will be necessary, but if you must prune, do so only between December and February. The fungal disease Oak Wilt can strike when Oaks are pruned during active growth. Black Oak is particularly sensitive to root disturbance, and construction in its vicinity can be fatal. Plant it where it will be left alone to live a long and happy life!
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. If planting in the fall, use Elements fertilizer while planting and start your regular annual fertilizing the following fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established as it gives your tree the nutrients it needs to produce lush new growth for the following spring.
How To Prune
A young tree may need a little extra support to ensure that it lives a long and healthy life. Stake your new Treeling with a 6-8 foot tall wood or bamboo stake. Use expandable ties that will stretch as the tree grows, fastening the stake to the main trunk from the base to the top. Check the ties every few months, at least twice a year; ensuring the ties are not digging into the trunk. If there is any sign of this, take the tie off and reattach it, giving the tree more room to grow.
As your tree grows, remove a few of the lower branches each year in mid to late summer. Remove these lower branches before they reach 1/2 inch in diameter. It is better to make small cuts to avoid cutting a large, more mature branch - this is too stressful for the tree. Each year, make any corrective pruning needed, paying particular attention to removing damaged branches, rubbing branches, multiple leaders at the top, or suckers at the base. Limit any pruning to no more than 25% of the branching structure in a given year. Pruning benefits the tree and helps to achieve a balanced tree form.
After two or three years you can feel free to remove the stake from the tree.