worried
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Don't See Acorns - But Is this an Oak Tree?

Hi everyone, just joined to see if you could please please help me. Please identify this tree. I have included some pics of the leaves and a pic of the tree. This is urgent, please help if you can! :) The leaves are fairly small. I did think of oak but no acorns are being produced on the tree and the leaves are quite small.

[img]https://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd253/totopony/SP_A0817.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd253/totopony/SP_A0818.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd253/totopony/SP_A0820.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd253/totopony/SP_A0816.jpg[/img]

Thankyou so so so so so much if you can help! :D

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vintagejuls
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Where's the tree? :?
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I think it's English oak (Quercus robur). Where are you at?

HG
Scott Reil

worried
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Oh no don't say that!!
Can it be oak though, the tree does not produce any acorns and I thought the leaves were bigger?
It is in a field. I am in the Midlands.

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The pic of the tree would help, but glad I got the country right anyway :lol: . It may not be a mature tree yet, so no fruit set (but a pic would help).

What's the trouble with oak? Good mast food plant for wildlife over here... I see this little one a lot around Cape Cod; it reminds me a bit of your leaf...

[url]https://www.oikostreecrops.com/store/product.asp?cookiecheck=yes&P_ID=416&PT_ID=69&strPageHistory=cat[/url]

Did I mention a pic of the tree? :)

HG
Scott Reil

worried
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I think it is a fairly old tree, but not quite sure. It is a long story, but really don't want it to be oak.

Here is the tree

[img]https://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd253/totopony/SP_A0821.jpg[/img]

Not a great pic I know

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No the picture is not much help, but the silhouette certainly doesn't change my mind any...

Should you need a more definitive answer, as perhaps this is a health issue or something even more cryptic, then I would get a professional opinion from a local source, but my opinion still stands without better images. The only other possibility I could think of is an odd, rarely seen cultivar of Fagus sylvatica called 'Cristata', that has clumps of misshapen foliage, but those tend to be more pointed...

I think it's an oak...

HG
Scott Reil

valleytreeman
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Definitely....

an oak, and I would agree its an English Oak. It is of the white oak division of the genus and the very short leaf stalks (petioles) are the give away that it is robur.

Its a rather old specimen I belive... been there a lot of years. Could it be that it is a referenced tree in a land survey?.... that could be a cause for the unhappiness over it being an oak.
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MagnoliaMan
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A white oak, but...

Not sure that I would ID this as an Engilish oak. Might be, but, look at the other white oaks: Chestnut, swamp white, white, etc. All have similar leaves because the darn leaves are so variable and the trees tend to hybridize.
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kasimac
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I'd have to agree on the English Oak as well, we have on growing on our campus and the leaves are as small as your pictures, and the growth form is kind of scraggly. English oak has very large, long, heavy acorns so if you happen to find acorns, it will help you distinguish it.

I really doubt it's chestnut oak, those have a very distinctive leave shape, looks like a broad chestnut leaf, with pointed lobes rather then rounded, like most white oak species.
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Mag man, you are missing the salient point; this gardener is in England...eliminates most of your list...


So VT, you're thinking that Worried just lost some land? That might explain the cryptic nature of this missive... What do you make of the lack of acorns? Sterility? Predation? Wishful thinking?

HG
Scott Reil

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kasimac
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don't oak trees produce fruit for about 5 years at a time, then stop producing acorns for a year to bring down the squirrel, and other things that eat acorns, populations? So that the next year(s) there will be a greater survivability rate of the acorns produced.

I remember reading that somewhere.. that could be why there aren't any acorns.
"Wait.. his character is the last remnant of this elven culture?... Sigh*
Even though we hate him guys, we MUST protect the gene pool!"

I feel the same way about plants : )

cynthia_h
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There was a brief discussion here at THG about oak trees in the East not producing the accustomed number of acorns:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11344

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Good point Cynthia. I had not thought about it on the other side of the pond, but just heard a bit on NPR about how we were short on acorns ourselves here in CT. Global shortage?

HG
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hendi_alex
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One interesting characteristic of oaks is that they cross with other oaks in an almost infinite kind of way. Each year I have hundreds of new volunteer seedlings, and almost every one is unique in its leaf form, as each represents a volunteer crosses between the various species in the area.
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Kasimac offers an example of natural cycling that may well account for it, but I am betting on selective vision...

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Scott Reil

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Mag man, you are missing the salient point; this gardener is in England...eliminates most of your list...


So VT, you're thinking that Worried just lost some land? That might explain the cryptic nature of this missive... What do you make of the lack of acorns? Sterility? Predation? Wishful thinking?

HG
Well, the thought had crossed my mind. A single and rather hansome specimin in an open field that isn't wanted? Trees were very often used as reference points on early American surveys, and since most of the surveyors (Washington was one in our area) were trained in English land law, it stands to reason that trees were used as witness references in England.

Now the lack of acorns is yet a mystery to me. i am not all that familiar with the silvics of English oak so I'm not ready to render a solid opinion on that one. But erratic nut crops is rather common among the oaks. Often they will not bear in a year following a heavy crop... resting mode so to speak. Also late frosts, summer drought etc. may impact mast crops in any one year. Of course those species in the White oak division of the species take two years for acorns to mature, so there will always be at least one off year for any individual tree in this division.

On hybridizing of oak species. I have been a practicing forester for 30 years and have seen very little evidnece that natural hybridizing occurs much in the wild. The vast majority of oaks out there are pretty much true to form to species with some variation in leaf shape. But for the most part a practiced eye can pretty quickly identify a species. I won't say it doesn't happen occasionally and I have seen a few specimens over the years that I would suspect of being hybrids. Juvenile leaves of oak seedlings do vary widely in shape and size with in a species and often on the same seedling. though. I would not use juvenile leaf shape as an identification or hybridization criteria.
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hendi_alex
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WRT hybridization you are probably correct. Seems I read something related to hybridization of oaks a long time ago. Can't remember whether the assertion was "common" or simply "able" to hybridize. But that bit of info combined with anecdotal evidence of watching the apparent variability in leaf structure of hundreds of oak seedlings in this yard, reinforced the notion that oak must cross very readily. I have one white oak which is my favorite tree on the property. Seedlings are forever cropping up under and around that large tree. Anyway, I decided to save a seedling in order to transplant another of those nice trees in the yard area. It took me about three years before one came up that had a leaf structure that was very similar at all to the parent oak. The area is dominated by water oaks, and my assumption has always been that the leaves of the white oak seedlings were intermediate in shape because of crossing with the water oaks.

After your reply, did a quick google and found one study that suggests crossing is no more than about six percent. Perhaps that that would be a little higher where one tree is surrounded by hundreds of another species, but still would not likely give results from my casual observation. What I noticed was more likely, as you pointed out, simple variability shown in the leaves of immature seedlings. Out of curiousity, I'll likely continue to monitor those seedlings, perhaps even letting a few grow additional seasons, just to see how the form changes with age.

Thanks for pointing out my misconception.
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As oaks tend to be mother tree/children types, the pollination tends to be truer than some other species, but when I am trying to figure out the difference between Q. coccinea and Q. palustris, or Q. rubra and Q. velutina, I do think of intergenetic breeding and botanists trying to find something to name after themselves with a bit of scepticism. But in England there are fewer trees in general and not too many species to mess around...

This note on the European commissions tree findings was kind of sad...

[url]https://encyclopedia.farlex.com/Quercus+species[/url]

HG
Scott Reil

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