'Our Planet, Our Choice'
'Ár bPláinéid, Ár Rogha'
About the Oak trees:

Oak trees belong to the genus Quercus which comprises over 600 different species of trees. Most species of oak trees are deciduous with only some being evergreen, which do not loose their leaves. Oak trees live and can survive in various forests, including those in temperate climates, Mediterranean and tropical areas. 78 species of oak trees are listed as endangered because of the habitat destruction, over exploitation, diseases and introduction of invasive species.

Interesting facts about Oak trees:

  • Oak trees are usually large in size. They can reach 70 feet in height and 9 feet in width. Their branches can reach 135 feet in length.
  • Due to its large dimensions, oak trees require large amounts of water per day. They can absorb 50 gallons of water each day.
  • Oaks have leaves that can be lobed, serrated or flat on the edges.
  • Oaks produce both male and female flowers. Male flowers are arranged in clusters called catkins. Female flowers are much smaller.
  • Fruit of the oak tree is called acorn. Production of acorns starts at the age of 20 to 50 years.
  • Oaks produce more than 2000 acorns every year, but only one in 10 000 acorns will manage to develop into an oak tree. They only produce a good crop on certain years.
  • A lot of animals (pigeons, duck, pigs, deer, squirrels, mice…) feed on acorns.
  • The wood from oak trees is very strong and hard. It is used in the manufacture of ships, and furniture.
  • Oak is also used in the manufacture of barrels for storing of wine, whiskey, brandy and other liquors. Oak wood adds a special aroma to these beverages.
  • Oak is the national plant of many countries including Ireland, England, France, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Serbia. It symbolises strength and endurance.
  • Oak is also used in army ranking. Silver leaf indicates Lt. Colonel while gold leaf indicates Lt.Commander.
  • Most species of oak live for over 200 years. There are certain oak trees that can survive over thousand years.
  • If your school garden is small, then an Alder tree might be more suitable.

When applying for your sapling tree, you need to consider that Oak trees grow very large and therefore, a very large green area is needed in your school grounds. If you only have a small space, you can also apply for an Alder tree which will not grow as big and its roots will not spread.
The Oak Tree

If your school garden is small, then the Alder tree might be better suited for your school

One of Ireland's most traditional and widely distributed trees, alders may be found in damp areas, beside freshwater loughs and along river banks, where their strong fibrous roots may help to keep the bank in place. Alder woodlands are found in Ross Island, Killarney, Co Kerry and the Gearagh, Co. Cork, while Grantstown wood, Co. Laois is a rare example of wet woodland on an alkaline soil. Like most trees, alder flowers before the leaves are out, with attractive reddish catkins and small cones that contain the seeds. Alder will grow in most soils, and likes wet sites. Given rich damp soil Alder will grow rapidly and is a really productive tree for timber. In ancient Ireland sections of Alder trunks were used as round shields. Later, it was used for making clogs and also in the furniture trade where it was known as 'Irish mahogany'. As it is resistant to decay when submerged in water, Alder is used to make sluice gates and other structures along streams, rivers and canals. The roots on this tree do not spread.

The Oak Tree
(Alnus glutinosa)
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