White oaks were used for various ailments such as diarrhea and asthma, and they were a source of antiseptics and washes. The formations known as galls can be found on some oaks during summer and autumn. The swamp chestnut oak was also called the basket oak because its wood was easily split into thin strips and was used to make baskets for carrying cotton. Oak wood has a density of about 0.75 g/cm (0.43 oz/cu in) creating great strength and hardness. Oak trees, specifically the interior live oak, scrub oak and coast live oak, are used in hillside stabilization projects because of their extensive root systems. Oak tree uses include timber, shade, shipbuilding, furniture, flooring and barrels, among other uses. Oak trees are attractive hardwood trees generally known for their sturdy wood. White oaks can reach 100 feet in height. Today, oak is used for railroad ties, flooring, firewood and in furniture building, because it readily absorbs stain and varnish. Caroline Fritz has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in northwest Ohio. Swamp chestnut oaks were also called cow oaks because its acorns were fed to the cattle of early settlers. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. They are not typically used for barrels because of their porous quality. J. Dianne Dotson is a science writer with a degree in zoology/ecology and evolutionary biology. Because of their typically large canopies, oak trees are also valued for shade. English oaks make a very fine, hard timber used in furniture and architecture. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! The English oak produces acorns when it reaches 40 years of age. Oak is one of the most popular woods used in furniture and flooring in the US. Oak trees are sturdy hardwood trees, historically prized for wood. The live oak, an evergreen oak found in the Southeastern United States, is used as a coastal wind break. e.g. The acorn, the fruit of the oak, provides a food source to numerous animals, including squirrels, chipmunks, bears, deer and birds, such as ducks, woodpeckers and pigeons. English oaks provide homes for many insects, which in turn provide a food source for birds. In England, English oak (Quercus robur) is the most common variety. Some oak varieties have distinctly lobed leaves. Oak is a hard, durable wood. The oak tree is part of the beech family, a large genus with over 200 species, most of which are found in the Northern Hemisphere. Red oaks have more pointed lobes and bristles, whereas white oaks have rounded lobes. Oak tree flowers and buds provide food for caterpillars, and invertebrates live off of the decaying oak leaf litter. Oak trees, specifically the interior live oak, scrub oak and coast live oak, are used in hillside stabilization projects because of their extensive root systems. Acorns are the seeds of oak trees, and they tend to have caps. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. A decoction of willow oak wood chips or bark has also been proven to be extremely beneficial for chronic diarrhea and hemorrhages. Oak was used during colonial times for ship building, fence posts and for oak barrels because of its water resistance, according to the “Field Guide to Trees of North America,” by the National Wildlife Federation. Oak forests provide habitats for many native species and are therefore important to ecosystems. One of the classic oak tree characteristics is the acorn. One of the more interesting oak tree characteristics is the presence of tannin in bark. The swamp chestnut oak was also called the basket oak because its wood was easily split into thin strips and was used to make baskets for carrying cotton. These galls hold insect eggs and protect larvae, while not harming the oaks. Oak wood has been used as a hardwood timber for thousands of years, yet it takes up to 150 years before the wood from an oak tree can be used for construction. In addition to uses for people, oaks provide sanctuary and food for many kinds of animals. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Often used as a wood substitute for red oak, black oak is a small to medium sized tree that prefers to grow on poor soiled hillsides instead of valleys where the bigger White and Red Oaks grow. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. Some animals that eat acorns hide them to eat another time, and by doing so they essentially plant new oak forests from any forgotten acorns.